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REI Energy Contest Winners announced for 2017...

2017 Energy Contest

 

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 2017 REI Annual Symposium on May 3rd

(Left to Right: Timothy Lee, Tara Viray, Syed Hyder, Mackenzie George)

 

1st Place for $2,500:  Power Stripping and Reducing Rutgers’ Energy Consumption

Syed Hyder and Tara Viray

Hyder  Major:  Mechanical Engineering  Minor:  Economics

Viray Major: Public Health  Minor:  Biochemistry

Abstract:  Our team plans to implement smart power strips into all the on-campus residence halls before the start of the upcoming 2017-2018 academic year. These smart power strips prevent standby power consumption - which is the electricity a device consumes when it is “off”, but still plugged in. At approximately $10 per power strip, they can save around 5,000,000 kilowatt-hours and $540,000 per year. These power strips will change how the average student consumes electricity, and is a simple yet efficient way to save energy, money, and the environment.

 

2nd Place for $1,500: Trash to Cash

Mackenzie George

Major: Environmental Policy Institutions and Behavior

Abstract: The proposal is a game that would incentivize recycling in on-campus dorms and apartments. The proposed game involves the use of an app on students’ phones that would keep track of the amount they recycle, and would compare their stats to other students in their same building. At the end of every two-week period, top leaders would receive a monetary prize, and the game would reset at the beginning of the next two-week period. The goal of the game is to increase the amount recycled per student at the university, which would increase energy savings as a result. When recyclables are used to create products, the amount of energy necessary is significantly less as compared to using raw resources. Other benefits of the implementation of this game include an improved public image in terms of Rutgers’ environmental awareness as well as decreased pollution and green house gas emissions. Overall, the game helps work towards Rutgers’ goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2030 in a way that makes recycling more fun and appealing to students living on-campus.

 

3rd Place for $1,000:

Timothy Lee

Major: Chemistry

Abstract:  Using a systematic approach to modeling the current bus transportation system, a streamlined and more efficient bus transportation network is proposed to decrease the size of the Rutgers transportation fleet from ~50 biodiesel buses to ~40 electric buses. The environmental and financial impact of the transition from biodiesel buses to electric buses is also analyzed and presented in this proposal. Over a 12-year period, switching from the current biodiesel fleet to an all-electric bus fleet can prevent 23,640 metric tons of CO2 gas emissions and save $12.4 million.

 

REI Energy Contest Winners announced...

Contest winners (L -R): Ian Montgomery, Ian Stewart, Timothy Lee, Michaela Jurr

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

Ian Montgomery

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

Ian Stewart

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 [12]. 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. 

 Sym all small

  

The Deadly Combination of Heat and Humidity

Read NY Times article by ROBERT KOPP, JONATHAN BUZAN and MATTHEW HUBER

JUNE 6, 2015. Read more.

After Pope Issues Call to Combat Climate Change, Rutgers Scientists Explain Why it Matters

Robert Kopp, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and associate director of the Rutgers Energy Institute, a lead author of “Economic Risks of Climate Change: An American Prospectus" (forthcoming this summer from Columbia University Press). This report provided the technical analysis underlying the Risky Business Project organized by former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, and philanthropist Tom Steyer.

We often think about climate change as an economic issue, and it is. But as the pope's encyclical highlights, climate change is also a profoundly ethical challenge. In part, it's a matter of equity. The benefits of fossil fuels have accrued primarily to the world's rich, while the risks have fallen disproportionately on the poor. Moreover, burning fossil fuels imposes an increasing "climate debt" on future generations, who have no direct voice today – an imposition that we shakily justify by assuming that our descendants will be better able to clean up our mess than we are able to avoid making it.

Many of the challenges of dealing with climate change arise from the "short-termism" that dominates our economic and political systems. By contrast, the 2,000-year-old Catholic Church has a longer term view. With its focus on both social justice and the long term, as well as a network of followers that spans all the countries of the world, the Church brings an important perspective to tackling climate change.

 

Read more.

Bill Nye to Rutgers Grads: Become the Next Great Generation

Dr. Bill Nye accepted an honorary doctorate degree during Rutgers University 2015 Commencement at High Point Solutions Stadium on May 17, 2015 in Piscataway, New Jersey.  Dr. Nye gave this commencement speech, highlighting our role to create solutions and be the Next Great Generation.  Of critical importance is the role of energy.

