News and Announcements
Rutgers Energy Institute Energy Contest Plans Reduce Energy on Campus
Energy Institute Innovation Contest winners
L-R: REI Associate Director Kevin Lyons and 2018 contest winners Maya Robles, Emily Cheng, Stephen Petrides, Zijun Xu, Swati Modhwadia, Evan Lutz and Emily Nanneman.
Each year, the Rutgers Energy Institute (REI) challenges Rutgers undergraduates to develop innovative and implementable plans for reducing energy consumption on the New Brunswick campus through its Energy Innovation Contest, now in its eleventh year. Winners of the 2018 contest were announced during the spring semester at the Rei Annual Symposium by its associate director Kevin Lyons, an associate professor of supply chain management with the Rutgers Business School.
First place winners, who shared a $2,500 prize, were Emily Cheng (Environmental Policy, Institutions and Behavior major, minor in Economics) and Maya Robles (Environmental Policy, Institutions and Behavior major, minor in Spanish and Cultural Anthropology) for their proposal, “The Collegiate Carbon Exchange.”
Winning the second prize of $1,500 was the team, Students for Environmental & Energy Development-SEED, which comprised Evan Lutz, Emily Sukenik, Zijun Xu, Stephen Petrides and Swati Modhwadia, for its proposal, “Savings Found from Reforming Laundry Room Habits and Installing New Clothes Dryers at Rutgers_New Brunswick.”
The $1,000 third-place prize was claimed by Kyra Frank (Environmental Policy, Institutions and Behavior major, minor in Philosophy) and Emily Nanneman (Environmental Policy, Institutions and Behavior) for the proposal, “Lighting the Way to Savings with LEDs.”
The contest, which represents REI’s commitment to education and outreach, has provided students the unique opportunity to engage with their university environment and the experts around them as they research and conduct technical, economic and policy analyses to provide viable solutions to energy consumption and carbon reduction in their local environment.
According to REI associate director Rachael Shwom, an associate professor in the Department of Human Ecology, the competition has also produced high-quality submissions. “We are very proud of the quality of the proposals our students put forth. Many are creative while being analytically rigorous.”
“When you talk to the winners you can tell they’ve really learned a lot about the social, technical and economic complexities of reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions in their own university,” added Shwom
Several of the student proposals to come out of the annual Energy Innovation Contest have been implemented by the university, most notably tray-less dining and use of aerobic digesters. In addition, students have also gained internships with corporations that produce the researched technology from their REI contest proposals.
“The Energy Innovation Contest at Rutgers is a unique opportunity for students to change the future of our energy,” said top prize winner Maya Robles. “Too often people become locked-in to one way of looking at energy and work within those confines. This contest gives students a chance to contemplate what’s not working in our system and come up with their own solutions,” she added.
This year’s winning submission from Robles and Emily Cheng, focused on a cap-and-trade program among the Big 10 universities that will accelerate the process to achieve carbon neutrality. Their program, called the College Carbon Exchange (CCX), will provide the mechanism for universities to invest in clean energy and energy efficient operations and engage students to improve their energy behavior.
Swati Modhwadia, whose team placed second in the contest, underscored the value of the competition and its capacity to make a difference. “Realizing the issue is a good first step, but real change lies in what we do. This competition allows students to realize that change is within their power. Despite the daunting environmental issues, some planning, teamwork and a simple idea can go a long way.”
Her fellow team member Evan Lutz added that “the energy innovation competition is an excellent platform for students to practice creativity and practicality towards sustainability goals. It is very easy to sit back and criticize the energy infrastructure in place in our country and at an institution like Rutgers, but until a report is written and the complexities of costs and implementations are revealed and solved, those criticisms mean nothing. I am so thankful that as a student I can learn so much about myself and get a glimpse into what real-world, energy problem-solving is like.”
CEE Initiative Impact Challenge
Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE) Initiative Impact Challenge
What is the Challenge?
