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Chris LaFleur receives Clean Energy Education & Empowerment Award

By Michael Padilla

Friday, December 08, 2017

Chris LaFleur, program lead for Hydrogen Safety, Codes, and Standards at Sandia National Laboratories, has received a 2017 Clean Energy Education & Empowerment Award.

Chris was one of 10 recipients recognized at the sixth annual Clean Energy Education & Empowerment Women in Clean Energy Symposium in partnership with the MIT Energy Initiative and Stanford University’s Precourt Institute for Energy.

Chris is responsible for fire risk program activities at Sandia. Her main research involves evaluating fire risks for emerging energy technologies, with her recent work focused on characterizing the risks from traffic incidents involving hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in tunnels for several metropolitan areas on the East Coast. This work also includes evaluating the impacts of hydrogen jet flames on steel and concrete structural material.

Chris says she is honored to be named a recipient.

“This award and the amazing opportunity to network with many other women leading efforts in clean energy will enable more progress towards creative energy solutions that are desperately needed in our world,” she says. “This award represents the work of many talented engineers and scientists here at Sandia working in the hydrogen program. I am honored to work with all of them.”

Sandia National Laboratories researcher Chris LaFleur evaluates fire risks for emerging energy technologies.

She has led risk characterization efforts for maintenance facility modifications to allow natural gas- and hydrogen-powered vehicles to be repaired indoors. Additional studies include failure mode analysis for liquefied natural gas-fueled locomotives and other heavy fleet vehicles. These analyses enable the safe implementation of cleaner transportation fuels to reduce the nation’s reliance on fossil fuels and increase the availability of renewable energy solutions. She has represented the country in developing hydrogen codes and standards for maritime applications and has authored peer-reviewed papers on performance-based designs for hydrogen fuel stations.

Before joining Sandia, Chris worked at General Motors, where she managed corporate fire protection standards and was responsible for property insurance and enterprise risk management. She began her career as an environmental engineer for Parsons Engineering Science. She is a licensed professional engineer and serves as a principal member of the sprinkler discharge criteria committee of National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 13, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems, and NFPA 2, Hydrogen Technologies Code. She also serves on the U.S. Department of Energy Hydrogen Safety Panel.

She earned a BS in geology and mechanical engineering from the University of Rochester, an MS in fire protection engineering from the University of Maryland, and a doctorate of engineering in manufacturing engineering from the University of Michigan.

Clean Energy Education & Empowerment is an initiative under the auspices of the Clean Energy Ministerial, a forum of 25 major-economy governments, which strives to close the gender gap and increase women’s participation and leadership in clean energy fields.