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Meeting the Energy Challenges of New Jersey and the Nation

The Rutgers Energy Institute (REI) integrates Rutgers’ expertise in science, engineering, economics, and policy, putting it at the forefront of alternative energy research. At this critical juncture in history, we have the opportunity to transition from 20th-century technologies to those that sustain economic growth and preserve the integrity of our environment.

about REI

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New REI Post-doctoral positions

students_in_lab.jpgThe Rutgers Energy Institute (REI) at Rutgers University offers support for Postdoctoral Associates in the broad area of energy research: basic and applied science, engineering, economics, and policy.

The REI will support post-doctoral fellows working on multi-disciplinary collaborative research projects that address more than one element of energy research, and as such will require a minimum of two collaborating PI’s.

Each fellowship will be one year and comes with $25,000 direct cost support. Prospective candidates are expected to pursue creative research avenues within existing research programs and faculty expertise. Applications can be submitted for consideration on an ongoing basis. However, new openings are available as early as Fall 2014.

Applications should include a statement of research interests that clearly coordinates with Rutgers Energy Institute’s research program, curriculum vitae, and 3 references (one from each of two required PI’s). They should be emailed to Dr. Paul Falkowski (Director, Rutgers Energy Institute): This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it (please include “Postdoc” in the subject line).

Rutgers Chemists Develop Technology to Produce Clean-Burning Hydrogen Fuel

teddy-asefa.jpgNew catalyst based on carbon nanotubes may rival cost-prohibitive platinum for reactions that split water into hydrogen and oxygen

Rutgers researchers have developed a technology that could overcome a major cost barrier to make clean-burning hydrogen fuel – a fuel that could replace expensive and environmentally harmful fossil fuels. electrolysis catalyst Image: Tewodros Asefa A new technology based on carbon nanotubes promises commercially viable hydrogen production from water.

The new technology is a novel catalyst that performs almost as well as cost-prohibitive platinum for so-called electrolysis reactions, which use electric currents to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. The Rutgers technology is also far more efficient than less-expensive catalysts investigated to-date.

“Hydrogen has long been expected to play a vital role in our future energy landscapes by mitigating, if not completely eliminating, our reliance on fossil fuels,” said Tewodros (Teddy) Asefa, associate professor of chemistry and chemical biology in the School of Arts and Sciences. “We have developed a sustainable chemical catalyst that, we hope with the right industry partner, can bring this vision to life.”

Read more at Rutgers Today


REI Scientist Bob Kopp Co-Leads Report on Economic Risks of Climate Change

Rutgers Energy Institute associate director Robert Kopp served as co-leader on a prospectus, the first report to provide a national set of estimates of costs of climate change to key sectors of the state economies.

bob_kopp_small_frame.jpgThe American economy faces major risks from climate change, including damaging coastal storms, growing heat-related mortality, and declining labor productivity, according to an independent report released June 24 by business, education and political leaders.

The report, titled Risky Business, relies upon research also released today in the American Climate Prospectus: Economic Risks in the United States(ACP). Like a financial prospectus, the prospectus assesses the risks and opportunities for the United States associated with ongoing and future climate change.

The ACP, co-led by  Rutgers climate scientist Robert Kopp, along with colleagues from the University of California, Berkeley, and from the private consultancy Rhodium Group, is the first to provide a national set of estimates of costs to key sectors of the state economies.  

REI Symposium - Newsroom

Rutgers Energy Institute Symposium Addresses Need to Engage the Public in Creating Progressive Energy Policy

Since its esymposium_audience.jpgstablishment in 2005, the Rutgers Energy Institute (REI) has set a high bar when it comes to sustainable energy and public discourse with national energy leaders in research and policy such as Steven Chu, former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy and Congressman Rep. Rush Holt, U.S. Representative from New Jersey’s 12th Congressional District in attendance at its annual symposium. For these past nine years, the institute has been committed to facilitating fundamental and applied scientific research, and progressive energy policy that promotes sustainable energy production compatible with economic growth and environmental vitality.

