EPIC AgTech Energy Innovation Virtual Tour
About the Event
Attendees gained new insights through an immersive virtual tour experience!
During the March 26 event, attendees explored cutting-edge technologies for agriculture. They joined the California Energy Commission and the BlueTechValley Innovation Cluster for the EPIC AgTech Energy Innovation Virtual Tour.
Attendees gained insight into opportunities to transform the state’s robust food and agricultural landscape to be more energy-efficient, affordable, and resilient. Next, they traveled alongside technology developers for a series of virtual demonstrations and tours across the state to see up-and-coming cleantech for California’s agricultural, food and beverage processing, and dairy industries. Finally, they connected about future projects and partnerships.
Agenda and Presentations
Join the California Energy Commission and the BlueTechValley Innovation Cluster to explore cutting-edge agricultural technologies. Gain insight into opportunities to transform the state’s robust food and agricultural landscape to be more energy-efficient, affordable, and resilient. Next, travel alongside technology developers for a series of virtual demonstrations and tours across the state to see up-and-coming cleantech for California’s agricultural, food and beverage processing, and dairy industries.
Introduction and Welcome Remarks
Chair of the California Energy Commission, David Hochschild, will share the CEC’s commitment to advancing clean and resilient energy technology innovation in the agricultural sector.
Join the Dean of Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology at California State University, Fresno, Dr. Dennis Nef as he provides keynote remarks.
Overview – Opportunities for AgTech
In this “mainstage” session, representatives from the California Energy Commission, the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz), and the BlueTechValley Innovation Cluster will share how their respective programs are driving innovation in California and how that innovation is improving the bottom line for the food and agricultural operations across the state.
How Innovation is Cultivating Agricultural Resiliency
As California continues to experience drought conditions and other challenges, growers are turning to data analytics and other technologies to determine how to make their operations more resilient, sustainable, and cost competitive. In this track, technology developers will demonstrate how their products can be leveraged by California growers that are rethinking operations for a more efficient and resilient future. Following the session, please stay for an opportunity to participate in networking with presenters and other attendees and for closing remarks.
Food Processing is Ushering in a New Era of Decarbonization
California’s food and beverage processing industry is one of the state’s largest energy users and is a large producer of greenhouse gas emissions. Technology developers will share how food and beverage processors can accelerate decarbonization and clean energy adoption through new innovative technologies. Following the session, please stay for an opportunity to participate in networking with presenters and other attendees and for closing remarks.
How the Dairy Industry is Leading the Way in Clean Energy
California’s dairy farms have become global leaders in creating environmental and economical resilient practices. Technology developers will showcase new sustainable solutions for helping California dairy farms thrive. Following the session, please stay for an opportunity to participate in networking with presenters and other attendees and for closing remarks.
David Hochschild was appointed chair of the California Energy Commission by Governor Gavin Newsom in February 2019. He fills the environmental position on the five-member Commission where four of the five members are required by law to have professional training in specific areas - engineering or physical science, environmental protection, economics, and law. Chair Hochschild's career has spanned public service, environmental advocacy, and the private sector. He first got involved in the solar energy field in 2001 in San Francisco as a special assistant to Mayor Willie Brown where Chair Hochschild launched a citywide $100 million initiative to put solar panels on public buildings. He also cofounded the Vote Solar Initiative, a 60,000-member advocacy organization promoting solar policies at the local, state, and federal levels. He was executive director of a national consortium of leading solar manufacturers and worked for five years at Solaria, a solar company in Silicon Valley. From 2007 to 2008, he served as a commissioner at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. For his work to advance clean energy, Chair Hochschild was awarded the Sierra Club's Trailblazer Award, the American Lung Association's Clean Air Hero Award, and the U.S. Department of Energy's Million Solar Roof True Champion Award. Chair Hochschild holds a bachelor of arts from Swarthmore College and a master of public policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He also was a Coro Fellow in Public Affairs.
