Chemistry at Illinois University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The Department of Chemistry at the University of Illinois

Sylvia M. Stoesser Lecturer 2008-09 - Ellen B. Stechel

Ellen B. Stechel

Program Manager, Sunshine to Petrol
Department Manager, Emerging Energy Technologies
Sandia National Laboratories

Ellen B. StechelEllen Stechel does program development and program management in the Energy Futures Group at Sandia National Laboratories, where she concentrates on building research programs and capabilities in energy technologies to simultaneously reduce the nation's dependence on fossil energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  She manages and develops programs to:

  • Produce renewable liquid hydrocarbon fuels from solar or nuclear energy and recycled CO2
  • Capture CO2 from diffuse sources, such as the atmosphere
  • Advance the science and engineering of reliability for robust energy technologies

Stechel joined Sandia for the first time in 1981 as a technical staff member in the Condensed Matter Physics Department.  From 1994-1998 she was the manager of the Advanced Materials and Device Sciences Department, which worked on experimental, theoretical, and computational projects in materials such as novel carbon forms, boron-carbide, and high temperature cuprate superconductors, with a number of applications and devices in mind.  Stechel re-joined Sandia in 2005 to work on contract for the Department of Homeland Security, Science & Technology Division, Office of Research and Development developing strategies for Technology Transition otherwise known as the Technology Development lifecycle from basic research to commercialization or deployment.   Upon completion of that temporary assignment, she returned to Sandia, Albuquerque to form a new department called Fuels and Energy Transitions in the summer of 2006.  As of fall 2008, she assumed her current responsibilities in program development and program management.

Prior to re-joining Sandia, she worked at Ford Motor Company from 1998-2005 where she covered a range of energy and environmental programs at Ford and in Universities (e.g., Ford/MIT Alliance and BP/Ford/Princeton Carbon Mitigation Initiative,) including building a sustainability science program, overseeing Ford Research Lab's atmospheric chemistry and climate change programs, as well as proving and deploying new low emission technologies on many of Ford's North American vehicles.  As a result of her varied career, her experience base has touched almost every aspect of the Science, Engineering, Technology, Business, and Policy Enterprise in a number of research fields, including chemistry, physics, materials, surfaces, the environment, and computational science.

Stechel received her bachelor's degree in Mathematics and Chemistry from Oberlin College, in 1974 and her master's degree in Physical Chemistry and PhD in Chemical Physics from the University of Chicago, in 1976 and 1978, respectively.  Her professional activities include:  Senior Editor, Journal of Physical Chemistry, 1998-00; Chair, Division of Physical Chemistry, American Chemical Society, 1998; ACS Councilor for the PHYS division and elected member of Nominations and Elections, American Chemical Society, present; and Co-Founder, Strategic Oversight, and Scientific Oversight for the Computational Materials Science Network (CMSN), DOE/Basic Energy Sciences.