To promote meaningful dialogue and understanding of the complex technical and societal issues related to sustainable energy, this year’s event, the Ninth Annual Rutgers Energy Institute Symposium, was held on May 6 to a full house at the Fiber Optic Auditorium on the Busch Campus. It focused on the challenge of transitioning to a new world paradigm in energy science, economics and engineering, in conjunction with the need to engage the public in creating progressive energy and climate policy. Read More



Rush Holt at Rutgers Energy Institute Symposium

rush_holt.jpgRush Holt Calls on Federal Government to Drive Innovations in Energy Technology, Climate Policy

Congressman joins industry and academic leaders to examine energy and climate issues at Rutgers Energy Institute symposium

Innovative research and technological advances can help the United States reduce its dependency on fossil fuels. But first elected officials and the public will have to overcome their reluctance to engage in energy and climate policy issues.

At an energy symposium at Rutgers this month, U. S. Representative Rush Holt challenged the federal government to lead the effort by making investments in science that will lead corporations and businesses to change their practices.

“If you are looking for new energy technologies, if you are looking for an understanding of climate measures, there are things that can best be done from the federal level,” said Holt, who represents New Jersey’s 12th Congressional District, which includes part of Rutgers in New Brunswick.  

Read more

2014 REI Energy Contest Winners
2014 Energy Contest


1st Place for $2,500: Underground Thermal Energy Storage for a Sustainable Future

Joe Woo, Matthew Lu, Moiz Rauf

Major(s) Materials Science & Engineering (all). Abstract: One major opportunity for energy innovation is presented in President Robert Barchi's recently approved Strategic Plan, which calls for the construction of six new academic buildings and three new residential buildings totaling over 1.3 million ft2 in the next decade. It is of pivotal importance that they are designed with energy conservation in mind, which allows for a promising proposal utilizing Borehole Thermal Energy Storage (BTES) technology. BTES systems involve storing thermal energy several hundred feet underground, to provide heating in the winter and cooling in the summer. Using a similar case study at The Richard Stockton College in New Jersey, the authors of this proposal estimate that this solution can generate upwards of $1.44 million and reduce carbon emissions by over 15.1 million pounds annually, which is the equivalent of taking 2,000 cars off the road each year. With an estimated payback time of only 8 years, BTES can be financed in a very short period of time relative to the lifespan of the buildings. Funding the initial investment would not be an issue given that Rutgers is already spending over $250 million to finance the construction of the buildings, in addition to the $750 million Building Our Future Bond Act. The university would only need to raise an additional 4.5% in funds, which can be easily achieved through a combination of borrowing, utilities rebates, grants, or existing funds.

2nd Place for $1,500: Rooftop Gardens

Rachel Alm

Major: Environmental Policy, Institutions and Behavior, and  History. Abstract: The proposal focuses on the idea of green roofing on campus buildings that are viable as rooftop gardens as well. The main premise of the proposal is to implement a rooftop garden atop Brower Commons that will extend to other University buildings upon the completion of the trial run. The focus will be on the promotion of energy efficiency through the use of green roof and the promotion of localized farming to decrease the number of miles students and community members travel in order to purchase localized food. The project will further promote green activities and includes calculations of various green roofing systems and studies of rooftop gardens in order to get a better understanding of the viability of the project.  

3rd Place for $1,000: Energy Recycling

Rachit Mehta and Timothy Yong

Mehta Major(s): Materials Science and Engineering Minor(s): Economics Yong Major(s): Computer Engineering & Computer Science. Abstract: Our proposal is to harvest energy from three basic forms of energy: thermal, light, and kinetic. We plan to harvest this energy through devices developed that can convert these three forms of energy to electrical energy (which we call ‘energy recycling’). We also plan on using autonomous feedback to have users monitor their own electronic energy consumption. The goal of this proposal is to reach self-sufficiency in energy costs where Rutgers University can save more than half of their current energy costs and generate enough to become optimal. The proposal remarks the costs to benefits analysis where the benefits outweigh the costs as well extra energy left for storage. In addition, there is a social impact analysis of what the potential social benefits are. The proposal is comprised of a comprehensive twelve-step strategic plan to implement the proposal which will take place in three stages.

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