News and Announcements

LaunchR - DOE Supported Clean Energy Startup Accelerator

DOE Supported Clean Energy Startup Accelerator

Who we are                                  

LaunchR is the Rutgers student-driven clean energy startup accelerator funded by the United States Department of Energy. We focus on connecting young, budding innovators in the green technology space with access to strategic networks, capital, and essential resources. In doing so, we seek to cultivate growth, accelerate progress, and help these innovations launch into the business world.

At the end of the program, expert judges will reward the most promising company in the program with a $50,000 prize.


Students/Startups that we are Looking For                                               

Acceptable technology areas include:


Building technologies, advanced manufacturing, vehicle technologies, federal energy management, weatherization and intergovernmental technologies, biomass technologies, geothermal technologies, fuel cells technologies, solar energy technologies, wind and hydropower technologies, and anything else clean and green!                                      

The Competition                                         

The U.S. Department of Energy Cleantech University Prize aims to inspire the next generation of clean energy entrepreneurs and innovators by providing them with competitive funding for business development and commercialization training and other educational opportunities. We are one of 8 regions that have parallel contests offering $50K prizes. The top 3 teams in each region compete at the national level for $100K more. 2016 winning teams can be found here:

The Next Round                                 

We will be accepting team applications starting in December 2016.  Applications open until Friday, March 17th, 2017.


Rutgers Bio-Economy Workshop - 30Sept to 1Oct

  • The Bio-Economy: Technology and Policy Path Forward

September 30, 2016: 8:30 AM - 6:30 PM   October 1, 2016: 8:30 AM - 4:20 PM     Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ

This two-day workshop will provide an opportunity to engage in broad discussion about the development of the bio-economy. The aim is to continue progressing the United States towards efficient use of renewable aquatic and terrestrial biomass resources. The purpose of these efforts are to produce and manufacture renewable bioenergy, and plant-based intermediate and final products to fully realize the economic growth potential, environmental value, and national security benefits of the bio-economy.

Speakers will share their insights about the state of the chemical, engineering, and economic sciences; manufacturing processes; federal initiatives; and global bio-economic factors. Presentations will inform cultivation of new ideas about energy and 'green' chemistry policy. Industry, academic, and policy experts will have the opportunity to examine if there is a cohesive 'bio-economy' by evaluating the interrelationship of bioenergy and bioproducts. This workshop will advance knowledge about policy effectiveness and identify information and knowledge gaps that if filled could contribute to a robust bio-economy.

BIG Pitch Competition 2016

Call for Solutions from Collegiate Innovators is now open for 2016!

Seeking Undergraduate & Graduate Innovations That Improve Economies, Health, and the Environment, fitting under the Theme of Sustainability.

 **Award: $10,000 cash** 

Final Registration Deadline: September 30, 2016, 11:59pm GMT, $50 registration fee.

Finalists will be notified October 10, 2016.

More information click here



Dismukes' lab is awarded jointly-funded NSF project focused on fluxomics and metabolic modeling in cyanobacteria for biofuels

Cyanobacteria, sometimes called blue-green algae, can harness solar energy to convert carbon dioxide into biofuels and bioproducts. Thus they provide a potential for sustainable production of fuels, materials, and other chemicals. Realizing this potential in a cost-effective manner will require a deep understanding of the metabolism (chemical reactions) of cyanobacteria and this Dismukes lab project will apply the latest computational and experimental techniques to study cyanobacterial metabolism.


REI Annually Challenges Rutgers Undergraduates to Develop Energy Reduction Plans with Energy Innovation Contest

The Rutgers Energy Institute (REI) annually challenges Rutgers undergraduates to develop implementable plans for reducing energy consumption on campus. The three winning Energy Innovation Contest entries were awarded prizes at the 2016 REI Annual Symposium on May 4th  . First place winners, who received a $2,500 prize, were Timothy Lee (Chemistry major) and Michaela Murr (Mathematics major, minor in Economics and Computer Science) for “A Model-Based Approach to Optimizing Rutgers Transportation Efficiency.” Second place winner of $1,500 was Ian Montgomery (Environmental, Policy, Institutions and Behavior major) for “Submetering Rutgers Housing and Nudging Positive Behavior.” Third place winner of the $1,000 prize was Ian Stewart (Physics major, minor in Biological Sciences & Mathematics) for “Integration of Solar Thermal Energy at Rutgers University.”


