News and Announcements

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.  

Useful Rutgers Links:

DOE report examines the current and potential future impacts of climate change and extreme weather on the U.S. energy sector at the regional level.

On August 3, 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency released the final Clean Power Plan (CPP), a regulatory action under the Clean Air Act (CAA) that establishes guidelines for states to limit carbon dioxide emissions from existing power-generation units. The plan differs in a number of important ways from a draft version released in June 2014.

Rutgers The Daily Targum covered REI Energy Policy Seminar talk by Colin McCormick on "Integrating Variable Renewables into the Grid: Technical and Policy Challenges” 

2015 Quadrennial Technology Review (QTR)

The 2015 Quadrennial Technology Review (QTR) examines the status of the science and technology that are the foundation of our energy system, together with the research, development, demonstration, and deployment (RDD&D) opportunities to advance them. It focuses primarily on technologies with commercialization potential in the midterm and beyond. It frames various trade-offs that all energy technologies must balance across such dimensions as cost, security and reliability of supply, diversity, environmental impacts, land use, and materials use. Additionally, it provides data and analysis on RDD&D pathways to assist decision makers as they set priorities, within budget constraints, to develop more secure, affordable, and sustainable energy services.

QTR 2015 complements the work of the Quadrennial Energy Review (QER), which focuses on energy infrastructure and government-wide energy policy. Insights gained from these analyses provide important information for stakeholders and decision-makers in government, industry, academia, and civil society who together form our national energy enterprise.

Download the full report

In a new book titled "A Roadmap to Green Supply Chains, Using Supply Chain Archeology and Big Data Analytics," Prof. Kevin Lyons, Assoicate Director Rutgers Energy Institute,  provides professionals in businesses, governments and institutions with a guide for "greening” their supply chains without jeopardizing their ability to compete.

Lyons draws heavily on his own experience as chief procurement officer at Rutgers University and his work in supply chain archaeology for insights and strategies on how to maintain efficient supply chains and protect the environment. Read more

Professor Kevin Lyons, Associate Director Rutgers Energy Institute,  received a prestigious New Jersey state governor’s Jefferson Award in the category of PSEG environmental stewardship for his work in sustainable purchasing.

Lyons, who teaches supply chain management at Rutgers Business School and previously worked as Rutgers University’s chief procurement officer, accepted the award during a ceremony on June 8 at the Newark Museum. He was among 22 individuals presented with a Jefferson Award. Read more

Notice of Intent to Issue Photovoltaic Research and Development Funding Opportunity Announcement

Funding Number: DE-FOA-0001387 Funding Amount: $18,000,000

SunShot intends to release a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) that will advance photovoltaic (PV) technology towards or beyond the 2020 SunShot goals. Successful applicants will demonstrate a convincing ability to improve the limits of power conversion efficiency, fielded energy output, service lifetime, or manufacturability for commercial and emerging PV technologies. 

This funding opportunity will have three topic areas with different funding levels based on the size, scope, and length of the project. Across these three topic areas, projects are expected to be funded with maximum award levels ranging from $100,000 to $450,000 per year. The total federal funding will be approximately $18 million.

Download the full notice of intent HERE, which includes more information about each of the three topic areas. Stay tuned for the full FOA soon.

Posted 8/27/2015

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website provides resources to help inform communities about the final Clean Power Plan and the proposed Federal Plan Requirements for Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Electric Utility Generating Units Constructed on or Before January 8, 2014; Model Trading Rules (this rulemaking will be henceforth referred to as the proposed federal plan). Additionally, this website provides resources that the EPA is making available to help communities engage with their states as they implement their plans and to assist communities in engaging with the EPA throughout the comment period for the proposed federal plan.

Trevor Houser (Rhodium Group), Solomon Hsiang (Associate Professor of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley), Robert Kopp (REI Associate Director) , and Kate Larsen's (Rhodium Group) propectus "Economic Risks of Climate Change: An American Prospectus"Economic Risks of Climate Change: An American Prospectus" is now available from Columbia University Press. This prospectus is based on a critically acclaimed independent assessment of the economic risks posed by climate change commissioned by the Risky Business Project.  This book is an essential tool for helping businesses and governments prepare for the future.

Professor Monica Mazuek, Associate Professor in Civil & Environmental Engineering and REI member, was interviewed by WHYY in the following article the "New Climate Change Rules for Power Plants Come with Perks for Public Health"

The Clara Immerwahr Award is conferred annually to a young female scientist at an early stage of her career (postdoctoral fellow, junior researcher) for outstanding results in Catalysis Research.

REI Director, Paul G. Falkowski, participated as a National Academy of Sciences (NAS) committee members on the recent report on "Climate Intervention:Reflecting Sunlight to Cool Earth (2015)".  Learn more about the findings...

Professor Monica Mazurek, REI member, School of Engineering, at Rutgers University and Michael Thwaite, President of Plug-in America and the NJ Electric Auto Association discuss how you can make a choice as to what sort of car you have and what level of impact you have on our environment.  Listen to the Show: The Green Hour

Our own Robert (Bob) Kopp, Associate Director of the REI,  has been awarded the Shackleton Medal recognizing his pioneering efforts in understanding the changing trajectory of Earth’s climate.

The Shackleton Medal is awarded by the International Union for Quaternary Research (INQUAonce every four years to an outstanding young Quaternary scientist, chosen by his or her peers and evaluated by a blue-ribbon committee of distinguished scientists. The medal, INQUA's first, honours Sir Nicholas Shackleton, a giant in the field of Quaternary science, in recognition of his distinguished career in Quaternary geochronology and paleoclimatology, which spanned 40 years and was based on isotopic studies of deep-sea sediment. Read more...

Congratulations to REI Associate Director, Dr. Robert Kopp, of the Department of Earth & Planetary Science for his designation as a Chancellor's Scholars for Rutgers University - New Brunswick. The Chancellor's Scholar initiative was created through the New Brunswick Strategic Plan to recognize truly outstanding and highly promising faculty members at the associate professor level.   As a Chancellor's Scholars, Kopp will receive an addition towards his research account for innovative research initiatives and/or program development for up to five years. Congratulations to Bob on this honor!

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

JUNE 6, 2015. Read more.

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.

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!"

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

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

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