The CEE Initiative Impact Challenge offers graduate students in appropriate disciplines the opportunity to carry out a retrospective impact analysis on one of four CEE initiatives:
- • Residential Space Heating and Cooling
- • Residential Water Heating
- • Commercial High Efficiency Air Conditioning and Heat Pumps
- • Strategic Energy Management
The goals of the Challenge are to:
- • Quantify the energy and non-energy benefits, as appropriate, occurring when CEE members undertake a market transformation strategy
- • Learn from the evaluation methodology proposed by competitors which data are important to track and what questions to ask about impact as the initiative evolves
The results of the challenge will be used throughout CEE communications materials as appropriate: website, print, and outreach channels with appropriate attribution of the impact assessment.
EERE Building Technologies Office (BTO) post-doctoral positions
Building Technologies Office in EERE has two open positions for post-doctoral fellows, one focused on HVAC&R technology R&D and one focused on R&D for grid-interactive efficient buildings.
1. Building Technologies Office Post-Doctoral Opportunity in Grid-Interactive Efficient BuildingsBuilding Technologies Office Post-Doctoral Opportunity in Grid-Interactive Efficient Buildings - DOE-EERE-STP-BTO-2018-1203
2. Building Technologies Office Opportunity in HVAC, Water Heating and Appliances - DOE-EERE-STP-BTO-2018-1202
ARPA-E Duration Addition to Electricity Storage (DAYS) FOA
Advanced Research Projects Agency- Energy is now soliciting funding proposals for its Duration Addition to Electricity Storage (DAYS) program to improve the stationary electricity storage systems incorporated into the larger electricity grid.
- Notice of intent deadline June 15, 2018 and full application deadline July 2, 2018.
- Learn more
Department of Energy Announces $34 Million for Innovation Building Technologies Research and Development
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $34.5 million in funding to support building technology research and development (R&D). Buildings are the single largest energy-consuming sector in the U.S. economy, representing approximately 75% of the nation’s electricity use and 40% of its total energy demand, resulting in Americans spending nearly $400 billion each year to power homes, offices, schools, hospitals, and other commercial and residential buildings.
The Energy Department’s Building Technologies Office (BTO) is issuing two funding opportunities: Buildings Energy Efficiency Frontiers & Innovation Technologies (BENEFIT) 2018 and Solid-State Lighting Research. These funding announcements will further the Administration’s goal to drive U.S. technology leadership in solid-state lighting as well as develop innovative energy saving technologies, systems, tools, and models that could lead to significant reduction in building energy consumption by supporting innovative research in several topic areas.
BENEFIT 2018 will fund up to $19.5 million for approximately 15-25 cost-shared projects focused on early-stage R&D to enable the development of novel technologies that can improve efficiency, reduce the energy costs of the nation’s buildings, and facilitate interaction with the electricity grid. Read more.
George Tsilomelekis receives NSF Early Career Faculty Award
George Tsilomelekis, of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, was awarded $500,000 for research on developing more energy-efficient production of propylene, which is used in creating many materials. The research will develop novel catalysts with dual functionality for converting propane to propylene. Tsilomelekis’ uses spectroscopic techniques under real reaction conditions in seeking new paths to efficient, renewable and alternative energy sources. The award also will fund outreach for younger students through development of a freeware computer game that teaches principles of molecular symmetry and spectroscopy. A native of Greece, Tsilomelekis came to Rutgers in 2015. Read more.
REI Energy Contest Winners announced for 2018
(Left to Right: Maya Robles, Emily Cheng, Stephen Petrides, Zijun Xu, Swati Modhwadia, Evan Lutz, Emily Nanneman)
The Rutgers Energy Institute (REI) annually challenges Rutgers undergraduates to develop implementable plans for reducing energy consumption on campus.
The three winning entries were awarded prizes at the 2018 REI Annual Symposium.
