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PIET Director

PIET Director, Kurt Kornbluth, PhD

Kurt Kornbluth, PhD, Mechanical Engineer, is the founder and director of PIET and the UC Davis D-Lab. He is a graduate of the University of California, Davis. Dr. Kornbluth participated in 2006 as a Graduate School of Management Business Development Fellow. He was also an Edison International Energy Efficiency Fellow with the Energy Efficiency Center from 2007-08.   Dr. Kornbluth's research focus is on renewable energy technologies and lifecycle analysis and international development.  His dissertation topic focused on hydrogen enrichment for enhanced combustion of landfill gas. 

From 1993 to 2003, Dr. Kornbluth worked with Whirlwind Wheelchair International (WWI), managing and implementing technology projects in Africa and Central America.  He led the 8-year project, “Networking and Capacity building Wheelchair production in East Africa”, a cooperative effort between the Finish Government, a local Zambian NGO (DISACARE), and WWI which established a Regional Resource and Training Center for wheelchair production in LUSAKA.

In 2005, Dr. Kornbluth was the engineer onsite in Bangladesh for the “Emergence” village micro-utility project spearheaded by Iqbal Quadir (Founder of Grameen Phone) and Dean Kamen (Inventor of the Segway).  He led the pilot study which electrified two rural communities in Bangladesh and his responsibilities included working with stakeholders to establish design criteria, prototype design and construction, and in-country implementation and evaluation.

In addition to cars, motorcycles, and general cool technology, Dr. Kornbluth has a passion for energy and international development.  In 2004, he worked with Amy Smith at MIT to develop the curriculum for “D-Lab” which exposed students to energy issues in developing countries and is currently the PI on the University of California, Davis EEC-sponsored Program for International Energy Technologies (PIET). 

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