Schatz Energy Research Center

Our team

The Schatz team stands on the lawn outside the Center.

Directors

Dr. Arne Jacobson, Director
Arne Jacobson is the Schatz Center Director and a professor of Environmental Resources Engineering at Humboldt State University. He is also the coordinator of HSU’s master’s program in Energy Technology and Policy (ETaP). Arne has a PhD from the Energy and Resources Group at the University of California, Berkeley, a master’s degree focused on Environmental Resources Engineering from Humboldt State, and a bachelor’s degree in physics from Earlham College. His areas of research interest include renewable energy technology, energy and climate change mitigation policy, and energy access for low-income people in off-grid areas of Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. The approach he takes is interdisciplinary, combining renewable energy engineering, energy policy, and a social geography based approach to international development studies. He has extensive international experience, including work over the past decade helping lead development and implementation of the Lighting Global Quality Assurance program for off-grid solar products. He currently serves as co-chair of the off-grid solar working group (Joint Working Group 1) of Technical Committee 82 (photovoltaics) of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). Arne is a recipient of the California State University’s 2015 Wang Family Excellence Award. During a sabbatical year in 2010/11, he served as a senior advisor in the Office of Policy and International Affairs at the U.S. Department of Energy. He also has expertise in biomass energy and has served as co-principal investigator for the Waste to Wisdom project and other related initiatives.
Dr. Peter Lehman, Founding Director

Peter Lehman is the Founding Director of the Schatz Center and a professor emeritus of Environmental Resources Engineering at Humboldt State University. Peter received a BS in chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a PhD in physical chemistry from the University of Chicago. He then served as a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, where he conducted research on the aerochemistry of photochemical air pollution. Before coming to HSU, Peter was a member of the faculties of Sacramento State University; California State University, Northridge; and Deep Springs College. While at HSU, Peter has served as chair of the Environmental Resources Engineering Department, co-chair of the International Development Technology master’s program, and the founding faculty advisor of the Campus Center for Appropriate Technology. Peter’s work at the Schatz Center was initially focused on hydrogen and fuel cell technology, as he led the efforts to develop the first fuel cell vehicle licensed in the U.S., the first solar powered hydrogen fueling station, and the licensing of fuel cell intellectual property to four U.S. corporations. Currently, he is involved in the Center’s microgrid deployment efforts and energy planning and development work with local Native American tribes.

Dr. Charles Chamberlin, Co-Director
Charles Chamberlin is the Schatz Center’s Co-Director and technical coordinator. Charles is an emeritus Professor of Environmental Resources Engineering at Humboldt State University, where he has taught courses in environmental health engineering, data collection and analysis, thermodynamics, and transport phenomena at the undergraduate and graduate level. He has worked on models of photovoltaic hydrogen production, PEM fuel cell polarization curves, and biomass energy conversion, participated in the design, development, and operation of the Schatz Solar Hydrogen Project, fuel cell vehicles, and stationary fuel cell systems, and helped investigate energy consumption patterns and efficiency measures at the national and local level. He holds a BS in Civil Engineering from Washington University in St. Louis and a PhD and MS in Environmental Engineering from Harvard University.

