Energy Week to highlight research across disciplines at Penn

The Kleinman Center for Energy Policy and Vagelos Institute for Energy Science and Technology are hosting Energy Week March 11-15, with more than two dozen events featuring Penn faculty, students, and outside experts.

Student gives talk during Energy Week.
Joey Wu, a student in the Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research (VIPER), gave a presentation on "Super Plants" as part of the Lightning Talks during Energy Week in 2023. (Image: Courtesy of the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy)

Energy Week returns to the University of Pennsylvania this year March 11-15, an opportunity to learn about energy-transition research and to hear from Penn scientists, engineers, and policy experts across disciplines.

“It gives people a better idea of what’s going on all around campus,” says Nadine Gruhn, managing director of the Vagelos Institute for Energy Science and Technology, which is co-hosting Energy Week with the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy. Gruhn says one of her favorite things about Energy Week is that it’s a very positive event, one that is focused on solutions for energy systems amid a shift toward renewable energy sources.

“There’s really been a growing interest in the energy transition, especially as it relates to climate change,” says Cory Colijn, executive director of the Kleinman Center. “We know that to solve climate change, we have to decarbonize our energy sector. It’s the only way it’s going to happen.”

Colijn says Energy Week has expanded since its inception in 2019 from not only increasing the visibility of research happening on campus but also bringing in outside leaders in energy transition to inform research and teaching at Penn. Energy Week will welcome the deputy director of the Department of Energy’s Federal Energy Management Program to discuss the Biden Administration’s clean energy transition strategy, and two CEOs in the renewable energy sector will join an event discussing questions around proposals to “electrify everything.”

During the week, two dozen events include experts and speakers from six Schools and 15 Centers on campus. To see the full schedule—including information about which Energy Week events are open to the public, closed, or invitation-only—and to register for events, visit

  • Monday, March 11, 9 a.m., virtual—The School of Veterinary Medicine and Kleinman Center are sponsoring a discussion on regenerative agriculture at university demonstration farms, featuring speakers from Penn Vet and Great Lakes University Kisumu in Kenya.
  • Monday, March 11, 12:30 p.m., Kleinman Center Energy Forum—In the EVs and the Energy Transition Faculty Lunch, three professors from the Stuart Weitzman School of Design, School of Arts & Sciences, and School of Engineering and Applied Science will talk about their research on electric vehicles. Gruhn says what makes this event exciting is that it brings together faculty talking about the policy side and public perceptions of electric vehicles with faculty working on battery technologies and sourcing of energy-critical metals.
  • Wednesday, March 13, 12 p.m., Meyerson Hall—In a new event this year, a faculty panel from the Weitzman School of Design will discuss the role of design in the energy transition, including alternative cooling strategies for the building sector, land use, and carbon capture.
  • Wednesday, March 13, 2:30 p.m., Singh Center for Nanotechnology—As this year’s Lightning Talk finalists, six undergraduate, master’s, and Ph.D. students will give TED-style talks presenting research on topics such as nature-based solutions, rail transport of carbon dioxide, and cool roof coatings for urban heat resilience. “We really ask them to think about how to make the work that they’re doing accessible to the broad community,” Gruhn says.
  • Thursday, March 14, 5 p.m., Kleinman Center Energy Forum—Kleinman is holding an alumni panel on careers in the energy sector. “It gives students true exposure to the wealth of career opportunities in the energy sector,” Colijn says, “but it also really shows that the sector is changing so quickly, and it prepares students to expect the unexpected if they go into this field.”
  • Friday, March 15, 12 p.m., Kleinman Center Energy Forum—U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island will discuss his work around climate and energy policy, an event Colijn says came about through a connection the Penn delegation formed at COP28 in November.

Energy Week sponsors are Facilities & Real Estate Services; the ESG Initiative at the Wharton School; the Wharton Climate Center; the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy; the Penn Center for Science, Sustainability & the Media; the Penn Institute for Urban Research; the Penn Program on Regulation; Penn Sustainability; the School of Veterinary Medicine; The Water Center; Perry World House; the School of Engineering and Applied Science; the Stuart Weitzman School of Design; Environmental Health & Radiation Safety; the Vagelos Institute for Energy Science and Technology; and the Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research.