COMPLETED: June 2018
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.
Defining the Study
Study Authors and Steering Committee (SC) Selection and Approval
Author and Steering Committee Meetings, Information Gathering, Deliberations, and Drafting the Study
The report is a collaborative effort by a large number of experts serving in various capacities.
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.
Adam Brandt, Stanford University - Lead Author
Gregory Von Wald, Stanford University
Deepak Rajagopal, UCLA
Austin Stanion, UCLA
The following institutions are subcontractors and are not responsible for the final content of the report, which rests with CCST and the Steering Committee:
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
Click below to see a complete list of the authors who contributed to this project.
Steering Committee Members
The steering committee oversees the report authors, reaches conclusions based on the findings of the authors and writes an executive summary.
Committee Selection and Approval
Selection of appropriate committee members, individually and collectively, is essential for the success of a study. All committee members serve as individual experts, not as representatives of organizations or interest groups. Each member is expected to contribute to the project on the basis of his or her own expertise and good judgment. A committee is not finally approved until a thorough balance and conflict-of-interest discussion is held, and any issues raised in that discussion are investigated and addressed. Members of a committee are anonymous until this process is completed.
Careful steps are taken to convene committees that meet the following criteria:
The committee must include experts with the specific expertise and experience needed to address the study's statement of task. A major strength of CCST is the ability to bring together recognized experts from diverse disciplines and backgrounds who might not otherwise collaborate. These diverse groups are encouraged to conceive new ways of thinking about a problem.
Having the right expertise is not sufficient for success. It is also essential to evaluate the overall composition of the committee in terms of different experiences and perspectives. The goal is to ensure that the relevant points of view are, in CCST's judgment, reasonably balanced so that the committee can carry out its charge objectively and credibly.
All provisional committee members are screened in writing and in a confidential group discussion about possible conflicts of interest. For this purpose, a "conflict of interest" means any financial or other interest which conflicts with the service of the individual because it could significantly impair the individual's objectivity or could create an unfair competitive advantage for any person or organization. The term "conflict of interest" means something more than individual bias. There must be an interest, ordinarily financial, that could be directly affected by the work of the committee. Except for those rare situations in which CCST determines that a conflict of interest is unavoidable and promptly and publicly discloses the conflict of interest, no individual can be appointed to serve (or continue to serve) on a committee used in the development of reports if the individual has a conflict of interest that is relevant to the functions to be performed.
Point of View
Point of View
A point of view or bias is not necessarily a conflict of interest. Committee members are expected to have points of view, and CCST attempts to balance these points of view in a way deemed appropriate for the task. Committee members are asked to consider respectfully the viewpoints of other members, to reflect their own views rather than be a representative of any organization, and to base their scientific findings and conclusions on the evidence. Each committee member has the right to issue a dissenting opinion to the report if he or she disagrees with the consensus of the other members.
Membership in CCST and previous involvement in CCST studies are taken into account in committee selection. The inclusion of women, minorities, and young professionals are additional considerations.
Specific steps in the committee selection and approval process are as follows:
Staff solicit an extensive number of suggestions for potential committee 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 CCST's Board. The provisional committee members complete background information and conflict-of-interest disclosure forms. The committee balance and conflict-of-interest discussion is held at the first committee meeting. Any conflicts of interest or issues of committee balance and expertise are investigated; changes to the committee are proposed and finalized.
CCST's Board formally approves the committee. Committee members continue to be screened for conflict of interest throughout the life of the committee.
Committee Members' Bios
James L. Sweeney Ph.D
Steering Committee Chair
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, Energy Resources Engineering and Center Fellow, By Courtesy
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.
Dr. Brandt 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 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
Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research and 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.
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.
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.
Thursday, June 7th, 2018, 12:30pm-1:30pm, Capitol Room 437
This briefing was held by the authors of the newly released CCST report, "Biomethane in California Common Carrier Pipelines: Assessing Heating Value and Maximum Siloxane Specifications," commissioned by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) pursuant to SB 840 (2016). Panelists discussed the findings and recommendations from their independent assessment of California's standards for pipeline injection of biomethane.
Monday, June 11th, 2018 - 9am - 1pm
Location: CPUC Headquarters, San Francisco, Golden Gate Room
This workshop covered each chapter of the CCST report, "Biomethane in California Common Carrier Pipelines: Assessing Heating Value and Maximum Siloxane Specifications," in technical detail. The authors and chair of the Steering Committee discussed the data, analysis, and conclusions underlying the recommendations from their independent assessment. Contact: Jamie Ormond, [email protected], 415-703-1193.