Access to affordable clean energy is indispensable to the economic vitality of the nation, the health of its inhabitants, and the biodiversity of the planet. Its pervasive influence on all aspects of human activity, determines the range of opportunities in which citizens can participate, from local to global. The paths forward towards decarbonizing our energy sources require participation from scientists, engineers, economists, policy researchers, businesses, as well as an informed public.
Over the past decade, the Rutgers Energy Institute (REI) has provided a forum for discussion of issues and seed money for faculty, students and professional staff (from facilities, transportation, and procurement) to collaboratively work together to foster new research and educational experiences. The result has been a phenomenal growth of the University’s research portfolio on energy writ large. However, the value of the REI is not simply monetary – it has developed an interactive forum across the schools that has enabled new collaborations to blossom, and both new energy policy frameworks and technological advances to be achieved. The REI has been instrumental in developing new courses and providing information about energy-related curricula for undergraduate and graduate students. Through seminars, symposia and virtual media, the REI also helps the broader community to understand the complexities of transforming our nation’s energy generation in coming decades.
Clean Energy - The grand challenge of the 21st century
The REI was designed to meet this challenge through innovative basic and applied research, education, outreach and advice to policy makers.
The REI has five core, interlinked themes, cutting across school boundaries. These themes do not represent the breadth of the expertise of REI faculty; rather, they are areas of crosscutting strengths and opportunities that are fertile ground for collaborations and are critical to decarbonizing energy supplies in the coming decades.
These themes are:
- Nanomaterials, Photovoltaics, and Storage
- Bioenergy and Bioproducts
- Carbon-Negative Technologies
- Energy Economics, Environment, and Policy Systems
The five themes represent current strengths and are topics in which REI has invested, and will continue to invest resources with reasonable expectation of fostering successful external funding.
The REI Five Year Strategic Plan 2017-2022 document outlines a vision for the Institute that will help build upon our existing strengths and promote Rutgers’ faculty to becoming global leaders in these areas.