Dr. Sumanjeet Kaur, a Research Scientist and Group Leader at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, performs research at the cutting edge of thermal energy storage technology development. Recognizing that energy use in buildings represents 39% of all primary energy use in the United States (more than transportation) and further that most of that energy is used in thermal form (e.g., air conditioning and heating, water heating, and refrigeration), Dr. Kaur’s work responds to the question “can affordable thermal energy storage technologies be developed to meet the thermal loads in buildings?” She is developing dynamically tunable, switchable, solid-state thermal energy storage materials for building-envelope applications. In other words, she’s creating a thermal battery that can be embedded in the walls of buildings that can be controlled by the occupant to store cold or heat using advanced material properties. This capability will overcome current challenges associated with similar technologies that are underused because they do not work in all seasons and lack controllability. Her research will enable thermal microgrids within a building system, time shifting of thermal loads (to exploit nighttime cooling the next day, for instance), and building interactions with the electrical grid to make the nation’s grid more resilient and reliable. Dr. Kaur is the inaugural leader of the Thermal Energy Group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which advances thermal technologies for applications from batteries to water desalination to critical material recovery.