CaFFEET Keynote: R. Neal Elliott – “A good business model is not enough: how industrial investment decisions are made”

Neal Elliott is the Associate Director for Research of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), coordinating ACEEE’s overall research efforts. Elliott has been with ACEEE since 1993, founding the Industrial and Agricultural Programs. Elliott is an internationally recognized expert and author on energy efficiency, energy efficiency programs and policies, electric motor systems, combined heat and power and clean distributed energy, analysis of energy efficiency and energy markets, and a frequent speaker at domestic and international conferences.

Prior to joining ACEEE, Elliott was an adjunct associate professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Duke University and Senior Engineering Project Manager at the N. C. Alternative Energy Corp. (now Advanced Energy) where he founding director of the Industrial Energy Laboratory. Prior to AEC he worked as N.C. Wood Assistance Team Leader for the Industrial Extension Service and Department of Wood and Paper Science at North Carolina State University.

Elliott received B.S. and M.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from North Carolina State University, and was a Dean’s Fellow and received a Ph.D. from Duke University. He is a registered Professional Engineer in North Carolina and has six patents in the area of thermal storage and produce processing. Elliott serves on the Strategic Advisory Group for the Institute for Industrial Productivity.

American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy


Panelist on Industrial Energy Storage: Tom Stepien

Tom Stepien is CEO of Primus Power, a leader in utility-scale electrical energy storage.
He helped launch Primus Power in early 2009 and raised over $30 million from venture capital sources and government grants. He has over 25 years of engineering, operations, and general management experience at small and large companies. Prior to joining Primus, Tom was a Vice President and General Manager at Applied Materials, a Fortune 500 provider of semiconductor, solar, and flat panel display equipment and services. He had P&L responsibility for a $500M business unit with complex set of systems, global customers, manufacturing and support.

He has expertise in industrial robotics and control systems having lead efforts at Applied, Novellus Systems and Draper Laboratory. He holds a BS and MS in Mechanical Engineering from MIT where he was a Pi Tau Sigma, Bendix and Alpha Tau Omega scholar. He currently serves on industrial advisory board for the MIT’s Laboratory for Manufacturing &Productivity.

Tom was a co-captain and three year letterman for the MIT Varsity Crew Team. He was born & raised in Detroit, Michigan and currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area with his lovely wife and two kids. His enjoys mechanical tinkering, pheasant hunting, photography and golf. He serves on the Northern California board of Special Olympics and served in his youth as a camp counselor for special needs kids.

About Primus Power 

Primus Power is a leader in low-cost, grid-scale energy storage solutions with a scalable, distributed system that economically serves multiple storage applications including transmission capacity, renewable energy integration and frequency regulation. With patent-pending innovations in chemistry, cell design and system engineering, the Primus’ EnergyCell and EnergyPods™ products offer exceptional power density and portability at industry-low prices.

Primus is the only company to receive government grants from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E), and the California Energy Commission (CEC). Its technology stands to revolutionize the economics, stability, and security of the electric grid, while accelerating the incorporation of renewable wind and solar energy.

Panel Co-Chair on Energy-Efficient Technologies: Ammi Amarnath

Ammi Amarnath is a Technical Executive in the Energy Efficiency & Demand Response program area at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). He leads a team of engineers and scientists with focus on the development and demonstration of smart and efficient end-use technologies while ensuring their interoperability with the electric supply system. Some of the technologies demonstrated include: advanced space conditioning systems for residential and commercial buildings, hyper-efficient appliances, heat pump water heaters, advanced demand response systems that integrate with the smart grid, industrial process efficiency improvements, and advances in motor and drive technologies. His activities also focus on customer and utility technology improvements to make energy efficiency and demand response programs successful in the country.

Amarnath rejoined EPRI in 2007 as a team member of the Energy Efficiency Initiative. He was previously the President of KSON International Inc., a consulting firm providing technical and business consulting services to energy efficiency and clean tech companies. Before this, he was the Vice President of Business Development at Advanced Material Sciences, Inc., where he managed the development of a micro-fuel cell business.

In his prior tenure at EPRI, Amarnath was a Senior Project Manager within the Distributed Generation program. His activities included the development and deployment of fuel cell and other energy storage technologies.

Amarnath received a Bachelor of Engineering degree in chemical engineering from India and a Master of Science degree in chemical engineering from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He holds a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Houston.

Co-chair of Industrial Symbiosis panel session: Professor David Dornfeld

David Dornfeld serves as the Chair of the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of California at Berkeley, and holds the first Will C. Hall Family Chair in Engineering.
He holds an appointment as Special Division Deputy, Engineering Division, Ernst Orlando Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He is past-Director of the Engineering Systems Research Center in the College of Engineering. In 1982 and 1992 he was Directeur de Recherche Associe, Ecole Nationale Superieure des Mines de Paris, Paris and Invited Professor, Ecole Nationale Superieure d’Arts et Metiers- ENSAM, Paris, respectively.

Dr.Dornfeld leads the campus’s Laboratory for Manufacturing and Sustainability – LMAS ( with research activities in green and sustainable manufacturing; monitoring and analysis of manufacturing processes; precision manufacturing with specialization on chemical mechanical planarization for semiconductor manufacturing; and intelligent sensors and machine interoperability for process monitoring and optimization. He has published over 350 papers in these fields, authored two research monographs, contributed chapters to several books and has seven patents based on his research work.

Professor Dornfeld is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and recipient of the ASME Blackall Machine Tool and Gage Award in 1986, Fellow of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) and a recipient of the 2004 SME Fredrick W. Taylor Research Medal, member of Japan Society of Precision Engineering (JSPE) and recipient of the 2005 JSPE Takagi Prize, and Fellow of the CIRP (International Academy for Production Engineering). He is a consultant on sensors, manufacturing productivity, automation and process modeling and the associated intellectual property issues. He received his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1976 in the area of Production Engineering. He blogs at