CCST studies follow a process modeled after the National Academies study process with checks and balances at each stage. The report is a collaborative effort by a large number of experts serving in various capacities.

(Click here for more details about the study process.)

Report Authors

Professor Adam Brandt, the report's lead author, and Gregory Von Wald at Stanford University primarily researched and wrote the body of the report. In addition, professor Deepak Rajagopal and Austin Stanion at UCLA assisted in writing the economics sections of the report.

*Lead author

The following institutions are subcontractors and are not responsible for the final content of the report, which rests with CCST and the Steering Committee:

(Click here for author bios.)

Report Steering Committee

*The individual marked with an asterisk is an Ex Officio Steering Committee member due to his role as the lead author for the report. Serving as an ex officio member ensures regular interaction with the rest of the Steering Committee and improves the quality of the final report.

Steering Selection and Process

The Steering Committee oversees the report authors, reaches conclusions based on the findings of the authors, and writes an executive summary. The lead author for the report also serves as a Steering Committee member.

Study Authors and Steering Committee (SC) Selection and Approval

Selection of appropriate authors and SC members, individually and collectively, is essential for the success of a study. All authors and SC members serve as individual experts, not as representatives of organizations or interest groups. Each expert is expected to contribute to the project on the basis of his or her own expertise and good judgment. The lead author(s) serves as an ex-officio, nonvoting member of the SC to ensure continued communication between the study authors and the SC. CCST sends nominations of experts to the Oversight Committee (made up of two CCST Board Members and an outside expert) for final approval after conducting a thorough balance and conflict of interest (COI) evaluation including an in-person discussion. Any issues raised in that discussion are investigated and addressed. Members of a SC are anonymous until this process is completed.

Careful steps are taken to convene SCs that meet the following criteria:

Specific steps in the SC selection and approval process are as follows: CCST staff solicit an extensive number of suggestions for potential SC members from a wide range of sources, then recommend a slate of nominees. Nominees are reviewed and approved at several levels within CCST. A provisional slate is then approved by the Oversight Committee. Prior to approval, the provisional SC members complete background information and conflict-of-interest disclosure forms. The SC balance and conflict-of-interest discussion is held at the first SC meeting. Any conflicts of interest or issues of SC balance and expertise are investigated; changes to the SC are proposed and finalized. The Oversight Committee formally approves the SC. SC members continue to be screened for conflict of interest throughout the life of the committee.

CCST uses a similar approach as described above for SC development to identify study authors who have the appropriate expertise and availability to conduct the work necessary to complete the study. In addition to the SC, all authors, peer reviewers, and CCST staff are screened for COI.

Report Steering Committee Bios

James L. Sweeney, Ph.D., Steering Committee Chair
Director, Precourt Energy Efficiency Center, Professor of Management Science & Engineering, Senior Fellow at Precourt Institute for Energy and at the Stanford Institute For Economic Policy Research and, by courtesy, at The Hoover Institution
CCST Council Chair

Dr. Sweeney is the CCST Council Chair, the director and founder of Stanford's Precourt Energy Efficiency Center, and professor of Management Science and Engineering. He is a senior fellow of the U.S. Association for Energy Economics, CCST, Hoover Institution, Precourt Institute for Energy, and Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research. At Stanford he has served as Director of the Energy Modeling Forum, Chairman of the Institute for Energy Studies, and Director of the Center for Economic Policy Research (now Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research). He is a member of the external Council Chair advisory council of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and of the California Energy Commission's Petroleum Market Advisory Committee. He was a founding member of the International Association for Energy Economics and has been a member of numerous National Research Council committees. Dr. Sweeney earned his bachelor's degree from MIT in electrical engineering and his Ph.D. from Stanford in engineering-economic systems.

Adam Brandt, Ph.D.*
Assistant Professor of Energy Resources Engineering and Center Fellow, by courtesy, at the Precourt Institute for Energy

Dr. Brandt holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in energy and resources from the University of California, Berkeley. He is interested in reducing the environmental impacts of energy systems and, more specifically, in understanding, measuring, and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from fossil energy sources. His research uses the tools of life cycle assessment (LCA) and process optimization to measure and estimate impacts from technologies at broad scales (LCA) and to help reduce these impacts (optimization). More specifically, his research focuses on the environmental impacts of oil shale and other substitutes for conventional petroleum; mathematical modeling of petroleum depletion and the transition to oil substitutes; and capture and storage systems. He serves on the Science Advisory Panel, Methane Reconciliation Project, National Renewable Energy Laboratory and was a technical steering committee member for an Independent Review of Well Stimulation by the California Council on Science and Technology. Dr. Brandt earned a B.S. in environmental studies with an emphasis on physics from UC Santa Barbara.

* The individual marked with an asterisk is an Ex Officio Steering Committee member due to his role as the lead author for the report. Serving as an ex officio member ensures regular interaction with the rest of the Steering Committee and improves the quality of the final report.