1st Place for $2,500: The Collegiate Carbon Exchange
Emily Cheng and Maya Robles
Cheng Major: Environmental Policy, Institutions and Behavior Minor: Economics
Robles Major: Environmental Policy, Institutions and Behavior Minor: Spanish and Cultural Anthropology
Abstract: Our solution is a cap and trade program among the Big 10 universities that will accelerate the process to achieve carbon neutrality. The program, called the College Carbon Exchange (CCX) will provide the mechanism for universities to invest in clean energy and energy efficient operations and engage students to improve their energy behavior. CCX will incentivize universities to take strong action on an issue where cost has usually been a barrier. Schools part of the trading scheme will include the University of Illinois Urbana- Champaign, University of Iowa, Indiana University, University of Maryland, University of Michigan, Michigan State, University of Minnesota, University of Nebraska, Ohio State University, Penn State University, Purdue University, University of Wisconsin, and Rutgers University. CCX will enable these large, public universities to be climate leaders.
2nd Place for $1,500: Savings Found From Reforming Laundry Room Habits and Installing New Clothes Dryers at Rutgers New Brunswick
Evan Lutz, Emily Sukenik, Zijun Xu, Stephen Petrides, Swati Modhwadia
Students for Environmental & Energy Development (SEED)
Abstract: Students for Environmental & Energy Development (SEED) found that by modifying student habits in the laundry room, the university could save $88,500 per year and by installing all new dryers, could save $81,200 a year. Altogether, this proposal indicates $150,300 in possible savings per year if students were to modify their habits and use new dryers. If money saved from implementing new student habits went into purchasing new dryers, the university could be outfitted with new dryers after six years.
3rd Place for $1,000: Lighting the Way to Savings with LED's
Kyra Frank and Emily Nanneman
Frank Major: Environmental Policy, Institutions and Behavior and Philosophy
Nanneman Major: Environmental Policy, Institutions and Behavior
Abstract: With the majority of traditional style residence halls at Rutgers lit by inefficient fluorescent light fixtures, dorm lighting uses large amounts of energy and costs a substantial amount of money each year. To cut back on Rutgers’ energy use, we propose replacing fluorescent lighting with LEDs controlled by occupancy sensors. LED bulbs are at least 75% more efficient than fluorescent bulbs and last 25 times longer. While the initial costs of LEDs are greater, the potential savings make the switch a sound investment.
Solar-Powered Sea Slugs Shed Light on Search for Perpetual Green Energy
In an amazing achievement akin to adding solar panels to your body, a northeast sea slug sucks raw materials from algae to provide its lifetime supply of solar-powered energy, according to a study by Rutgers University–New Brunswick and other scientists.
“It’s a remarkable feat because it’s highly unusual for an animal to behave like a plant and survive solely on photosynthesis,” said Debashish Bhattacharya, senior author of the study and distinguished professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology at Rutgers–New Brunswick. “The broader implication is in the field of artificial photosynthesis. That is, if we can figure out how the slug maintains stolen, isolated plastids to fix carbon without the plant nucleus, then maybe we can also harness isolated plastids for eternity as green machines to create bioproducts or energy. The existing paradigm is that to make green energy, we need the plant or alga to run the photosynthetic organelle, but the slug shows us that this does not have to be the case.” Read more
NASA iTech Challenge - Seeks Energy Ideas to Improve Life on Earth, Enhance Space Exploration
ARPA-E has joined NASA to launch a new NASA iTech challenge, a competition inviting the nation’s top entrepreneurs and researchers to showcase their ideas for transformative energy concepts.
The challenge seeks to identify innovative technologies that can improve energy generation, storage and distribution to the benefit of both space exploration and life on Earth. ARPA-E will support the competition and judging process by providing subject matter expertise across a wide variety of energy technologies.
Inventors and entrepreneurs can submit a five-page white paper on their concept on the NASA iTech websitethrough April 29, 2018. A panel of subject matter experts from NASA and ARPA-E will review ideas submitted and select the top 10 finalists based on their relevance and potential impact.
The top 10 finalists will be invited to present their ideas to NASA and ARPA-E technologists, other energy and space experts and potential investors at the 2018 NASA iTech Cycle II Forum this June in New York City.