Assuming the role of Dean in July 2019, Dr. Dennis Nef returns to lead the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology after serving in several key university leadership positions in his previous 35 years on campus as an administrator and faculty member. Most recently he has served as vice provost from July 2014 to June 2019 after being appointed as an associate vice president in 2011. He also served as dean of undergraduate studies from 2003 to 2014 and as the interim provost for five months in 2009.
During the prior 20 years, he served as the Jordan College’s acting dean in the fall of 1997, and eight years as its associate dean from 1995 to 2003. He also served five years as the agricultural economics department chair. His areas of teaching and research in seven prior years as a professor and lecturer included agricultural policy, natural resources, trade and land/water economics. He was a member of the President’s Commission on the Future of Agriculture that released a report in 2014 outlining new academic and outreach opportunities to better connect the college and university with the nation’s leading agricultural area. He later co-chaired the President's Water Task Force.
He serves on the Fresno County Agricultural Land Conservation Committee and previously was a member of the National Association of Agricultural Economics Administrators board of directors. He holds a bachelor of science degree in business administration from Brigham Young University, and M.S. (Utah State) and Ph.D. (Iowa State) degrees in agricultural economics. He and his wife are the parents of five children and grandparents of 13 grandchildren.
Mr. Adler is Senior Advisor for Climate Finance at the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) and the Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank (IBank), where is leading the development of the Climate Catalyst Fund and related programs. Prior to this role, he was Vice President for Policy at the Energy Foundation, a partnership of philanthropies advancing clean energy markets across the U.S. He was previously Managing Director of the California Clean Energy Fund (CalCEF) and President of CalCEF Ventures, where he led the firm’s efforts to identify and catalyze transformational new investment theses across venture capital and project finance.
He has served as senior analyst in the Division of Strategic Planning at the California Public Utilities Commission, where he was responsible for the design and implementation of California's Renewables Portfolio Standard and was senior staff for climate policy, and on the boards of the American Council on Renewable Energy, the Coalition for Green Capital, the Vote Solar Initiative, and Energy Efficiency for All. He has a BA in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley and an MA in Public Policy from Harvard University.
Benjamin is involved in the ag, water, energy technology space through the WET Center at California State University, Fresno; starting as a program manager for the Valley Ventures accelerator program and now leading WET Center advisory services for startups. With a focus on sales and financing, Benjamin aims to help companies accomplish their next growth milestones. Benjamin holds an undergraduate degree from Fresno State and a Masters in Finance from Vanderbilt University.
Mai Ann Healy
Mai Ann Healy
Mai Ann is VP of Sales and Marketing for BioFiltro where she leads the market development of their worm powered wastewater systems across the United States. She has managed the sales and implementation of projects ranging in size from 600 gallons per day to 1.15 million gallons per day for wineries, dairies, rural communities, and food processors. Originally from New England, Mai Ann attended Middlebury College and then worked in salmon production and processing as well as consulting in Chile and Argentina before joining BioFiltro.
Derk Hendriksen is Co-CEO of Treasure8, a SF food tech group leading a Resource Revolution® to bring accessible, sustainable nutrition to a rapidly growing planet. Previously, Derk ran a consultancy, Hendriksen Ventures, dedicated to enabling purpose-driven companies. He spent most of his career at The Coca-Cola Company, serving 23 years in various roles worldwide, including VP of Business Integration in the Office of Sustainability. Here, he led TCCC's Social Enterprise Unit, EKOCOMPANY, then EKOCENTER, a social initiative for health and sustainability. A Dutch native, Derk lives between Atlanta and San Francisco and is inspired by transformative startups — like Treasure8.
Charles Hillyer, PhD is the Director of the Center for Irrigation Technology (CIT) at California State University, Fresno. He has over 20 years of experience developing software systems and tools for agriculture, with 13 of those years focused on irrigation management and deficit irrigation. Hillyer is an active member of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE), the Irrigation Association (IA), the Irrigation Innovation Consortium (IIC), and AgGateway. He also works on international standards development and serves as the Chair of NRES-03/2 US TAG committee for ISO TC23/SC18.