Charles Benson
Managing Partner, etaPartners LLC

Charles Benson is the Managing Partner of etaPartners LLC. He has 35 years of experience in the development, design, and optimization of energy systems. His work has focused on applications in the industrial, power generation, commercial, and residential sectors. These include industrial furnaces, boilers, gas turbines, and appliances. Of note is his work on low- NO x burner technologies and on the utilization of new fuels. He has worked with natural gas producers, pipeline companies, and local distribution companies to address interchangeability issues associated with the distribution of shale gas, coal bed methane, liquefied natural gas, propane-air peak shaving gas, and bio-derived gas. Prior positions that he has held include engineering roles at Pratt & Whitney and Exxon Research & Engineering Co., Vice President at Arthur D. Little Inc., Energy & Transportation Technology Sector Leader at TIAX LLC, and Principal at ENVIRON International Corp. Mr. Benson is an officer of the American Flame Research Committee. He also serves on the Executive Committee and Council of the International Flame Research Foundation.

Fokion Egolfopoulos, Ph.D.
William E. Leonhard Professor in Engineering, Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, University of Southern California

Professor Egolfopoulos is the founder of the Combustion and Fuels Research Laboratory at the University of Southern California. He has been actively involved in research for more than 25 years on the fundamentals that control a variety of phenomena encountered in high- temperature, high-activation energy reacting flows. Examples of such phenomena include physical and chemical processes in flames, high-speed air-breathing propulsion, turbulent combustion, plasma-assisted combustion, conventional and alternative fuels, and mechanisms of combustion-generated oxides of nitrogen, to name a few. Dr. Egolfopoulos is the Editor in Chief of Combustion and Flame since 2009 and a member of the Editorial Board of Progress in Energy and Combustion Science. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Fellow, an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), and an elected member of to the Board of Directors of the Combustion Institute. He received his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of California, Davis, his master's degree in mechanical engineering from San Jose State University, and his Diploma degree in mechanical engineering from National Technical University of Athens, Greece.

Charles D. Kolstad, Ph.D.
Senior Fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research and at the Precourt Institute for Energy

Dr. Kolstad is an energy and environmental economist with a research focus on regulation. Much of his applied work is in the area of climate change and energy markets. He has been a Convening Lead Author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (co-recipient of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize), is a founding Co-Editor of the Oxford University Press journal Review of Environmental Economics & Policy and has served on many advisory boards. He is currently a Council Member for the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST) and a former president of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists (AERE). At Stanford, in addition to his affiliation with the Department of Economics, Dr. Kolstad holds senior fellow appointments in the Precourt Institute for Energy (PIE), the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR) and the Woods Institute for the Environment. Prior to joining Stanford in 2012, Dr. Kolstad was on the faculty of the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he was a Bren Distinguished Professor of Environmental Economics, Chair of the Department of Economics and co-director of the system-wide University of California Center for Energy and Environmental Economics (UCE3). Dr. Kolstad holds a Ph.D. in engineering-economic systems and economics from Stanford University, a M.A. in mathematics from the University of Rochester, and a B.S. in mathematics from Bates College in Maine.

Diane Saber, Ph.D.
President, REEthink

Diane Saber, Ph.D., is a nationally recognized expert in the area of production and characterization of biomethane, having conducted the largest collaborative research projects in this area to date. In 2008, the industry-funded (22 natural gas companies world-wide) report, Pipeline Quality Biomethane: North American Guidance Document for Dairy Waste Conversion was produced; this served as a template for the further study funded by DOT/PHMSA, Pipeline Quality Biogas: Guidance Document for Dairy Waste, Wastewater Treatment Sludge and Landfill Conversion (2009). Dr. Saber also served as contributor and sole non-utility author of the Canadian Gas Association's Report, Biomethane Guidelines for the Introduction of Biomethane into Existing Natural Gas Distribution & Transmission Systems (2011). These reports serve as seminal works in the development of pipeline quality biomethane in North America, with particular insights into trace constituents in biogas/biomethane and natural gas, including biologicals. She was also responsible for the creation and management of a wide variety of projects associated with biomethane, including analytical techniques, database construction and company-specific specifications. She was previously a Director at the Gas Technology Institute in Des Plaines, IL, responsible for a multi-million dollar portfolio of projects and research specific to the Natural Gas industry in the areas of renewable natural gas, environmental science and forensic chemistry. Dr. Saber holds a Ph.D. in microbiology from the University of Minnesota.

Jessica Westbrook, Ph.D.
Principal Member of Technical Staff, Sandia National Laboratories

Dr. Westbrook is a Principal Member of Technical Staff at Sandia National Laboratories. She is a Council Member for the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST) and was a CCST Science and Technology Policy Fellow, placed as a consultant on the State Assembly Natural Resources Committee. While working for the Committee, she published numerous Senate and Assembly bill analyses relating to advanced energy storage, California Air Resources Board member qualifications, electricity, air pollution, and the economic impacts of climate change, to name a few. Dr. Westbrook earned a Ph.D. from the Department of Horticulture at Cornell University and received her B.S. in plant biology from the University of California, Davis.