Faculty and Research Scientists

Dr. Peter Alstone, Faculty Scientist
Peter Alstone is a Faculty Scientist at the Schatz Center and an assistant professor of Environmental Resources Engineering at Humboldt State University. At SERC, Peter’s work focus is on distributed energy systems, including demand response, global access to reliable energy, microgrids, off-grid solar, California energy policy, and distributed resource modeling. His approach combines data science, field research, technology modeling, and economic analysis. Peter earned his BS in Chemical Engineering at North Carolina State University, MS in Environmental Systems at Humboldt State, and a PhD in Energy and Resources from the University of California, Berkeley; this was followed by an ITRI-Rosenfeld postdoctoral fellowship at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, where he now holds a guest appointment as a Faculty Affiliate researcher.
Dr. Liza Boyle, Faculty Research Associate
Liza Boyle is an Assistant Professor in Environmental Resources Engineering at Humboldt State.
Dr. Kevin Fingerman, Faculty Research Associate
Kevin Fingerman is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Science & Management at Humboldt State University. His research employs life cycle assessment and simulation modeling tools to evaluate the broad-based impacts of bioenergy and transportation energy systems. He has also worked extensively on the water/energy nexus and on bioenergy policy. Kevin serves on the board of directors of the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials, and prior to joining HSU he worked in Rome for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. He holds MS and PhD degrees from UC Berkeley’s Energy & Resources Group.
Dr. Steven Hackett, Faculty Research Associate
Steven Hackett is a Professor of Economics at Humboldt State University. Through his association with HSU’s Energy, Environment, and Society graduate program, Environmental Science undergraduate program, Humboldt Energy Independence Fund, and the Schatz Center, Professor Hackett works with an interdisciplinary group of faculty, staff, and students on energy projects linked to reducing anthropogenic greenhouse-gas emissions. He led the economic portion of the Schatz Center’s Renewable Energy Secure Communities project, which included the development and application of economic impact assessment models to the energy sector of our regional economy and qualitative analyses of the economic development potential resulting from creating a renewable energy cluster in Humboldt County.
Dr. Jeffrey Kane, Faculty Research Associate
Jeffrey Kane is an Associate Professor in Fire Ecology and Fuels Management at Humboldt State University.
Dr. Nicholas Lam, Research Scientist
Nicholas Lam is a Research Scientist at the Schatz Center where his work focuses on increasing access to energy services in low- and middle-income countries. Nick has over ten years of experience working in the household energy and energy access sectors, where his interdisciplinary research has addressed the relationships among household energy use, environment, and human health. He often combines physical measurements with sociological and qualitative techniques to develop mechanistic understandings of energy transitions, service needs, and the technology adoption/displacement process. His work has included the development of survey- and sensor-based instruments for measuring energy consumption, pollutant emissions, air quality, and exposure to air pollutants. Nick has been involved in field studies in over a dozen countries across Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and East Asia. Prior to joining the Schatz Center, he was a researcher in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a researcher at Berkeley Air Monitoring Group. Nick earned an MS in Global Health and Environment and PhD in Environmental Health Sciences from the University of California, Berkeley.
Dr. Laurie Richmond, Faculty Research Associate
Laurie Richmond is an Associate Professor of Environmental Planning at Humboldt State University.
Dr. Sintana Vergara, Faculty Research Associate
Sintana Vergara is an Assistant Professor in Environmental Resources Engineering at Humboldt State University. In her research, she measures and models carbon emissions and carbon sequestration from the use of residual resources (solid waste, biomass, agricultural waste). Her research methods include Lifecycle Assessment (LCA), greenhouse gas flux measurement using micrometeorological and static chamber methods, and laboratory analyses of soil properties and emissions. Prior to coming to Humboldt State, she was a Fulbright Fellow in Colombia, an Environmental Specialist at the World Bank, and a Postdoctoral Scientist at UC Berkeley. At UC Berkeley, she designed and led experiments, measuring greenhouse gas emissions from composting windrow piles, and enhanced soil carbon sequestration from compost application. She holds degrees in Environmental Engineering (BS, Cornell University; MS, UC Berkeley), and in Energy and Resources (MS, PhD, UC Berkeley).

