Photo of Webber, Michael

Michael Webber

Associate Professor

Josey Centennial Professorship in Energy Resources

Phone: (512) 475-6867
Office: ETC 6.106EA

Michael Webber is the Deputy Director of the Energy InstituteJosey Centennial Fellow in Energy Resources, Co-Director of the Clean Energy Incubator at the Austin Technology Incubator, and Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin, where he trains a new generation of energy leaders through research and education at the intersection of engineering, policy, and commercialization. He has authored more than 200 scientific articles, columns, books, and book chapters, including an op-ed in the New York Times and features in Scientific American. A highly sought public speaker, he has given more than 175 lectures, speeches, and invited talks in the last few years, such as testimony for hearings of U.S. Senate committees, keynotes for business meetings, plenary lectures for scientific conferences, invited speeches at the United Nations and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and executive briefings at some of the nation's leading companies.

As a professor, Dr. Webber has taught undergraduate and graduatecourses at The University of Texas at Austin since 2007 across departments as diverse as mechanicalengineering, chemical engineering, liberal arts, business, geosciences, public affairs, and undergraduate studies. His teaching has been honored three separate times with major awards from the University of Texas System. Dr. Webber's research focuses on the convergence of policy, technology, and resource management related to energy and the environment. Government agencies such as the Department of Energy and non-governmental organizations such as UNESCO have featured Dr. Webber's research in their policy-making decisions. His expertise, opinions, and research have been published, cited or featured in many media outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, USA Today, NPR, PBS, The Daily Telegraph, BBC, ABC, CBS, Discovery, Popular Mechanics, New Scientist, MSNBC, and the History Channel.

Since launching in March 2013, his syndicated television special, Energy at the Movies, has been telecast more than 140 times on more than 75 PBS stations in 25 states as of July 2013. The special bridges the gap between academic discourse and popular culture by synthesizing expert analysis of Hollywood films into digestible lessons on the science and history of energy. Energy at the Movies reaches over 37 million households in the United States, with a follow up series in development.

His capstone class "Energy Technology and Policy" is scheduled for distribution as a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) titled "Energy 101." The course will launch in Fall 2013 through a partnership with edX. More than 5000 students signed up for the course during the first three days of its registration period, and within four months 30,000 students from around the world were registered. The global scope of the Energy 101 MOOC fits in with Webber's motto of Changing the Way America Thinks About Energy. He has also offered the course as part of executive education programs in Austin, Houston, Washington DC, and in Durham, North Carolina.

Dr. Webber received his B.A. with High Honors in Plan II Liberal Arts and his B.S. with High Honors in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. He then received both a M.S. and a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Stanford University where he was a National Science Foundation Fellow. He then served as a senior scientist at Pranalytica, where he invented sensors for homeland security, industrial analysis, and environmental monitoring. He holds four patents as a result of his research. He then transitioned to the RAND Corporation studying energy, innovation, manufacturing, and national security. Dr. Webber is one of the originators of Pecan Street Incorporated, a public-private partnership in Austin, Texas, running the nation's largest smart grid experiment.

Selected Publications

  1. C.W. King and M.E. Webber, "The Water Intensity of Transportation", Journal of Environmental Science and Technology, Vol. 42, (2008), 21, pp. 7866-7872
  2. A.S. Stillwell, M.E. Clayton and M.E. Webber, "Technical analysis of a river basin-based model of advanced power plant cooling technologies for mitigating water management challenges", Environmental Research Letters, (2011), pp. 1-11
  3. C.M. Beal, C.H. Smith, M.E. Webber, R.S. Ruoff and R.E. Hebner, "A Framework to Report the Production of Renewable Diesel From Algae", Bioenergy Research, Vol. 4, (2010), 1, pp. 36-61
  4. T.M. Thompson, C.W. King, M.E. Webber, and D.T. Allen, "Air Quality Impacts of Using Overnight Electricity Generation to Charge PHEVs in the Texas grid", Environmental Research Letters , Vol. 6 , (2011), 024004, pp. 1-11
  5. A.D. Cuellar and M.E. Webber, "“Wasted Food, Wasted Energy: The Embedded Energy in Food Waste in the United States”", Environmental Science and Technology, (2010), July 21, 2010

Most Recent Publications

  1. S.M. Cohen, G.T. Rochelle, and M.E. Webber, "Optimizing post-combustion CO2 capture in response to volatile electricity prices," International Journal Of Greenhouse Gas Control Technologies, Vol. 8, (2012), pp. 1-16
  2. K.M. Twomey and M.E. Webber, "Evaluating the energy intensity of water in the United States," Environmental Research Letters , Vol. 7, (2012), pp. 1-11
  3. E.A. Grubert, F.C. Beach and M.E. Webber, "Switching fuels to save water: evaluating the regional lifecycle freshwater consumption associated with Texas coal and natural gas--In Press," Environmental Research Letters , (), pp. 1-10
  4. C.M. Beal, R.E. Hebner, M.E. Webber, R.S. Ruoff, F. Seibert, and C.W. King, "Compre- hensive Evaluation of Algal Biofuel Production: Experimental and Target Results," Energies (Special Issue: Algal Fuel), Vol. 5, (2012), 6, pp. 1-39
  5. C.M. Beal, R.E. Hebner, M.E. Webber, "Thermodynamic Analysis of Algal Biocrude Production," Energy, Vol. 44, (2012), 1, pp. 1-19
  6. C.M. Beal, A.S. Stillwell, C.W. King, S.M. Cohen, H. Berberoglu, R.P. Bhattarai, R. Connelly, M.E. Webber, R.E. Hebner, "Energy Return on Investment for Algal Biofuel Production Coupled with Wastewater Treatment," Water Environment Research, Vol. 84, (2012), 9, pp. 1-19
  7. C.B. Harris and M.E. Webber, "A temporal assessment of vehicle use patterns and their impact on the provision of vehicle-to-grid services," Environmental Research Letters, Vol. 7, (2012), pp. 1-9
  8. A.S. Stillwell and M.E. Webber, "A Novel Methodology for Evaluating Economic Feasibility of Low-Water Cooling Technology Retrofits at Power Plants--In Press," Water Policy, (), pp. 1-10
  9. A. K. Townsend and M. E. Webber, "An Integrated Analytical Framework for Quantifying the LCOE of Waste-to-Energy Facilities for a Range of Greenhouse Gas Emissions Policy and Technical Factors," Waste Management, (2012), pp. 1-12
  10. A.S. Stillwell, K.M. Twomey, R. Osborne, D.M. Greene, D.W. Pedersen, and M.E. Webber, "An Integrated Energy, Carbon, Water and Economic Analysis of Reclaimed Water Use In Urban Settings: A Case Study of Austin, Texas," Journal Of Water Reuse And Desalination, Vol. 1, (2011), 4, pp. 1-15
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