News and Announcements
RU Sustainable Symposium: April 19th
Partnership, Participation, and a Sense of Place
Symposium - April 19, 2017, 8:30am - 1pm (with breakfast and registration at 8am - 8:30am) Rutgers Academic Building 15 Seminary Place, New Brunswick, NJ
Come join fellow students, faculty, and administrators brainstorm opportunities to enhance awareness and visibility of current sustainability features at Rutgers University. This event marks the second year Rutgers University has taken on the responsibility of talking about sustainability efforts within the university community. Dean Matt Matsuda will kick-off the event, followed by Lightning Talks.
The themes of RU Sustainable? embody the idea of building on a core of sustainable values, to create a culture of sustainability that permeates the Rutgers campus. Students and faculty are encouraged to come and participate in round table discussions. Who should be a partner in the sustainability quest at Rutgers? How can individuals participate? How does the very setting of Rutgers help us to realize our interconnectedness with each other and the outside world?
Short talks by sustainability leaders will provide some food for thought, and then open facilitated discussion at the tables will be captured by note-takers. A reflection on the salient points will provide a sense of the common theme or innovative ideas which come from the discussion.
All of the notes will be compiled in a compendium, which can serve as a resource for ideas for the Rutgers Sustainability initiatives.
Let the powers of partnership, participation and place combine to make Rutgers even more sustainable for the future!
Dean Matt Matsuda, Academic Dean at the Honors College, is an award-winning scholar and educator and has been a member of the Rutgers History Department since 1993. He is the author of The Memory of the Modern (1996), Empire of Love (2003), and Pacific Worlds (2012), and is the editor of a Palgrave academic series.
Bruno Sarda, Chief Sustainability Officer at NRG, is a leading practitioner in the field of corporate sustainability. As head of sustainability at NRG, one of the country’s largest energy companies, he leads the development and execution of company-wide sustainability strategy and initiatives. In addition, Sarda is a faculty member and Senior Sustainability Scholar at Arizona State University, where he teaches sustainability leadership to undergraduate, graduate and executive students. More details at www.linkedin.com/in/brunosarda/.
Jim Zullo, Executive Director - Elijah’s Promise, located in New Brunswick, NJ. Elijah’s Promise is a nationally respected anti-hunger and anti-poverty nonprofit organization that harnesses the power of food to break the cycle of poverty, alleviate hunger and change lives! The organization operates a community soup kitchen serving over 100,000 healthy meals annually, a social service program that connects those in need to housing, mental health, addiction and other support services, a state certified culinary school that equips low income adults for jobs in the food industry, a catering business that provides meals to low income children and seniors, and a community garden program that provides New Brunswick residents with the opportunity to grow their own produce. Elijah’s Promise has also operated multiple innovative micro enterprises including a “pay what you can community café” and a multi-faceted farm market that increased access to local, nutritious foods including products made by the Promise Culinary School.
Jim has a long history the City of New Brunswick including serving as the interim director of the New Brunswick Housing and Redevelopment Authority, the Director of the City's Parking Authority and as a Vice President of the New Brunswick Development Corp. Jim also served as NJ Transit’s Director of Real Estate and Economic Development and as Vice President at Timothy Haahs and Associates. He holds a Masters in City and Regional Planning for the Rutgers Bloustein School.
Joe Charrette, the Executive Director of Rutgers Dining Services, where he has spent the last twenty-eight years of his food service career. He is a graduate of Cook College, class of 1977 After gaining valuable experience in some of the finer restaurants in Washington D.C.'s Georgetown area in the late 70’s, Joe wrote the menus and wine lists for several privately owned upscale restaurants in Colorado. He later opened some casual-theme restaurants, for a Denver based professional athlete, and then spent six years with S&A Restaurant Corporation, where he opened and managed several Bennigan’s in New Mexico, Arizona and New Jersey in the 1980’s.
Frank Wong, the Executive Director of University Planning and Development at Rutgers, and has over thirty years of experience in planning higher education environments. His office is engaged in campus planning and capital project development for the New Brunswick, Newark and Camden Campuses, as well as coordinating with municipal, county, state and local agencies on the implementation of regional infrastructure projects that impact the campuses. He recently oversaw the completion and adoption of Rutgers 2030, the comprehensive long-term physical master plan for the university. Frank holds two degrees from Rutgers University, including a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Planning and Design, and a Master of Public Administration. He is both a Licensed Landscape Architect and Licensed Professional Planner in the State of New Jersey. He is a member of the Society of College and University Planning, and formerly served on its Mid-Atlantic Regional Council.