"Right now, it’s still too easy for any of us to dump our carbon waste in the world’s atmosphere. We are going to need thoughtful, reasonable, fair, and tough regulations. We’re going to find a means to enable poor people to advance in their societies in countries around the world. Otherwise, the imbalance of wealth will lead to conflict and inefficiency in energy production, which will lead to more carbon pollution and a no-way-out overheated globe."

"When you all were born, the Earth’s atmosphere comprised about 0.035% carbon dioxide. That number is often reckoned as 350 parts per million. Well today, as you’re being graduated, the world has over 400 parts per million. By the end of the year, we may reach 40! It’s not just the number… the rate of increase of people and pollution that’s killing us."

"In general, all this means we need to provide two things: Electricity and clean water to everyone on Earth. Sooner or later, we are going to have to come up with some amazing new ideas to create or develop more resources to accommodate more people. I want you to solve our legal problems as well as our technical challenges and, dare I say it — Change the World."

Dr. Nye ended with "So Class of 2015, here’s wishing you the joy of discovery. Keep reaching. Keep seeking. Keep using your abilities to bring out the best in those around you, and let them bring out the best in you. Become the Next Great Generation! You can and you will — dare I say it, Change the World!"

White House Releases Quadrennial Energy Review

The Administration released the initial installment of the first-ever Quadrennial Energy Review (QER), which examines how to modernize the Nation's energy infrastructure to promote economic competitiveness, energy security, and environmental responsibility and take full advantage of American innovation and the new sources of domestic energy supply that are transforming the Nation's energy marketplace. This report focuses on energy transmission, storage, and distribution (TS&D) infrastructure -- the networks of pipelines, wires, storage, waterways, railroads, and other facilities that form the backbone of our energy system. (Posted April 21, 2015)

Learn More

Dismukes Research Holds Great Promise for Advancing Sustainable Energy

Advancing Sustainable Energy Research for low-cost replacement for platinum leads to patent-pending technology

New research published by Rutgers University chemists has documented significant progress confronting one of the main challenges inhibiting widespread utilization of sustainable power: Creating a cost-effective process to store energy so it can be used later.

“We have developed a compound, Ni5P4 (nickel-5 phosphide-4), that has the potential to replace platinum in two types of electrochemical cells: electrolyzers that make hydrogen by splitting water through hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) powered by electrical energy, and fuel cells that make electricity from combining hydrogen and oxygen,” said Rutgers Chemistry Professor Charles Dismukes. “Platinum is the benchmark material for both devices as it has the best conversion efficiency. However, while platinum may be acceptable for making jewelry and low volume specialty applications, it is too expensive for large-scale applications such as energy storage and conversion. Our new HER catalyst, Ni5P4, has the strong potential to overcome this challenge.” Read More

Climate Intervention as a Business Opportunity

Paul Falkowski, Director of the Rutgers Energy Institute (REI), discusses climate intervention as a business opportunity in a collaboration with Rutgers Business School. Professor  Falkowski talks about two interventions as business opportunities for reducing the effects of carbon dioxide build-up in the atmosphere.

Rutgers Researcher: Sea Level Rising Faster Than Projections

Bob Kopp, REI Associate Director and Associate Professor in the Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences, appeared on NJTV to discuss current research on sea level rise in New Jersey.

Cleantech University Prize

The Energy Department announced $2.5 million in available funding for the Cleantech University Prize (Cleantech UP), which aims to inspire the next generation of clean energy entrepreneurs. This funding opportunity will support the commercialization of promising technologies for sectors such as solar and wind that reduce carbon pollution and grow the clean energy economy.

The Cleantech UP will create a strong national infrastructure focused on collegiate high-tech entrepreneurship that accelerates the rate of clean energy innovation in the United States, establishing a national Cleantech UP Hub and supporting up to eight Cleantech UP Collegiate Competitions. The Cleantech UP Hub will create a national prize, train student entrepreneurs, and serve as a coordinating body for energy entrepreneurship training, while the Cleantech UP Collegiate Competitions will provide prizes for eight individual university-focused competitions that will equip students with business skills to move clean energy technologies from the discovery phase to the marketplace. Together, the Cleantech UP Hub and Cleantech UP Collegiate Competitions will form a strategic network that increases student entrepreneurs' participation—both in quantity and quality—in clean energy, and addresses the existing gaps in early-stage commercialization training.

Cleantech UP will build on the success of its precursor, the Energy Department's National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition (NCEBPC), which leveraged growing interest in energy entrepreneurship to expand student engagement in clean energy technologies. Launched in 2011, the NCEBPC has attracted more than 750 teams, resulting in more than 70 ventures and generating $38 million in follow-on funding.