CIT is built on a foundation of innovation and technology transfer focused on testing, applied research and entrepreneurship to support developing and deploying technologies that will bring the world the most innovative products and resource management tools. Hillyer’s current work at CIT is combining today’s best new technologies into a fully integrated system, where decision support is part of the integration, addresses the burden of doing irrigation scheduling and has the potential to improve water management.
Olivier Jerphagnon is a serial entrepreneur with a talent to bring new technology to market. He grew up around farms in Britany, France and he is an expert in applying data mining techniques to solve practical infrastructure problems. He founded Agmonitor Inc.’s data mining platform to address climate risks at the nexus of Food, Energy, and Water. Prior to that, Olivier was CEO of Monitoring Division Inc., which sold professional services to telecom carriers worldwide using patented data sensing and machine learning technologies from Melbourne University.
He started his career in fiber optic networks at Calient Technologies where he built the first 3D-MEMS fiber switch that powers data centers around the world today. He holds 8 patents granted and published more than 30 peer reviewed articles. He was the Primary Investigator on two EPIC funded projects. Mr. Jerphagnon holds a M.S. from UC Santa Barbara and an Engineering Diploma from the Grenoble Institute of Technology, France.
Bear has a deep interest and knowledge base in energy and sustainable power generation on the individual user scale. His background led him to ALL Power Labs where he initially began his research in developing producer gas analysis equipment. He has orchestrated numerous studies on the efficacy of characterized biochar. Bear’s main focus at ALL Power Labs is developing control systems for gasifiers and conducting research to inform and motivate product development. Bear has a B.S. in Environmental Studies-Earth System Science from San Francisco State University.
Dr. Jennifer Klare is Porifera’s Senior Director of Applications and Operations. She leads the company’s food and beverage sales program and R&D application development. Dr. Klare received a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Columbia University in 2006. After a postdoctoral position at Northwestern University, she joined the Porifera team at its founding. Dr. Klare combines her background in chemistry and nanomaterials with her 10 years of experience at Porifera to guide the team's solution for the customer.
Joshua McEnaney is CTO and President of Nitricity, a company devoted to producing sustainable nitrogen fertilizer. McEnaney received his Ph.D. in chemistry from The Pennsylvania State University where he developed novel nanocatalyst materials for water electrolysis. He continued his studies as a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford University, developing several new nitrogen fixation and conversion technologies. McEnaney is driven to work on sustainable technologies, particularly with respect to climate change, to preserve our planet for future generations. He believes Nitricity provides an outstanding opportunity to mitigate up to gigaton-scale global carbon dioxide emissions.
Stephen Perigo is the President/CEO of Perigo Company LLC located in Strathmore, California. Perigo started his career in welding and manufacturing and founded his first company Perigo Welding Works in 1991. The company transitioned into Perigo Company LLC in 2019. It has 15 employees and focuses on providing products, services and innovations to the agriculture industry.
California Bioenergy LLC (“CalBio”) is the leading developer of “dairy waste to biogas” energy projects in the country. CalBio develops finances, builds, owns and operates its biogas projects in partnership with dairy owners and Chevron. Calbio contracts its locally generated renewable power, renewable fuel (R-CNG) and related carbon offsets (CCOs and LCFS credits) to the local utility and to California AB 32 and LCFS obligated parties including Chevron. The company has five owned and fully operational projects in California’s Central Valley. Sixty more are in construction and development. CalBio has arranged over $200 million in project debt, equity and grant financing and is currently developing an additional $200 million of projects that will create the largest dairy waste to biogas fuel projects in the country when completed producing over 20 million diesel gallon fuel equivalents per year.