REI Associate Director, Kevin Lyons, from Rutgers Business School Department of Supply Chain Management presented this year’s awards and commented on the REI’s longstanding commitment to education and outreach, “… in my opinion the contest is the best of any higher education institution in the nation. It’s even more gratifying to know that Rutgers can utilize the winning student proposals to cut down on energy costs, reduce our carbon footprint and redirect our saved funds to other key areas at the university. Working with our undergraduate students has proven to be a great example of the passion and quality of our students as they find innovative ways to make Rutgers more efficient, and each year I congratulate our student participants, faculty and staff advisors who had a role in this highly successful REI program.” 


Student contest winners (L-R):   Ian Montgomery, Ian Stewart, Timothy Lee, and Michaela Murr

2016 third prize winner Ian Stewart said,” … I have seen many innovative and technically feasible ideas proposed for the contest, including geothermal energy, rooftop gardens, and piezoelectric technology. One such proposal, tray-less dining halls, was actually implemented in the New Brunswick campuses during my time at Rutgers. In many ways, the research and resourceful thinking necessary for creating a proposal provides an invaluable educational experience into the deployment of renewable technologies and the proper planning and budgeting inherent in green initiatives. This type of innovative thinking and strategizing is invaluable in finding ways to cut CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions in an ever-warming world.”


Top prize 2016 winner Michaela Murr commented, “As a student, I really appreciate the opportunity to contribute ideas to improving Rutgers. I think in higher education in general, students tend to be viewed as bystanders to innovation and research, which can lead to significant amounts of untapped potential...Before Timmy Lee and I knew about REI Energy Contest, we would hypothesize about ways to improve our community, but we never thought that there would be an opportunity for our ideas to be seriously considered by the university. This contest allowed our voice to be heard, and we look forward to taking our ideas further. “


Fellow teammate and 2016 first prize winner Timmy Lee said, “Once I created the models, I was able to manipulate distribution and routes of buses however I wanted, and it turns out that my idea was much better than I had originally thought. When I found out about the REI Energy Contest, I was delighted that there was a way to get my voice heard.”


“As an environmental policy major, I hope to initiate solid actions on improving and restoring our natural world through awareness and behavioral changes. This contest has opened many doors for me to enact my plans and meet other like-minded individuals and corporations. It will significantly help improve my chances of making a difference in the world” said Ian Montgomery, 2016 second place winner.

Student contest winners (L-R):   Ian Montgomery, Ian Stewart, Timothy Lee, and Michaela Murr

REI researchers discuss "climate tipping points": What do they mean for society?

Scientists at Rutgers University and Harvard University tackle the terminology and outline a strategy for investigating the consequences of climate tipping points in a study published online in the journal Earth’s Future.

“I hear from a lot of people in the general public who wonder whether we’ve passed a tipping point with respect to the climate, but frequently they don’t know precisely what the term means,” said Robert E. Kopp, the study’s lead author and an associate professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Rutgers. “And that’s on the scientific community. Oftentimes, we use the term in a way that doesn’t quite jive with popular understanding.”

Solid Waste Management Plan from the New Jersey DEP update

"A recent study by Rutgers University’s New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station suggests that more than four million tons of New Jersey biomass could be used “to make electricity or propel transportation” in the State each year.  Approximately 72% of this biomass is produced by the state’s population in the form of MSW."

Read more at Biofuels Digest and Yahoo Finance


Governments should study worst-case warming....

In this article, speakers at the Rutgers Energy and Climate: One Day Two Great Events Symposium held on May 4, 2016, an REI and RCI sponsored event, are interviewed about limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees C.

Reuters article by Sebastien Malo, May 4th, 2016.  Read more

Ann Marie Carlton Awarded for Scholarly Excellence

Ann Marie Grover Carlton, Asssociate Professor, Environmental Sciences, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, New Brunswick, and Rutgers Energy Institute (REI) member was selected to received a 2015-16 Board of Trustees Award for Excellence in Research. Read more about her research

President Obama Addresses Class of 2016

The first sitting president to speak at a Rutgers commencement told students and their families that the world is more interconnected than ever before and needs to work globally to solve problems, not just to build walls. President Barack Obama told the Rutgers University Class of 2016 that ignorance is not a virtue and urged graduates to have faith in democracy. 'It's Your Turn Now to Shape Your Nation's Destiny'

"This is a place where you 3D-print prosthetic hands for children, and devise rooftop wind arrays that can power entire office buildings with clean, renewable energy.  Every day, tens of thousands of students come here, to this intellectual melting pot, where ideas and cultures flow together among what might just be America’s most diverse student body..."  