Organizations interested in supporting clean energy entrepreneurship should apply. Find more information about this funding opportunity, including application requirements, here .

This funding opportunity builds on the Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's work to accelerate development and facilitate deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality.

  • DE-FOA-0001271
  • Concept Paper Submission Deadline: 3/4/2015 5:00 PM ET
  • Full Application Submission Deadline: 4/16/2015 5:00 PM ET 

Sustainable Energy in America Factbook 2015

Sustainable Energy in America Factbook 2015 byBloomberg New Energy Finance: the Factbook has documented the revolution transforming how the US produces, delivers, and consumes energy.

DOE - Office of Science Graduate Student Research (SCGSR)

Program solicitation for graduate students to conduct thesis research at 15 DOE National Laboratories.  Applications are now being accepted.

James J. Gallagher Family Fellowship for Graduate Students

The James J. Gallagher Family Fellowship has been established to allow graduate students from Rutgers University interested in climate change preparedness measures to undertake projects to help advance the mission and objectives of the New Jersey Climate Adaptation Alliance. James J. Gallagher Family Fellowship

  • Summer 2015 applications being accepted by February 16, 2015.
  • Application information here .

National Academy of Sciences Climate Intervention

National Academy of Sciences Climate Intervention: Carbon Dioxide Removal and Reliable Sequestration and Climate Intervention: Reflecting Sunlight to Cool Earth.

February 10, 2015. 11:00 AM. Climate Intervention Reports Release. Climate Intervention: Carbon Dioxide Removal and Reliable Sequestration and Climate Intervention: Reflecting Sunlight to Cool Earth.  Ralph Cicerone, President of the National Academy of Sciences;  Marica McNutt, Editor-in-Chief, Science and Chair of the reports authorizing committee; David Titley, Penn State University; Scott Doney, WHOI; Waleed Abdalati, CIRES-U of Colorado.  

These reports provide a scientific foundation to help inform the ethical, legal, and political discussions surrounding climate intervention (also known as geoengineering)—the purposeful intervention in the climate system to counter climate change. The reports assess the potential impacts, benefits, and costs of two different proposed classes of climate intervention: (1) carbon dioxide removal and (2) albedo modification (reflecting sunlight). The reports also discuss governance issues and the research needed to provide a credible scientific underpinning for future discussions.

  • more information here.

REI Member on new NRC committee on the Future of Atmospheric Chemistry

Anne Marie Carlton , assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences, has been appointed to a newly established ad hoc National Research Council committee on the Future of Atmospheric Chemistry , whose goal is to identify priorities and strategic steps forward for atmospheric chemistry research for the next decade.  The Committee will study the need for supporting a comprehensive U.S. research program in atmospheric chemistry, including how research in this area contributes to advancing our understanding of climate change, air quality, the carbon and nitrogen cycles, the energy and water cycles, and the overall role of the atmosphere in Earth system science.

Rutgers Professors Receive Fulbright Grants for Research and Teaching Abroad

Read more: Rutgers Professors Receive Fulbright Grants for Research and Teaching Abroad

Robert Kopp selected as a 2015 Leopold Leadership Fellow

Read more: Robert Kopp selected as a 2015 Leopold Leadership Fellow

The Energy Innovation Contest 2016-17

for Rutgers New Brunswick Undergraduate Students
Sponsored by The Rutgers Energy Institute

The Rutgers Energy Institute (REI) is hosting its annual energy competition intended to engage students in devising creative and innovative solutions in reducing energy at Rutgers.  "Energy Innovation" is the challenge for this 2017 competition.  

The Goal: 
One goal of the Rutgers Energy Institute is to work with students, faculty and staff across the campus complex to reduce our carbon-footprint and make significant strides towards a carbon neutral university.

The Challenge:
To develop an implementable plan reducing student energy consumption on campus as well as promoting awareness about smarter eco-friendly practices across campus.  Students must demonstrate how energy can be conserved by creating innovative solutions to common energy expenditures.

Eligibility:
Enrolled undergraduate students in any program on the New Brunswick-Piscataway campus are eligible. Graduate students and post-doctoral fellows are not eligible. Register for the competition by sending an email indicating intent to submit an entry to Beatrice Birrer at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. no later than February 24, 2017.


Submission Date:
Proposals should be submitted on or before March 25, 2017 via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Prizes:
Three awards ($2,500 for first place, $1,500 for second place, and $1,000 for third place) will be awarded to undergraduate students or teams who have submitted energy reduction plans selected to be the most innovative, practical, and low-cost solutions by a panel composed of faculty chosen by the REI Advisory Board.  

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