A few examples of technology sub-themes that NASA believes have the potential to improve future space power systems include, but are not limited to:
FUEL CELLS AND REGENERATIVE FUEL CELLS
HIGH-ENERGY DENSITY BATTERIES AND SUPERCAPACITORS
SOLAR POWER SYSTEMS
SMALL FISSION POWER SYSTEMS
INNOVATIVE POWER MANAGEMENT AND DISTRIBUTION (INCLUDING SMART GRIDS AND WIRELESS POWER TRANSFER)
Women in Energy Internship Funding Application for female graduate students
The Center on Global Energy Policy
Women in Energy
Internship Funding Application
Stipends are awarded to outstanding female students who have secured summer internship positions with companies or organizations in energy related sectors. Opportunity is open to non-Columbia female graduate students.
Visit the REI on Rutgers Day - April 28th
Explore. Learn. Play. Get ready to celebrate Rutgers Day on April 28, 2018. All are welcome and admission is free!
The Rutgers Energy Institute (REI) will be on the New Brunswick Busch Campus.
Come visit us and learn more about what Rutgers is doing to advance Energy Solutions.
Learn about Rutgers expertise in science, engineering, economics, and policy for energy solutions. Meet our amazing students and play Energy Jeopardy for prizes.
The Rutgers Energy Institute will be in the Engineering Area , 15, BEA - 131.
Rutgers "The Bioeconomy: Technological and Policy Path Forward" workshop produces USDA Factsheets
The Rutgers workshop “The Bioeconomy: Technological and Policy Path Forward” provided a context for a broad discussion regarding the development of the bio-economy. The workshop examined the interrelationship of biomass to energy production and biomass-based chemicals. It advance knowledge about policy effectiveness and identified gaps that we need to overcome so to achieve a viable and sustainable multi-function bio-economy.
Key conclusions and insights derived in the workshop “The Bioeconomy: Technological and Policy Path Forward” are summarized in the following USDA Office of the Chief Economist six factsheets:
FACTSHEET: Alternative Aviation Fuel: Preethy Thangaraj, Gal Hochman
FACTSHEET: Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage: P. Thangaraj, S. Okoye , B. Gordon, D. Zilberman, G. Hochman
FACTSHEET: Biofuels: Preethy Thangaraj, David Zilberman, Gal Hochman
FACTSHEET: Bioproducts: P. Thangaraj, B. Gordon, D. Zilberman, Dustin Wang, G. Hochman
FACTSHEET: Duckweed as Biomass: Preethy Thangaraj, Eric Lam, Gal Hochman
FACTSHEET: Manipulation to Improve Sustainability of Biomass Production: Preethy Thangaraj, Robin Brumfield, Gal Hochman
The authors thank NIFA award # 2016-670023-24751, the USDA Office of Energy Policy and New Uses by cooperative agreement #58-0111-15-007, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics, and the Rutgers Energy Institute for financial support.
Hult Prize at Rutgers - Great News!
Rutgers University has set a new record by having 2 teams from one university as titleholders of the Hult Prize Regionals Competition. Today, the Hult Prize is the world’s biggest engine for the launch of for-good, for-profit startups emerging from universities with over 2,500 staff and volunteers around the world. In nearly a decade, the movement has deployed more than $50M of capital into the sector and mobilized more than one million young people to rethink the future of business as it continues to breed disruptive innovation on college and university campuses across 100 plus countries. The Hult Prize Foundation been called the “Nobel Prize for Students” and has been featured in a TIME Magazine Cover Story highlighting the “Top 5 Ideas Changing the World.” This year’s challenge focuses on harnessing the power of energy to transform the lives of 10 million people by 2025. ( www.hultprize.org )
Hult Prize at Rutgers held a pitch competition in December 2017 and the first-place winner, Sulis, continued to the Boston Regional competition in March 2018. There, Sulis competed against 45 universities from around the world and won first place, beating teams from Yale University, Brown University, Harvard University, University of Michigan, New York University, Duke University, the University of Pennsylvania, and others. LivingWaters applied through the online application of the competition and made it to the Shanghai regional finals, there beating out over 50 of the top Asian universities to advance to the summer accelerator. Read more...