Pinky Liau, President, Students for Environmental Awareness, is a senior at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences. She is majoring in Environmental Science and is currently completing a George H. Cook Honors Thesis. She serves as the President for Students for Environmental Awareness on campus, where the club works on campaigns to bring about sustainable initiatives locally as well as hosting film festivals to educate the public on recent environmental concerns. Pinky will be graduating this May and will be attending graduate school in the Fall to pursue a PhD in Environmental Microbiology. For fun, she likes to go on hikes in the mountains and she sings!
Cara Cuite, Rutgers Extension Specialist in the Department of Human Ecology, is a health psychologist who studies community food security, risk communication and public perceptions of food-related issues, including food safety and genetically engineered foods.
Climate change policies could have big consequences in N.J.
Scientists say Trump's support for more coal burning could damage the state's air quality and increase sea levels.
Learn more from Rutgers researchers comments - Read more from The Record
Rutgers Energy Institute (REI) & RutgersX EcoIgnite Clean Energy Summer Internship
The Rutgers Energy Institute (REI) and the Rutgers X "EcoIgnite: Clean Energy Proof of Concept Center and Accelerator" Program are jointly announcing an internship position at the Rutgers EcoComplex for Summer 2017.
The student will support clean energy start-up technology development efforts at the EcoComplex including working on technology prototyping of an innovative clean energy project.
- Strong mechanical aptitude and a thorough interest and understanding of mechanical devices.
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills and the ability to work both independently and within a team.
- A "hands-on" person with a creative and resourceful approach to problem solving.
- Engineering students who will be undergraduate seniors or graduate students in AY17-18
- Proficiency using Solidworks to create 3D parts and assemblies as well as 2D drawings.
This full-time internship will run from early June through mid-August 2017. The internship will be designed such that the student will gain valuable scientific, technical and entrepreneurial experience.
Stacy Bonos Named 2016 Crop Science Society of America Fellow
Stacy Bonos (GSNB’97), associate professor in the Department of Plant Biology and REI member was elected a 2016 Crop Science Society of America (CSSA) Fellow, the highest recognition bestowed by the CSSA to its members based on their professional achievements and meritorious service.
Bonos’ research is focused on developing improved, pest resistant and stress tolerant turfgrasses, which can be utilized for resource conservation and environmental enhancement anywhere cool-season turfgrasses are grown. Specifically, she is leading research projects on breeding for disease resistance and salt tolerance.Her work to develop modern strains of turfgrass that stand up to a variety of diseases and reduce the need for chemical applications has been well received by the turf industry.
In addition, she is working to develop high yielding cultivars of switchgrass that can be utilized for biofuel production. These high biomass grasses are a potential renewable energy source that could help decrease reliance on fossil fuels and reduce the release of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. Learn more
Notice of Public Open House: Rutgers Regional Bicycle Share Program (Knight Cycle)
Notice of Public Open House: Rutgers Regional Bicycle Share Program (Knight Cycle)
Rutgers University, together with North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA), New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) and other regional partners, is implementing a regional bicycle share program through a Regional Transportation Alternatives Program (RTAP) grant. The program will be open to the public and serve the University community, New Brunswick, Highland Park, Piscataway and the New Brunswick and Edison train stations. Public Information Center meetings will be held throughout the month of March to inform the public of the program and obtain feedback. Meetings will be in an open-house format and are open to the public. Project team members will be available to answer questions. Please see attached flyer and Community Input Survey.
DATES, TIMES AND LOCATIONS:
Monday, March 13th, 12:30-2:30pm, Piscataway Public Library, 500 Hoes Lane, Piscataway
Wednesday, March 15th, 1-3pm, Highland Park Public Library, 31 N 5th Avenue, Highland Park
Monday, March 20th, 1-3pm, Middlesex County Administration Building Freeholder Room, 75 Bayard Street, New Brunswick
Tuesday, March 21st, 5-7pm, Middlesex County Administration Building Freeholder Room, 75 Bayard Street, New Brunswick
Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017 5-7pm, Rutgers University Livingston Student Center Room 202, 84 Joyce Kilmer Avenue, Piscataway
Thursday, March 23rd, 1-3pm, Rutgers University Douglass Student Center, 100 George St, New Brunswick
Wednesday, March 29th, 11:30am-1:30pm, Rutgers University College Avenue Student Center Room 411, 126 College Ave, New Brunswick
Written comments, questions and survey responses will be accepted through April 1st by mail or e-mail to:
Rutgers University Division of Institutional Planning and Operations
Attn: Leigh Ann Kimber
33 Knightsbridge Road, Fl. 3E
Piscataway, NJ 08854
Rutgers Develops Eco-Friendly Concrete
In the future, wide-ranging composite materials are expected to be stronger, lighter, cheaper and greener for our planet, thanks to an invention by Rutgers’ Richard E. Riman.
