- Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Texas at Austin
- Founding Partner, IdeaSmiths LLC
- Director of Engineering, Aloviam, Inc.
Charles Roberts Upshaw is a postdoctoral fellow in the Webber Energy Group at the University of Texas at Austin, researching energy and sustainability with a multi-disciplinary systems-level approach, and a focus on the built environment.
Charles received his BS (May ’10), MS (May ’12), and PhD (May ’16) in Mechanical Engineering all from the University of Texas. During his undergraduate career, he was active in the student chapter of ASME at UT, including service as its President, and was honored with the Engineering Outstanding Scholar-Leader Award in May 2010 (a recognition awarded to the top undergraduate student out of the entire Cockrell School of Engineering). During his graduate school tenure, Charles led successful teams in high profile student competitions, including the Power Across Texas Energy Innovation Challenge (2011 and 2013), and the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon (2015).
Charles Upshaw is also a founding partner of IdeaSmiths LLC. The company was founded in response to repeated requests from various investors, innovators, and individuals looking for technically sound first-cut analysis and assessment of energy-related technologies and ideas. After years of performing occasional projects on an ad hoc basis, IdeaSmiths was formally founded as a company in July 2013 along with Joshua Rhodes and Michael Webber.
In addition to his entrepreneurial consulting pursuits, Charles is also working for a local startup, Aloviam Inc., as Director of Engineering. Aloviam is positioning itself as a renewable energy technology portfolio company that is licensing and commercializing IP produced at the University of Texas. Aloviam’s current focus is on commercializing a biocrude production technology, licensed from UT, that converts wastewater sludge into a synthetic crude oil.
Charles was born and raised in Austin, Texas and enjoys an active lifestyle, including being a dedicated bicycle commuter and competitive Cyclocross racer. He is also a lifelong garage carpenter and tinkerer, an amateur blacksmith, and an avid gardener. He is married and lives with his wife and two dogs in Austin, Texas.
His research interests span a wide range of topics, from renewable energy systems analysis, to residential smart grid and home resource management. He has worked with fellow researchers on the data collection and evaluation of electricity, water, and gas data from homes in Pecan Street Smart Grid Demonstration Project. His PhD work focused on the development of integrated energy and water systems for residential homes to reduce consumption and increase reliability, specifically an integrated thermal energy and rainwater storage (ITHERST) system to shift on-peak air conditioning electricity load off-peak using stored rainwater as the thermal storage medium. Charles, Joshua Rhodes, and Michael Webber have filed for a patent on the concept, and are pursuing prototype development and potential commercialization pathways.
His Master’s thesis focused on modeling and assessing the thermodynamic and economic potential for mid-sized Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) power generation.
- Modeling electric load and water consumption impacts from an integrated thermal energy and rainwater storage system for residential buildings in Texas
- Residential energy retrofits in a cooling climate
- Review of ‘The Preliminary Feasibility Study of Hydrogen Hubs’
- Integrated Thermal-Fluids System Modeling of an Ocean thermal Energy Conversion Power Plant for Analysis and Optimization
- The Role of Small Distributed Natural Gas Fuel Cell Technologies in the Smart Energy Grid
- Data Management for a Large-Scale Smart Grid Demonstration Project in Austin, Texas
- Modeling Peak Load Reduction and Energy Consumption Enabled by an Integrated Thermal Energy and Water Storage System for Residential Air Conditioning Systems in Austin, Texas
- Modeling a Combined Energy-Water Storage System for Residential Homes and Analyzing Water Storage Tank Size
- Estimating Water Savings from an Auxiliary Water Collection System, as Part of an Integrated Thermal Energy and Water Storage System for Residential Buildings
- Using BEopt (EnergyPlus) with Energy Audits and Surveys to Predict Actual Residential Energy Usage
- Clustering Analysis of Residential Electricity Demand Profiles
- Optimizing Rainwater, Gray Water, and AC Condensate Collection System Designs to Maximize Water and on-Peak Energy Efficiency in Residential Buildings
- A multi-objective assessment of the effect of solar PV array orientation and tilt on energy production and system economics
- Experimental and data collection methods for a large-scale smart grid deployment: Methods and first results
- Thermodynamic and Economic Feasibility Analysis of a 20 MW Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) Power Plant
- Ph.D. Mechanical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin, May 2016
- M.S. Mechanical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin, May 2012
- B.S. Mechanical Engineering (Highest Honors), The University of Texas at Austin, May 2010
- 2015 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 4th Place Overall, 3rd in Engineering (Co-Captain and Project Engineer)
- ASRHAE Grant-in-Aid Fellowship Recipient (2014-2015)
- 2013 Power Across Texas Energy Innovation Challenge Winning Team
- Thrust 2000 James and Marie McNeil Endowed Graduate Fellowship in Engineering Recipient (2010-2014)
- Cockrell School of Engineering Outstanding Scholar-Leader Award (May 2010)
- Virginia & Ernest Cockrell, Jr. Scholarship in Engineering (2006-2010)