Professional Staff

Jerome Carman, Senior Research Engineer
Jerome Carman is a graduate of the Environmental Systems master’s program at Humboldt State University (HSU), where he focused on energy systems engineering with an emphasis on thermodynamic analysis while obtaining his Engineer In Training certificate. Jerome has a diverse background: complimented by a bachelor’s degree in physics, he has published work in both high energy particle physics and atmospheric physics. During his graduate career at HSU he changed his professional focus toward local government planning and policy which resulted in an energy specialist position at the Redwood Coast Energy Authority (RCEA). While at RCEA, Jerome specialized in greenhouse gas emissions inventories, climate action planning, and low carbon transportation fuel planning and implementation. Jerome currently manages and assists with a variety of planning and implementation projects in the areas of low carbon transportation, carbon life cycle assessment, and distributed energy resources.
Dave Carter, P.E., Managing Research Engineer
Dave Carter is a licensed civil engineer with twelve years of experience completing successful projects under the following disciplines: civil engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, SCADA system specifications, energy efficiency and renewable planning, permitting, design, economic analysis, commissioning, alternative transportation planning, and Owner’s Engineer services. Dave was co-project manager and lead engineer for the Blue Lake Rancheria Microgrid Project. Prior to joining the Schatz Center in 2014, Dave was a Senior Project Engineer and Project Manager at GHD Inc., a global engineering, planning, and environmental science firm. While at GHD, Dave served as the Renewable Energy Service Line Coordinator for GHD’s Western USA Operating Center. Dave is a graduate of HSU’s Environmental Resources Engineering program, and interned for the Schatz Center in 2004 and 2005. Dave was a founding member of the Renewable Energy Students Union at HSU and led the student team that won the grand prize in the 2005 National Hydrogen Association H2U student design competition, a project which led to the installation of the hydrogen fueling station at HSU.
Greg Chapman, P.E., Senior Research Engineer
Greg Chapman is a licensed mechanical engineer with over 30 years of experience working in the energy field, dating back to his early days when stationed on a nuclear powered submarine. Greg graduated from HSU’s Environmental Resources Engineering program and his work here at the Schatz Center has focused mainly in the areas of hydrogen, biomass and renewable energy technologies. His expertise includes design, installation, permitting and planning, system operations and commissioning activities for educational, demonstration and renewable energy projects. Prior to attending HSU, Greg served in the United States Navy, where he graduated from Naval Nuclear Power School and served on a fast attack nuclear-powered submarine. Qualifications aboard the boat included engine room supervisor, ship’s welder, scuba diver, secondary water chemist, and quality assurance inspector. Following his enlistment, Greg worked as a plant operator and shift supervisor at an independent oil refinery in Los Angeles.
Maia Cheli, Outreach Coordinator
As the Outreach Coordinator for the Schatz Center, Maia is responsible for print and social media, website design and management, curriculum development, and the K12 and community outreach program. Maia is also a lecturer in technical writing for the Environmental Resources Engineering Department at Humboldt State, and has over two decades of experience in nonprofit management, event production, and website and graphic design.
Tanya Garcia, Engineering Technician
Ian Guerrero, Engineering Technician
Allison Hansberry, Operations Manager
As operations manager, Allison is responsible for program administration and management. Her work includes planning, analyzing and evaluating the Schatz Center’s fiscal and operational policies and procedures; providing assistance with and leadership in pre-and-post award grant and contract management; and supporting and guiding research staff in conducting the financial, business, and management activities associated with their projects. Allison also oversees the Center’s education and outreach program and works with the outreach coordinator on program development and implementation. When not engaged in work and family life, Allison pursues her interest in native bees, plant/pollinator interactions, and climate change impacts on phenology. She joined the Center in 2001.
Meg Harper, Senior Research Engineer
Meg Harper is a senior research engineer at the Schatz Center where she manages projects focused on off-grid energy access. She has supported the World Bank/IFC’s Lighting Global, Lighting Asia-India and Lighting Africa initiatives focused on market development and quality assurance for off-grid solar products. Her work has included conducting surveys and focus groups in rural sub-Saharan Africa, supporting market research in India, leading the extension of the quality assurance framework to cover solar home system kits up to 350 W, revising standards and IEC test methods, and closely engaging with public and private stakeholders in the off-grid sector. She has also conducted research into demand-side management strategies for renewable energy mini-grids, investigated metrics to assess energy efficiency policy, conducted field research in Africa, South Asia and Latin America, helped maintain the HSU campus hydrogen station, and co-taught several courses in renewable energy engineering. Meg is a graduate of the Energy, Technology and Policy program and the Environmental Resources Engineering programs at HSU and holds a BS in Environmental Studies from Warren Wilson College.