Nine years ago, Riman, a distinguished professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering in the School of Engineering, invented an energy-efficient technology that harnesses largely low-temperature, water-based reactions. As a result, he and his team can make things in water that previously were made at temperatures well above those required to thermally decompose plastics.
So far, the revolutionary technology has been used to make more than 30 different materials, including concrete that stores carbon dioxide, the prime greenhouse gas linked to climate change. Other materials include multiple families of composites that incorporate a wide range of metals, polymers and ceramics whose behavior can be processed to resemble wood, bone, seashells and even steel.
DOE Releases First Annual Report on the State of the DOE National Laboratories
The Department of Energy (DOE) released the first annual report on the state of the DOE national laboratories. The report provides a comprehensive overview of the DOE national labs and their associated science and technology programs, management approaches, and strategic planning efforts. The report was prepared in response to a recommendation from the congressionally-mandated Commission to Review the Effectiveness of the National Energy (CRENEL) that DOE should better communicate to Congress and the public the value the national labs provide to the nation. DOE plans to update this report annually.
The entire report can be found at https://energy.gov/downloads/annual-report-state-doe-national-laboratories
Robert Kopp Co-Authors Important Sea-Level Rise Report
The report, "Global and Regional Sea Level Rise Scenarios for the United States," provides regional sea-level rise scenarios and tools for coastal preparedness planning and risk management. It also reviews recent scientific literature on "worst-case" global average sea-level projects and on the potential for rapid ice melt in Greenland and Antarctica.
Quadrennial Energy Review (QER) - second installment released
On January 6, 2017, the Quadrennial Energy Review (QER) Task Force released the second installment of the Quadrennial Energy Review report titled “Transforming the Nation’s Electricity System.” The second installment (QER 1.2) finds the electricity system is a critical and essential national asset, and it is a strategic imperative to protect and enhance the value of the electricity system through modernization and transformation. QER 1.2 analyzes trends and issues confronting the Nation’s electricity sector out to 2040, examining the entire electricity system from generation to end use, and within the context of three overarching national goals: (1) enhance economic competitiveness; (2) promote environmental responsibility; and (3) provide for the Nation’s security.
The White House (2016): United States Mid-Century Strategy for Deep Decarbonization
The White House (2016): United States Mid-Century Strategy for Deep Decarbonization. Washington, D.C.
Including carbon removal/BECCS. "The Paris Agreement further invited countries to develop by 2020 “mid-century, long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies.” This document answers that call, laying out a strategy to deeply decarbonize the U.S. economy by 2050. Link to document.
Rutger Energy Institute Professors Named Fellows of American Association for the Advancement of Science
Ten Rutgers professors have been named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), an honor conferred on 381 other experts in the U.S. and abroad. The new Rutgers AAAS fellows include two Rutgers Energy Institute (REI) members - Clinton J. Andrews and G. Charles Dismukes.
The fellows were chosen by their AAAS peers for efforts to advance science applications that are deemed scientifically or socially distinguished, according to the AAAS.
The REI congratulates Clinton J. Andrews and G. Charles Dismukes on their prestigious recognition and their longstanding signficiant contributions in energy research.
Clinton J. Andrews, Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, School of Arts and Sciences Andrews, a professor and associate dean for planning and new initiatives, also directs the Rutgers Center for Green Building. His research interests include the use of technical knowledge in environmental decision-making, environmental management, energy policy and the social science aspects of industrial ecology. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, a LEED-accredited professional and a licensed professional engineer.
The association cited Andrews for “distinguished contributions to the field of planning the built environment, particularly using simulation modeling to enhance public discourse on social implications of technological change.”
G. Charles Dismukes, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, School of Arts and Sciences, and Waksman Institute of Microbiology Dismukes, a distinguished professor in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology and principal investigator at Waksman, is a member of the executive committee of the Institute for Advanced Materials and Device Nanotechnology (IAMDN) and the graduate training faculty in microbiology and biochemistry. His research focuses on biological and chemical methods for renewable solar-based fuel production, catalysis, photosynthesis, metals in biological systems and tools for investigating these systems.
The association cited Dismukes for “distinguished contributions to our understanding of natural and artificial photosynthesis, particularly catalysis of water splitting and its translation to device applications.”