Amber Mace, Ph.D., Project Director
CCST Deputy Director

Amber Mace, Ph.D. is the Deputy Director of the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST) and is a Policy Fellow with the UC Davis Policy Institute for Energy, Environment and the Economy. Mace devotes her time to building new and revitalizing existing programs and organizations that are dedicated to increasing the impact and value of science-informed decision-making.Prior to this, Mace served as the Associate Director of the UC Davis Policy Institute for Energy, Environment and the Economy. She also served as the Executive Director of the California Ocean Protection Council (OPC) and Assistant Secretary for Coastal Matters at the California Natural Resources Agency. In this role she applied her background in ocean policy and marine ecology and collaborative leadership skills to guide the state in developing policies that promote the sustainable use of California's ocean ecosystem. Prior to that, she served in the dual roles of science advisor to the OPC and executive director of the California Ocean Science Trust, a non-profit whose mission is to provide objective, high-quality science to decision makers.

She learned firsthand about the challenges of public policy-making at the federal level as a Knauss Fellow in the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, and at the state level as a California Sea Grant state fellow at the California Natural Resources Agency. Amber was recognized as a Coastal Hero by Sunset magazine in 2011 and her California coastal research experience includes piloting a submersible with the Sustainable Seas Expedition. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in geography from UC Berkeley and a doctorate in ecology from UC Davis and the Bodega Marine Laboratory.

Sarah Brady, Ph.D., Project Manager
CCST Director of Policy Engagement

Sarah Brady, Ph.D. is the Director of Policy Engagement for CCST and the Co-Chair of the CCST Science Fellows Alumni Network. Sarah most recently served as Legislative Director in Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla's office where she was hired after her placement as a CCST Science and Technology Policy Fellow in 2014. Sarah initiated policy work to retain women in STEM careers by preventing pregnancy discrimination in graduate programs. The law requires all California colleges to establish a family leave policy for their graduate students. Sarah also spearheaded legislation to increase the use of biomethane, reduce the cost of college textbooks, and improve access to computer science education. In addition, she conducted bill analysis and provided vote recommendations to Assemblywoman Bonilla on all bills related to utilities and commerce, energy, water, natural resources, and environmental toxicity. Prior to the Fellowship, Sarah earned bachelor's degrees in chemistry and French from North Central College and a doctorate in chemistry at the University of Oregon researching the degradation of plastics. She was also a GK-12 Fellow and an NSF-IGERT Fellow where she worked at the Hong Kong Baptist University.

Puneet Bhullar, Project Assistant
CCST Program Assistant

Puneet Bhullar is the Program Assistant for the CCST team. She provides high-level administrative support on various CCST projects. Prior to joining CCST, Puneet worked in numerous non-profit offices where she provided support for our states most disenfranchised communities. During this time, she worked with homeless veterans across the Central Valley and displaced refugees in Sacramento. Puneet graduated with a B.A. in political science from the University of California, Davis.

Mikel Shybut, Ph.D., Project Assistant
CCST Program Associate

Mikel Shybut, Ph.D. is a Program Associate for CCST. Most recently, Mikel was placed as a CCST Science and Technology Policy Fellow on the California State Senate Transportation and Housing Committee. On the Committee, Mikel published publicly available analyses of Senate and Assembly bills on a range of topics, including autonomous vehicles, bus seat belt requirements, broken parking meters, drug use in vehicles, and balcony safety requirements, to name a few. He also staffed legislation for the Committee and co-staffed a bill for the Chair relating to a major effort to address congestion in the Bay Area. Mikel received a doctorate in plant biology from the University of California, Berkeley and has a Bachelor of Arts degree in biological chemistry and Russian from Grinnell College in Iowa.

Peer Review

Peer review is the process of the evaluation of the scientific and technical merit (and likelihood of success) of the proposed research project/program by a panel of reviewers with direct expertise in the area of research to be evaluated who have no personal stake or interest in the outcome of the evaluation process. The salient features of the peer review process are the evaluation of the research program by "peer" experts in relevant fields who are deemed qualified to evaluate the product based solely on the scientific and technical merit of the content. It is standard practice to keep the identity of peer reviewers confidential as well as all of the comments and deliberations.

All CCST reports are peer reviewed using guidelines and processes established by CCST to assure the highest scientific and technical standards. Guidelines are similar to those of the National Academy of Science, adapted to be appropriate for California. It is standard practice to keep the identity of peer reviewers confidential as well as all of the comments and deliberations.

(Click here for more details about the CCST peer review process.)

Updated 3/22/18
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