Andrew Harris, Research Engineer
Andrew graduated from Humboldt State University in 2012 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Resources Engineering and International Studies. Since first helping the Schatz Energy Research Center build an electric vehicle infrastructure planning model as a student, Andrew has worked extensively in modeling, including photovoltaic installations, hazardous gas safety systems, and ocean wave power. He has applied numerical and economic analysis to biomass and transportation projects, and is always trying to expand his research talents with any new project he can get his hands on. Andrew has previously worked as an electrical engineer for ENN Solar, as a population modeling consultant for the American Bird Conservancy, and briefly as a lab instructor for Humboldt State University. Sadly, none of his jobs have ever resembled his childhood dream of being a rainforest-defending armor-clad dinosaur, and he asks that you forward him any related leads.
Marc Marshall, Senior Research Engineer
Marc received a BA degree in Physics from Humboldt State University in 2000. Marc’s primary responsibility at the Schatz Center is the software design, implementation, and testing of LabVIEW-based control systems. Projects Marc has worked on include embedded control of the Methanol-fired Fuel Cell system and version 4 of the Schatz Center’s internal Test Station Software. Marc also serves as the the Schatz Center’s IT person, maintaining the office computers, local network, and server. Marc has worked at the Schatz Lab since 1997, when he started as a student assistant.
Carolyn Ortenburger, Administrative Assistant
As the Administrative Assistant at the Schatz Center, Carolyn supports the day-to-day operations of the lab. Her previous jobs include outreach coordinator at the Humboldt Community Breast Health Project and bilingual high school science teacher in the Bay Area. She received a B.S. in Geology & Geophysics from Yale College, an M.A. in Education from Stanford University and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing/Poetry from St. Mary’s College of California. Carolyn joined the Schatz Center staff in 2011.
Kyle Palmer, P.E., Research Engineer
Kyle is licensed as a professional electrical engineer. He graduated from Humboldt State University in 2007 with a BS in Environmental Resources Engineering. His primary focus is the development of electrical and electronic systems. He has worked extensively with circuit board and hardware design. He also works to build, test, instrument, and analyze biomass conversion technologies.
Tom Quetchenbach, Research Engineer
Tom Quetchenbach is a research engineer at the Schatz Center and a graduate of the MS program in Environmental Resources Engineering at Humboldt State University. After receiving a BS in electrical engineering from Caltech in 2007, Tom worked for two years as a research engineer at Caltech’s Networking Laboratory, writing software to perform high-speed networking experiments and collect and analyze data. While a graduate student at HSU, he worked with a team of students, faculty, and Schatz Center staff to develop the GridShare, a device to reduce brownouts on village-scale mini-grids. In June 2011, he and three team members traveled to Bhutan to install GridShares in Rukubji, a village of approximately 90 households; in its first year of operation, the device substantially reduced severe brownouts and was well accepted by the community. Since graduating, Tom has done work to support quality assurance of off-grid lighting products for the Lighting Africa and Lighting Global projects, including designing and building apparatus, developing data analysis tools, and drafting test methods.
Kristen Radecsky, Senior Research Engineer
Kristen has worked in the energy sector since 2005. She received a BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Lafayette College in 2004 and an MS in Environmental Systems from Humboldt State University in 2009. Her longest-standing project at the Schatz Center has been supporting the off-grid lighting product quality assurance program where her roles have included developing test methods (IEC TS 62257-9-5), managing the testing laboratory for seven years, and training/collaborating with international testing laboratories in China, Kenya, India, Germany, Tanzania, and Ethiopia. While at the Schatz Center, Kristen has also been involved in projects to increase electric vehicle charging infrastructure for Northern California; her role focused on site design, site host engagement, and construction oversight/observations. Most recently she has become involved with microgrid work through performing observations for the Blue Lake Rancheria microgrid construction in 2016 and designing a system for the Blue Lake Rancheria convenience store that utilizes demand-response techniques. Experiences prior to working at the Schatz Center include installing solar PV and hot water, small-scale wind turbine design, programming microcontrollers, and installing biodigesters. Kristen’s research interests involve grid integration and modernization, including demand-response, power quality, energy storage, and distributed generation.
Doug Saucedo, Research Engineer