Rutgers EcoComplex gets EDA 2016 Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) grant
U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $15 Million in Entrepreneurs Across the Nation to Move Ideas to Market, Promote American Innovation
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today announced 35 organizations — including nonprofits, institutions of higher education, and entrepreneurship-focused organizations — from 19 states will receive nearly $15 million to create and expand cluster-focused, proof-of-concept and commercialization programs, and early-stage seed capital funds through the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program.
The diverse group of awardees, selected from a pool of more than 215 applicants, reach urban and rural areas across the United States, including the program’s first investments in historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in the South; a women-focused, early-stage capital fund in Texas; a Native American-centered, proof-of-concept program in Oklahoma; and urban innovation hubs honing in on fashion technology (New York) and social innovation (Louisiana). Additionally, six awards are being made in EDA’s Investing in Manufacturing Community Partnership regions.
Rutgers EcoComplex was awarded an i6 Challenge Investment grant - Ecolgnite: Clean Energy Proof of Concept Center and Accelerator Program ($439,190) to support clean energy start-ups and innovators.
DOE grant awarded to Jing Li of Chemistry and Chemical Biology
Jing Li, professor, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University–New Brunswick, and Rutgers Energy Institute member, is a coinvestigator of an award totaling $1.1 million. Li is working with Yves Chabal at the University of Texas at Dallas and Timo Thonhauser at Wake Forest. The project, titled Synthesizing New Metal Organic Frameworks with Tailored Physical and Chemical Properties, is being supported by the U.S. Department of Energy. Learn more about Li here.
ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit Student Program
The ARPA-E Summit is now accepting applications to the 2017 Summit Student Program! The Student Program at the 2017 ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit is a unique opportunity for graduate students to network with organizations searching for new talent and learn about advanced energy technologies. The 100 graduate-level students selected may attend the Summit, participate in student-focused programming, and meet with corporate recruiters.
Accepted students will receive complimentary registration to the Summit. Each participant is responsible for arranging and paying for his or her own travel and hotel accommodations.
To apply, click here. Applications due by December 5, 2016.
Burning Fossil Fuels Poses Existential Threat to Earth
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.”
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."
REI Energy Contest Winners announced...
The Rutgers Energy Institute annually challenges Rutgers undergraduates to develop implementable plans for reducing energy consumption on campus. The three winning entries were awarded prizes at the 2016 REI Annual Symposium on May 4th
(Left to Right: Ian Montgomery, Ian Stewart, Timothy Lee, and Michaela Murr)
1st Place for $2,500: A Model-Based Approach to Optimizing Rutgers Transportation Efficiency
Timothy Lee and Michaela Murr
Lee Major: Chemistry
Murr Major: Mathematics Minor: Economics and Computer Science
Abstract: A model of the current bus transportation system was created and analyzed to propose a more efficient model system. This proposed model can decrease travel times between campus centers by 23.5-66.6% and increase the maximum number of students transported between campuses by 16.1% while using six fewer buses. Reallocating these projected savings to a bike-share program can encourage eco-friendly practices and offer alternative and convenient means of travel for Rutgers students. Over a ten-year period, we expect to save over $740,000 and prevent over 190,000 kilograms of greenhouse-gas emissions.
2nd Place for $1,500: Submetering Rutgers Housing and Nudging Positive Behavior
Major: Environmental Policy Institutions and Behavior
Abstract: A coalition of student and faculty members will be formed to bring awareness to energy reduction methods. Competitions with rewards between residence halls, apartments, and campuses can bring additional motivation for energy reduction to people who do not currently pay for electricity. This requires data that is currently unknown but can be solved through an installation of more extensive submetering of buildings and analysis software and will provide a fast return on investment through cost savings.
3rd Place for $1,000: Integration of Solar Thermal Energy at Rutgers University
Major: Physics Minor: Biological Sciences & Mathematics
Abstract: Installation of solar water heaters on the flat top roofs of residence halls on College Avenue and Cook-Douglass campuses represents an efficient means of lowering the university’s energy consumption from the grid and its effective carbon footprint. With an estimated total cost of $1,102,104 for hardware, permitting, inspection, and installation of these systems on nine dormitories and three laboratories at Rutgers, the systems could potential save $742,894 per year on hot water when displacing electrical water heaters or $62,160 per year when displacing natural gas. The total energy savings of the installed systems is estimated at 208,620 Therms or 6,108,000 kWh annually. This is equivalent to a reduction of approximately 1,106 metric tons of CO2 according to figures from the EPA . Furthermore, implementation of solar water heaters at Rutgers University could raise public awareness of solar thermal systems as efficient renewable energy sources both domestically and commercially.
Governments should study worst-case warming....
In this reuters.com 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