Women in Energy & Environmental Leadership - March 22
Women in Energy & Environmental Leadership
An event to foster leadership and careers of women in the industry
Join for a FREE breakfast at GLOBALCON presenting case studies of successful women businesses owners and national program leaders as they discuss the unique barriers, opportunities and challenges they encounter in their work. The meeting is presented by the Council on Women in Energy and Environmental Leadership (CWEEL). CWEEL seeks to develop a prominent voice for women in the industry, and to contribute to the advancement of women in leadership positions throughout the industry.
Learn more about CWEEL -https://cweel.wordpress.com/
April 4th Women in Energy: Networking and Mentoring Night (with reception)
Join the Rutgers Energy Institute for a Women in Energy (WIE) networking and mentoring event. Dean Jacquelyn Litt, of Douglass Residential College and Douglass Campus, will discuss initiatives and programs at Douglass College and how YOU can participate.
Education and Career Paths in Energy
The focus is on female leadership in the energy and STEM sector, with participants sharing their experiences, career paths, and advise. Attendees will be provided the opportunity to network and/or mentor with faculty, alumni, government and corporate leaders, post-doctoral fellows, graduate and undergraduate students, both during the speed networking and reception portion of the evening.
Rutgers University Busch Student Center - The Cove, 604 Bartholomew Road Piscataway, NJ 08854
Wednesday, April 4, 2018 6:00pm to 8:00pm ET
Event is Free but
Registration will be required - Click Here
Parking: Visitors may park in Lots 51, 59, 60B & 67 without permits. Special event parking is only for visitors to the University and does not include free metered parking. Faculty, Staff, and Students must park only in lots they are authorized to park in.
Jacquelyn Litt is Dean of Douglass Residential College and the Douglass Campus, and is Professor of Sociology and Women’s and Gender Studies at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. She has expertise in women in STEM, was a P.I. and consultant for the ADVANCE program to advance women in STEM at the National Science Foundation and a grant reviewer for innovative STEM pedagogy projects at the Association of American Colleges and Universities. Litt received the “Leaders in Faculty Diversity” in 2016 from The Committee to Advance Our Common Purpose at Rutgers University in recognition of her outstanding leadership in building new opportunities for students at Douglass to share diverse perspectives in a safe and inclusive environment. Litt was honored in 2016 with a Joint Legislative Resolution from the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey, honoring her leadership of Douglass Residential College and her research on women’s issues that have made a positive impact on the lives of women and children.
M. Silvina Tomassone: Tomassone is an Associate Professor in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering who is recently working on catalysis at the nexus of food energy and water, nanoscience, nanotechnology, energy storage,and grapheme oxide anodes for lithium ion batteries. Tomassone is the recipient of several teaching awards including Professor of the Year Award in Engineering (2016) and Teaching Excellence Awards in 2006, 2010, 2011 and 2013.
About the Women in Energy Program: The Rutgers Energy Institute (REI) is sponsoring a new multidisciplinary networking group called Women in Energy (WIE). WIE is aimed at increasing the presence of women in the energy sector, and over the mid to long term, the presence of women in senior and management roles across the energy space - energy and environmental research and policy. The WIE seeks to empower women to realize their full potential, building a thriving community of professional women - we hope you can join us at our events.
REI Food, Energy & Water Grant Workshop - March 2
FOOD, ENERGY & WATER GRANT WORKSHOP
Douglass Student Center, Douglass Lounge *
* note recent change in location (event no longer at CSC)
Interested in participating in an interdisciplinary research proposal team on innovations in food, energy and water? Have relevant work you’d like to build on or extend? Please join us!
The National Science Foundation has indicated it will likely release a RFP for Innovation in Food Energy and Water Systems (INFEWS) in the spring of 2018. Sponsored by the Rutgers Energy Institute (REI), this workshop is meant to help Rutgers researchers network and form interdisciplinary teams around FEWs research questions of interest.
10:45-10:55am Introduction to FEWS and past RFP Requirements (Rachael Shwom, Associate Director REI)
10:55-11:50am 3-5 minute introductions by workshop participants on their FEWs related research and questions of interest.
Identification of overlapping interests.