The Company plays a major roll within the Biogas Association of California (as a founder) and on its own, advocating in front of the CEC, CPUC, State legislature and others in support of dairy biogas resource development and the benefits of dairy biogas. A recent partnership with Bloom Energy is focused on developing dairy biogas to electric vehicle fuel projects. Mr. Perkins served as a unit leader for 21 years in the US Navy, followed by department and regional roles in Fortune 100 companies, and culminating in vice president, plant manager, and senior director positions with other publicly traded companies. He holds an MBA from St. Leo University and a BBA from Excelsior. His engineering education comes by way of the Nuclear Power program offered by the US Navy.
Helle Petersen joined the Water, Energy and Technology Center (WET Center) at Fresno State in 2011, where she currently serves as program manager. She has actively worked in innovation and entrepreneurship for most of her career, ﬁrst as a part of the Central Valley Business Incubator and later at Fresno State and the WET Center. In her role at the WET Center, Petersen works closely with federal, state, and local funders to support the WET Center’s mission supporting water, energy, and agricultural technology companies and to contribute to regional economic development.
As project manager for the BlueTechValley Innovation Cluster, she is deeply involved with building a robust regional ecosystem to better link, convene, and support entrepreneurs and innovators on the path to commercializing new technologies. The BlueTechValley Innovation Cluster program is a six-year project funded by the California Energy Commission. Petersen was also instrumental in securing funding to develop the first water, energy, and agricultural technology focused accelerator in the San Joaquin Valley. Valley Ventures, is now an integral part of the WET Center’s programs for entrepreneurs and has attracted companies from around the world.
Petersen earned a Master of Science in Environmental Engineering from the Technical University of Denmark, and is an alumni of Fresno State’s MBA program. Petersen is native to Denmark but has lived in Fresno since 2003 with her husband and two children.
A Ph.D. candidate studying Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University with a focus on energy systems, Nicolas Pinkowski M.S. ’17 was named in the Forbes 30 Under 30 2021 list for his work in creating Nitricity, a sustainable fertilizer startup that could facilitate the decarbonization of the chemical industry.
Theresa Pistochini is the Engineering Manager at the UC Davis Energy Efficiency Institute and Western Cooling Efficiency Center with over 10 years’ experience in applied research in energy efficiency in buildings, primarily in the areas of Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC). She led the development and construction of an HVAC testing laboratory in 2013 and is co-PI and Project Manager for the Product Evaluation Hub. Theresa provides technical management for the engineering staff, reviewing project progress including experimental plans, analyses, results, and publications. She earned her M.S. degree from UC Davis and is a registered professional engineer in California.
Dr. Sarah Richardson hails from west Baltimore. She earned a B.S. in biology from the University of Maryland in 2004 and a Ph.D. in human genetics and molecular biology from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 2011.
She specializes in the design of genomes: as a DOE Computational Graduate Fellow she designed a synthetic yeast genome; as a Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow of Genomics at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory she worked on massive scale synthetic biology projects and the integration of computational genomics with experimental genomics; and as a cofounder of MicroByre she leads the construction of genomic toolkits for non-model prokaryotes.
All of which is to say that she uses DNA to teach bacteria to do tricks on command. Trained in both computational and molecular biology, she has a very unique perspective on the emerging technologies made possible by synthetic biology.
Mr. David Stout has been a supervisor in the in the Energy Efficiency Research Office at the California Energy Commission for nearly a year. He leads the Industrial, Agriculture, and Water unit, which funds research and development projects that focus on cost-effective decarbonization of those sectors through increasing energy efficiency and substitution of NG with electricity or low-carbon alternatives as well as large scale demonstration of pre-commercial efficiency and industrial technologies.
Prior to the Energy Commission, he spent 16 years working for a non-profit research organization SRI International, performing and managing contract research. At SRI he led a team of engineers performing chemical and biological process optimization and development as well as developing novel chemical hardware systems primarily focusing on energy and energy storage, advanced materials and coatings, and chemical and drug discovery.
Registration is Now Closed
Registration for this event is now closed, however we encourage you to visit the California Energy Commission’s Epic Program Page to sign up for updates and learn about future events!