"America converges here.  And in so many ways, the history of Rutgers mirrors the evolution of America -- the course by which we became bigger, stronger, and richer and more dynamic, and a more inclusive nation."

Read more


Wind Energy Class project takes top prize in Rutgers University's first LaunchR pitch competition

Three Rutgers students with ambitions of building a company around a new device for harvesting wind power won the top prize of $50,000 in a U.S. Department of Energy-sponsored business pitch competition.

The students – David Talarico, Ryan Annibali and Antoni Milewski – will now advance to a national competition in Colorado. 

The winning technology is something Talarico, a doctoral mechanical engineering student, has been working on for six years. He originally came up with the idea for his senior project when he was an undergraduate.

Read more.

RU Sustainable Symposium: March 31, 2016

Join us for  Rutgers University's inaugural RU Sustainable Symposium March 31, 2016 at Livingston Student Center!

Come learn about sustainability efforts at Rutgers. Keynote by Leith Sharp, Director of Executive Education for Sustainability Leadership, Harvard Center for Health and the Global Environment. Posters, student organization tabling and virtual tours during lunch.  Open to Rutgers students, faculty, and staff.  March 21st 5 pm deadline for students, faculty, staff to submit poster abstracts and student organizations to register for the tabling session.  To attend in person, register by 5 pm March 25th. Livestream will be available.  Sponsored by Rutgers University Sustainability Committee.  Complete details:

REI Associate Director Bob Kopp in the News

Bob Kopp, Associate Professor in the Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences and  Associate Director of the Rutgers Energy Institute, was featured in the following articles from Feb. 22, 2016:  "Seas Are Rising at Fastest Rate in Last 28 Centuries"

Catalysis Society of Metropolitan New York Annual Symposium at Rutgers - March 23

The Catalysis Society of Metropolitan NY is pleased to announce its annual Spring Symposium being held on Wednesday, March 23, at Rutgers, New Brunswick. Details for the symposium, including the speaker list, can be found at

Through the generous sponsorship of this event by the Rutgers Sustainability Committee, all Rutgers-affiliated attendees (faculty, students, post-docs) who register before March 16 will have their registration fees waived. Please select $0 option at registration. After March 16, regular registration fees apply.

CATALYSIS SOCIETY of Metropolitan New York


Rutgers Food Waste-to-Low Carbon Energy Conference - April 27 - 28

April 27-28, 2016

Food waste is the largest portion of our waste stream,  making up 21% of the material that is discarded. However, only 5% of the food  waste generated is recycled.  Converting source separated food waste into  clean energy, fertilizer, and organic soil amendments can reduce odor and  methane emissions from landfills and can help generate low carbon electricity  to displace water intense fossil energy-based electricity. These  technologies are available, and widely used, in other countries to turn this  solid waste problem into environmentally and economically sustainable projects.

This conference  will share lessons learned from successful food waste-to-energy projects and  address the challenges in establishing this industry in New Jersey. Topics will  include feedstock quality and availability, conversion technologies, siting  options, regulations and policies and generated power and others end product  sales.  The goals of the conference will be to inform participants about  current state-of-the-art anaerobic digestion (AD) technologies and to identify  the steps needed to overcome the barriers to development of a food  waste-to-energy industry in NJ.

Call for Posters: Food Waste-to-Low Carbon Energy Conference

Food Waste-to-Low Carbon Energy Conference

April 27&28, 2016


Students must submit abstracts by Friday,March18,2016- For Free Registration

SuggestedTopics:  Prizes for the Top Three Posters!


