July 13, 2021. Getting to net-zero: decarbonizing at the tera- and nanowatt levels

 Lynn Loo 

By:  Yueh-Lin (Lynn) Loo                                                

Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, Chemical & Biological Engineering Department, Princeton University


Date:  Tuesday July 13 at 9-10 am MT

Connect via zoom: https://cuboulder.zoom.us/j/94042783299


While the climate mitigation narrative has historically focused on restricting the rise in global average temperature to 2oC above pre-industrial levels, the 2015 Paris Agreement motivated a shift in the narrative to limit global average temperature increase to 1.5oC, which translated to a net zeroing of emissions of all anthropogenic greenhouse gases by midcentury. In response, an increasing number of nations, states, cities and firms have announced net-zero emissions targets with most advanced countries anchoring the commitment around 2050.

In 2018, the Andlinger Center kicked off a campus-wide, multi-disciplinary international Rapid Switch collaboration to reframe the assessment of net-zero pathways to focus on barriers, bottlenecks and unintended consequences that can arise during large-scale rapid energy-system transitions. This collaboration culminated in the release of Net-Zero America Study [1] in December 2020, which I will highlight during my presentation. With unprecedented geographical granularity and temporal resolution, the study lays out the trade-offs and opportunities of five distinct technological pathways by which the US can decarbonize its entire economy by 2050.

In the second half of my presentation, I will provide an update on my team’s progress in developing ultra-violet absorbing solar cells for electrifying glass surfaces and wirelessly powering electrochromic smart windows. Since our first demonstration of these devices [2], we have made significant advances in materials design and development; our best solar cells to-date boast average-photopic-response-weighted transmittances above 80% with near-perfect color rendering indices above 95%, both of which are records for solar cells that prioritize light transmission and aesthetics. 

[1]. https://netzero.princeton.edu

[2]. N.C. Davy, M. Sezen-Edmonds, J. Gao, X. Lin, A. Liu, N. Yao, A. Kahn, Y.-L. Loo, “Near-UV Organic Solar Cells Paired with Electrochromic Windows for Smart Management of the Solar Spectrum” Nature Energy 2, 17104 (2017).



An American engineer, Yueh-Lin (Lynn) Loo was born and raised in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. She is presently the Theodora D. ’78 & William H. Walton III ’74 Professor in Engineering and Director of the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment at Princeton University.

Lynn received her BSE in Chemical Engineering and in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania, and her PhD from Princeton University. She spent a year at Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies before joining the faculty in the Chemical Engineering Department at the University of Texas at Austin. She returned to Princeton University in 2007. She is an international expert on organic and plastic electronics; her team focuses on the development and processing of materials for low-cost, lightweight and flexible solar cells and circuits, the combination of which has resulted in see-through solar cells that can be embedded in windows that change color with electrical signals. Such “smart” windows can decrease building energy use while increasing occupant comfort. Recognized with the 2020 Thomas Edison Patent Award by the New Jersey Council of Research and Development, this technology is being further developed by Andluca Technologies, a startup that Lynn co-founded. With >200 publications, Lynn has delivered >250 invited and plenary lectures globally. She is a fellow of the American Physical Society, a fellow of the Materials Research Society, and a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum. She is recognized with Sloan and Beckman Fellowships, the Dillon Medal from the American Physical Society, the O’Donnell Award in Engineering from the Texas Academy of Medicine, Science and Engineering, and the Colburn Award from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.

Lynn was the Associate Director of External Partnerships at the Andlinger Center from 2011 to 2015, during which she launched and led Princeton E-ffiliates Partnership, a corporate partner program to promote teacher-student-practitioner interactions and foster collaboration with the private sector. She served as Acting Vice Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science in the spring of 2016, and was appointed Director of the Andlinger Center in July 2016. In July of 2018, she founded Princeton’s first executive education module in partnership with the World Economic Forum to contextualize the complexities of the energy transition and its impact on our environment for business leaders, government officials, investors and other key decision makers. With > 115 associated faculty members spanning science and engineering disciplines and social sciences, the Andlinger Center is developing solutions to ensure our energy and environmental future.

Brought on board to expand its scope to include soft materials and polymers, she is an associate editor of Nano Letters. Lynn currently serves on the advisory boards of numerous companies, national laboratories, academic units at peer institutions, and journals. She served as program chair for the Division of Polymers of the American Physical Society, and chaired the Materials Engineering and Science Division of the American Institute for Chemical Engineers. While on sabbatical in Singapore in 2020, Lynn was a member of the International Advisory Panel for Maritime Decarbonization that, among other recommendations, championed the founding of a maritime decarbonization center in Singapore to coordinate regional and global efforts to accelerate carbon emissions reduction in the sector.

To learn more about her research team: http://loogroup.princeton.edu

To learn more about Andluca Technologies: https://andluca.com

To learn more about the Andlinger Center: http://acee.princeton.edu