While an undergraduate in HSU’s Environmental Resources Engineering (ERE) program, Doug worked with the Renewable Energy Student Union (RESU) and the Schatz Center to expand internship and docent opportunities for undergraduate students. He also worked on HSU’s 2004 and 2005 student hydrogen design teams to analyze hydrogen technology and business cases. Doug earned his MS in Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering (MAE) at UC Davis. There he studied the design and control of Plug-in Electric Vehicles (PEVs) while helping to manage the Hybrid Electric Vehicle Center (HEVC). Concurrent to completing his MS, Doug worked as consultant with the Electric Power Research Institute’s Electric Transportation group (EPRI). At EPRI, Doug worked on projects involving on and off road transportation electrification. Example projects include advanced vehicle technology assessment, electric ATVs, PEV fleet deployments, and electric dredging. His work involved powertrain simulation based design, techno-economics, and data analysis. Doug returned to HSU in 2013 to teach in the ERE department and to support his partner’s pursuit of a MS degree. He served as an advisor to HSU’s 2014 hydrogen student design team and the 2014-2015 Zero-Net-Energy student design teams. Doug’s work is inspired by a techno-ecological view of society and the environment. His work at the Schatz Center has involved wave energy modeling, advanced-vehicle techno-economic analysis, and microgrid design. He plans to complete a PhD in systems engineering with a specialization in electric power systems.
Mark Severy, P.E., Senior Research Engineer
As an engineer at the Schatz Energy Research Center, Mark works on a variety of projects including biomass energy system analysis, microgrid design, and offshore wind research. Mark is a licensed mechanical engineer in California and a graduate of the Humboldt State’s Master’s program in environmental resources engineering. Prior to coming to Humboldt State, Mark received a BS in mechanical engineering from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and worked as an engineer in solar thermal research and development. In his spare time, Mark rides and races bicycles in road, cyclocross, and mountain biking events.
Kim Thorpe, Energy Analyst
Kim’s work as an Energy Analyst for the Lighting Global Project includes communication and test coordination with manufacturers and labs, test report reviews and interpretation, and day-to-day support of the Lighting Global Project. Her previous jobs include construction project management, installing electrical systems for residential, commercial, and industrial applications, and experiential education. She received a BS in Social Work from Cornell University and completed a five year electrical apprenticeship. Kim joined the Schatz Center staff in 2015.
Scott Toyama, Research Engineer
Scott works in the Schatz Center’s Off-Grid Solar and Lighting Lab testing small off-grid solar products and solar home system kits as part of the Lighting Global’s Quality Assurance laboratory network. Additionally, his efforts include test equipment calibration and characterization, report preparation, standard operating procedure development, and laboratory management. Scott has had a wide range of experience in the solar industry from designing and installing residential, commercial, and off-grid solar systems to working with various permitting entities such as the Coastal Commission and Agricultural Preserve Committees to successfully permit solar projects. He has a B.A. in Environmental Studies and a B.S. in Evolution, Ecology, and Marine Biology from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Kaileigh G. Vincent-Welling, Research Engineer
Kaileigh is a graduate of the Environmental Resources Engineering B.S. program at Humboldt State University. She currently works in the Schatz Center’s Off-Grid Solar and Lighting Lab performing quality assurance tests on solar lighting products as part of the Lighting Global Quality Assurance Program. Additionally, she is involved in test report preparation and review, developing testing standards and procedures, as well as designing and conducting analyses to support the global expansion of solar application and Lighting Global standards. She has experience with solar design and installation and holds great interest in the implementation and education of renewable technologies within developing communities worldwide.
Eli Wallach, Engineering Technician
Jim Zoellick, Managing Research Engineer
Jim began at the Schatz Center in 1995 as a research engineer working on the development of the first street-legal PEM fuel cell vehicle in the US. He is now a Managing Research Engineer and manages many of the Center’s high profile projects. His work involves planning, analysis, project development and implementation, with a special focus on tribal and public sector projects in rural northern California. He led the development of the RePower Humboldt Strategic Plan and has directed planning studies for the development of electric vehicle charging infrastructure throughout rural northern California. Most recently he has worked to develop, deploy and evaluate cutting edge microgrid technology. He co-managed both the Blue Lake Rancheria and the Redwood Coast Airport microgrid projects, and he managed the Solar+ storage project at the Blue Lake Rancheria’s gas station/convenience store. Jim’s work has also included resource assessment and feasibility studies for wind, small hydro, solar and biomass energy systems, as well as development and demonstration of hydrogen and fuel cell energy systems for vehicular, stationary, portable and remote power applications. Jim has a BS in Environmental Resources Engineering from Humboldt State University. He has taught several college level energy courses and also serves on the City of Arcata Energy Committee.