  •     NovelAnaerbicDigestionTechnolgy
  •     PretreatmentTechnolgyfrAnaerbicDigestion
  •     FodWasteReductionResearch
  •     FodWaste&OrganicWasteAssessments
  •     BiogasCleanupTechnlogies
  •     OtherNovelOrganicWasteConversinTechnolgies   
  •      BiogasUtilizationfrPwerandTransportationFuels
  •     LifeCycleAnalysisofFd& OrganicWasteManagementSystems
  •     FeasibilityStudiesfrFod&OrganicWasteManagementSystems
  •     FodWasteConnectionstotheFod-Energy-WaterNexus
  •     Digestate(liquidorslid)Utilization

Prof. Dismukes is the Principal Investigator of an award from The Global Climate and Energy Project

Prof. Charles G. Dismukes is the Principal Investigator of an award from The Global Climate and Energy Project, totaling $1,220,127. The three-year Project titled:  Robust Microalgal Production Strains for High Yield Growth on Fossil Flue Gas: Toward Cost Effective Biofuels and CO2 Mitigation. This project aims to develop microalgal strains for high carbon dioxide (CO2) and high temperature tolerances, along with increased lipid yields, through random and targeted mutagenesis. A major collaborator on this project comes from Co-PI Dr. Jun Cheng at Zhejiang University, China, where the engineered strains will be evaluated for mass production. The Rutgers’ project benefits from a collaboration with Prof. Christoph Benning at Michigan State University, who is developing genetic engineering strategies for Nannochloropsis oceanica.

2016 Clean Energy Education & Empowerment C3E Poster Competition

Applications are now being accepted for the 2016 C3E Poster Competition!

Female undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral scholars conducting research in clean energy are invited to apply! Entrants with the most compelling posters will be invited to attend the 2016 C3E Symposium on May 31st at Stanford University to showcase their work. 

The C3E Poster Competition is now in its fifth year and is building on prior competitions hosted by MIT. The Competition helps C3E spread its reach to all age groups and involve early- and pre-career women in the annual Symposium. The Competition also helps expose Symposium attendees to cutting-edge research in a variety of clean energy fields.The topic of the poster must relate to clean energy, but can be in any of the following areas:

  • Basic Energy Science
  • Built Environment and Infrastructure
  • Climate and Environment
  • Developing World
  • Energy Education
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Fossil Energy
  • Nuclear Energy
  • Policy and Economics
  • Power Distribution and Energy Storage
  • Renewable Energy
  • Transportation

Applications and posters are due February 22nd at You do not need to be U.S. resident to apply. Learn more about eligibility and requirements here.

Rutgers University selected as one of 8 Institutions in the Nation to host DOE annual Cleantech Collegiate Competitions

Rutgers was chosen by the U.S. Department of Energy to be 1 of 8 regional schools hosting CleanTech student innovation contests this spring and will be awarding one winning team in our region with a $50,000 prize. Rutgers Business School students from the Rutgers University Venture Capital Club (RUVC) were members of a Rutgers team that entered a Department of Energy collegiate competition to fund clean energy startups on college campuses. 

Their proposal was titled: Mid-Atlantic Regional CleanTech University Prize (MARC-UP).  Read the project summary and list of team members below.

Professors from engineering, science, and RBS are acting as mentors.  The student leaders of RUVC are Aaron Weber and Doron Scheffer. 

Rutgers University Project Team:  Dunbar P. Birnie, III, Ph.D., REI Member – Material Science and Engineering Margaret;  Brennan-Tonetta, Ph.D. – Office of Economic Development, REI Member;  Serpil Guran, Ph.D. – Rutgers EcoComplex, REI Member; Lou Cooperhouse – Rutgers Food Innovation Center;  Kevin Lyons, Ph.D. – Rutgers Business School, Associate Director REI;  Ted Baker, Ph.D. – Rutgers Business School;  Rutgers Entrepreneurial Society;  Rutgers Venture Capital Club;  Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.

LaunchR is the Rutgers student-run clean technology startup accelerator funded by the Department of Energy. They are focused on connecting young, budding innovators in the green technology space through mentorship and workshops. At the end of the program, expert judges will reward the most promising company in the program with a $50,000 prize.

Falkowski Named to BOEM Committee on Ocean Energy Management

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced that the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine have selected 14 distinguished experts, including Paul G. Falkowski (Rutgers Energy Institute Director and Distinguished Professor in Marine & Coastal Sciences, Earth & Planetary Sciences, Rutgers University)  to serve on the new standing committee on environmental science and assessment for offshore energy and mineral resources. The committee will provide independent information on issues relevant to BOEM’s environmental studies and assessment activities and support discussions on relevant issues.

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