11:50am-12:30pm Roundtable lunch to sit with researchers with similar interests in research questions
Paul Falkowski Awarded Prestigious Tyler Prize for Environmental Sciences
The 2018 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement – often described as the ‘Nobel Prize for the Environment’ – has been awarded to Paul Falkowski and James J. McCarthy, for their decades of leadership in understanding – and communicating – the impacts of climate change. Paul Falkowski is a Rutgers distinguished professor in the departments of Earth and Planetary Sciences and Marine and Coastal Sciences as well as director of the Rutgers Energy Institute. James J. McCarthy is from the Department of Biological Oceanography at Harvard University.
REI Student Travel Awards
REI Student Travel Awards
The Rutgers Energy Institute (REI) Travel Award, offered annually, has been developed with the goal of enhancing the scholarship and success of our students and to provide richer and broader exposure to the topics and challenges in energy. Travel awards, open to both undergraduate and graduate students, are given in recognition of good scholarship for those seeking to enter the clean energy /environmental field. Students in any discipline related to energy are eligible including physical sciences, engineering, economics, social sciences, and policy.
- To offset the cost of travel and meeting attendance, travel awards are awarded to eligible students in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (SEBS), School of Arts & Sciences (SAS), School of Engineering (SOE), Bloustein School of Planning & Public Policy (BSPPP), and Rutgers Business School (RBS).
- Open to Undergraduate and Graduate Students.
- Applications may be submitted once in the spring and once in the fall semester. However, a student may only receive one award in any 12-month period.
- Eligible expenses include meeting registration, lodging, meals, and transportation.
The funds are primarily intended for the following activities:
- Presentation of papers at scientific meetings.
In order to be eligible for scientific meeting funding, a formal abstract acknowledging Rutgers Energy Institute as a research funder must be submitted and accepted by the conference organizers. The research must be part of the approved dissertation proposal or capstone/research project. Graduate and undergraduate applicants are required to present a poster or paper at a meeting. Projects involving multiple faculty advisors, with expertise spanning both scientific/engineering and societal/policy aspects, will be encouraged.
- Research related activities such as spending a brief period in another lab to learn a new technique or a research internship.
- Career and training activities such as an internship to learn career skills.
- A cover sheet listing your full name, email address, current and undergraduate institutions, academic discipline(s), faculty advisor(s), the name of the meeting/research or career related activity, start and end dates and location must be submitted.
- A current CV for graduate students, optional for undergraduates
- An essay describing your interest in the field of energy and how the proposed activities are critical to your education (500 words maximum)
- A letter of support from your faculty advisor
- An itemized budget
- Identification of any prior REI travel support
- Corresponding proof of acceptance by organization or host. Submitted abstract must be included.
Please consider making a donation to the REI Student Support Fund by clicking here to help our students improve their communication skills and develop scholarly collaborations to enhance their education.
Students are eligible for one travel grant per academic year, based on the availability of funding.
For travel and related expenses that will occur between January 1 and June 30, applications are due by November 1.
For travel and related expenses that will occur between July 1 and December 31, applications are due by May 1.
By submitting an application, the student acknowledges that if awarded, upon completion of the supported travel, the student will submit a brief report to REI. The report is to include a description of the experience/activities, photographs, and the benefits to the student's scholarship.
Alan Robock on What Happens If We Start Solar Geo-Engineering
Rutgers researchers co-author first study on biological impacts of abruptly ending efforts to cool Earth’s climate.
Volcanoes, nuclear war, and solar geo-engineering.
With a research portfolio that includes all three, Alan Robock is used to thinking about sudden, catastrophic change. A professor of environmental science at Rutgers University, Robock studies the movement of small particles and liquids through Earth’s atmosphere. In that role, he researches some very large and particle-producing events: the sudden extrusion of many tons of sulfur from an erupting volcano, or the global convection of smoke and ash from the firestorms that would follow a nuclear war. Read more of The Atlantic article...
Grant Announcement - NSF awards George Tsilomelekis of Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering
Georgios Tsilomelekis- assistant professor, Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, School of Engineering, is the principal investigator of an award totaling $292,193. The project, titled Elucidating Solvent Effects in Biomass Conversion Reactions by Means of Operando Spectroscopy, is being supported by the National Science Foundation. Learn more about Tsilomelekis here.