Precourt Institute for energy names new leaders


Sally Benson
Sally Benson

SALLY M. BENSON has been appointed director of the Precourt Institute for Energy, a hub of energy research and education at Stanford University. Her colleague, ROLAND N. HORNE, has been named deputy director. Both are professors of energy resources engineering and senior fellows at the institute.

ANN M. ARVIN, vice provost and dean of research at Stanford, announced the appointment. “Sally Benson has a remarkable record of research contributions and international leadership in the field of energy sciences, which will be of great value to the Precourt Institute,” Arvin said.  “We are delighted that Sally has agreed to serve in this important role at Stanford, and that Roland Horne will provide his expertise in Earth sciences and as a faculty leader to support the Precourt mission.”

Benson succeeds FRANKLIN M. “LYNN” ORR JR., a professor of energy resources engineering at Stanford, who has served as director of the Precourt Institute since its founding in 2009.  Benson was named acting director of the institute last fall when President Obama nominated Orr to be under secretary for science at the Department of Energy. He is awaiting Senate confirmation.

“The Precourt Institute supports education and game-changing research, promoting energy literacy and accelerating solutions that will transform the global energy system,” Benson said. “I am grateful for Lynn Orr’s leadership and delighted to work with Roland Horne to help lead this important effort.”

Roland Horne
Roland Horne

A groundwater hydrologist and reservoir engineer, Benson is a leading authority on emerging energy technologies, and geologic carbon capture and storage. She leads a research laboratory that studies fundamental aspects of carbon dioxide sequestration in saline aquifers.    

Horne’s research focuses on the quantification and efficient recovery of subsurface energy resources, including oil, gas and geothermal energy. He is the director of the Stanford Geothermal Program and past president of the International Geothermal Association. 

In addition to her new leadership role at the Precourt Institute, Benson will continue to serve as director of Stanford’s Global Climate and Energy Project (GCEP), a position she has held since 2007.

“During her tenure at GCEP, Sally Benson has played a key part in developing a diverse research portfolio that funds innovative, low-carbon energy technologies,” said GEORGE SHULTZ, director of the Hoover Institution’s Shultz-Stephenson Task Force on Energy Policy and chair of the Precourt Institute advisory council. “She will continue to provide strong leadership at the Precourt Institute in the years ahead.”

Read the full announcement on the Precourt Institute’s website.


— BY MARK SHWARTZ, Precourt Institute for the Environment