Trancik lab

Trancik lab (2008; MIT, Cambridge, MA; 13 staff;

Evaluates the costs and environmental impacts of energy technologies, and studies expected changes to technology performance over time, due to innovation and evolving operational contexts. Relates performance to design and manufacturing decisions to inform technology development in the laboratory and in policy. Works on a variety of energy conversion and storage technologies for electricity and transportation.


  • Value of storage technologies – Stationary and mobile energy storage technologies can synchronize energy demand and supply, but need to be evaluated against energy consumption patterns.
  • Dynamic environmental impacts of technologies – The impacts of technologies depend on various factors, including the background state of the environment.
  • Risks and scalability of new technologies – Developing ways to assess the risks of existing and new technologies in terms of cost and other performance metrics.
  • Energy efficiency through personalized incentives – Coordinated small changes in individual travel behavior have the potential to produce significant reductions in regional transportation energy use.
  • PV design optimization – Photovoltaics provide a promising energy technology with a vast resource base and a history of rapid improvement. This work centers on photovoltaics’ design and cost evolution.
  • Climate change mitigation potential of energy technologies – Translating broad, high-level climate targets into practical performance targets for energy technologies in terms of their cost and carbon intensities.
  • Determinants of technology improvement – Studying the factors that drive technology evolution, and asking why some technologies improve more quickly than others.


Leadership: Prof. Jessika Trancik (Principal Investigator)

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