Students

Julia Anderson, Graduate Research Assistant and Docent
Max Blasdel, Graduate Research Assistant
Anh Bui, Graduate Research Assistant
Anh Bui is a graduate student in the MS Environmental Systems program at HSU, with a focus on Energy, Technology and Policy. In 2018, her work at Schatz included creating a load shifting and bill reduction algorithm in Python to examine load flexibility potential in a demand response program for Southern California. Currently, she is working to increase the functionality of a tool for electric load profiling, which is under development by a national lab. This tool will help city and state planners and utilities understand the impact of electric vehicle adoption on electricity procurement, transmission, and distribution. Anh was previously a co-director at HSU’s Campus Center for Appropriate Technology, and holds a holds a BS in biology and anthropology.
Alejandro Cervantes, Graduate Research Assistant
Rene DeWees, Student Research Assistant
Ciara Emery, Graduate Research Assistant
Terry Franklin, Student Research Assistant
Maria Angelica Garcia, Docent
Carisse Geronimo, Tuttle Fellow
Carisse is an Energy Technology and Policy graduate student in the Environmental Systems program at Humboldt State University. Her background is in biotechnology with a minor in chemistry. For her master’s thesis, she is conducting research with Dr. Vergara and Dr. Fingerman on characterizing decomposition from stored woody biomass.
Chih-Wei Hsu, Graduate Research Assistant
Matilda Kerwin, Docent
Michael Malone, Docent
Tina Ortega, Student Research Assistant
Thalia Quinn, Schatz Energy Fellow
Thalia, a Schatz Energy Fellow, is working towards her MS in Environmental Resources Engineering here at Humboldt State. In May 2017, Thalia obtained her BS in Chemical Engineering from New Mexico Tech. As an undergraduate, Thalia’s research included the catalytic analysis of metal porphyrin in the conversion of methane to methanol, as well as, the analysis of physical properties of fluorinated surfactants through computer simulations. As a Graduate Student Research Assistant at the Schatz Center, Thalia works with the Solar+ group on the design and installation of a solar PV and battery storage system at the Blue Lake Rancheria Convenience Store. Her thesis focuses on the economic analysis of Solar+ systems at small scale commercial buildings throughout the state. Her future goals include the continuation of renewable energy design and policy.
Grishma Raj Dahal, Schatz Energy Fellow
Jessica Ramirez, Student Administrative Assistant
As the Student Administrative Assistant at the Schatz Center, Jessica supports the Administrative Assistant. Jessica is pursuing a Bachelor’s in Environmental Resources Engineering and a minor in Scientific Diving at Humboldt State University.
Ellen Thompson, Student Research Assistant
Ellen is an engineer in training finishing up her double major in Environmental Resources Engineering and Studio Art at Humboldt State University. In collaboration with the Solar+ team, Ellen worked to develop a model to assess the current and future costs of building microgrids that integrate solar, battery storage, and fast EV charging. This model will help define which sites are good candidates for investment, and identify future research and development opportunities. Ellen specifically researched electric vehicle charging infrastructure. She is now conducting a convenience store survey, to understand how current site owners view microgrids and to better assess installation opportunities.
Elizabeth Van Skike, Student Research Assistant

Schatz Energy news