The Rutgers Energy Institute is engaged in four principal areas of activity: education of undergraduate and graduate students; pioneering research; outreach to the community to share information and engage the public; and policy advice to government, business, and civic leaders who require current knowledge about energy use, alternatives, and innovations to guide decision-making and public planning.
Each of these four areas is critical to the overall mission of the institute: to foster both fundamental and applied scientific research and policy research to develop sustainable energy production compatible with economic growth and environmental vitality.
The Energy Innovation Contest 2015-16
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 wasted at Rutgers. "Energy Innovation" is the challenge for this 2016 competition.
Presently, student, staff and faculty use of the standing buildings and infrastructure of the Rutgers campus complex at New Brunswick/Piscataway accounts for approximately 150,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually to the atmosphere each year. Factoring in commuting students, faculty, and staff, and the total emissions are increased to an estimated 300,000 tons of carbon dioxide each year. One goal of the Rutgers Energy Institute is to work with students, faculty and staff across the campus complex to make the university carbon neutral by 2030.
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.
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.
Rutgers Energy Institute Summer Intern wins award at 2015 AICHe National Meeting
Undergraduate student Ajay Kashi has won first prize in the student poster competition at the 2015 AICHe National Meeting in Salt Lake City. Ajay Kashi is a Chemistry and Chemical Biology major conducting research in the Dismukes Laboratory under the mentorship of Dr. Anders Laursen. Ajay attended the meeting to present his research conducted this past summer supported by a Rutgers Energy Institute (REI) Summer Internship on “Scalable Synthesis of Nanoscale Ni5P4 As a Novel HER Catalyst: Investigating the Correlation Between Particle Size and Electrochemical Activity”.
Ajay said "My internship with the Rutgers Energy Institute not only gave me a taste of what it feels like to do truly independent research at the graduate level; it also reaffirmed my longstanding desire to pursue a path toward further education in the field of alternative energies and renewable fuels."
Dr. Laursen proudly stated that "Ajay's work relates in a very direct way to the energy problem currently facing our society. Renewable electrolysis of water is a potential corner stone for the sustainable society and realizing this technology will require the very best young minds. His work focused on how to scale up the production up one of the most promising catalyst, which will help guide our future research toward achieving renewable energy storage in the near term."
Six undergraduate interns, ranging from across the many fields of energy expertise at Rutgers, researched and explored their topics for 12 weeks this summer on our Rutgers Campuses. At the close of the program, each intern made a presentation and wrote a short research paper, for a day of interdisciplinary learning.
2015 REI Summer internship recipients were: Giuseppe Bongiovi (Physics major), Katelyn Dagnall (Chemical Engineering major), Kevin Feigelis (Physics major), Ajay Kashi (Chemistry & Chemical Biology major), Hardik Patel (Mechanical Engineering major), and Kaila Roffman (Material Science and Engineering major).
Research titles and Faculty mentors:
- Giuseppe Bongiovi and Kevin Feigelis’s project was with Dr. Sunil Somalwar, titled “Design and Construction of a Prototype Residential Solar Dehumidification”.
- Katelyn Dagnall’s project was with Dr. Fuat Celik, titled “Photocatalytic Biomass Reforming over Modified TiO2
- Ajay Kashi’s project was with Dr. Charles Dismukes, titled “Scalable Synthesis of Nanoscale Ni5P4 as a Novel HER Catalyst: Investigating the Correlation between Particle Size and Electrochemical Activity”
- Hardik Patel’s project was with Dr. Stephen Tse titled, “Flame Synthesis of Graphene”.
- Kaila Roffman’s project was with Dr. Dunbar Birnie and Frank Felder titled, “Modeling Solar Energy and Local Marginal Pricing for comprehension of Battery Implementation into a Solar Array”.
Over the programs five years, students work has been published in prominent journals.
More information about the REI Summer Internship program can be found at the REI website
Revolution Now: The Future Arrives for Five Clean Energy Technologies–2015 Update
In 2013, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released the Revolution Now report, highlighting four transformational technologies: land-based wind power, silicon photovoltaic (PV) solar modules, light-emitting diodes (LEDs), and electric vehicles (EVs). That study and its 2014 update showed how dramatic reductions in cost are driving a surge in consumer, industrial, and commercial adoption for these clean energy technologies—as well as yearly progress.
In addition to presenting the continued progress made over the last year in these areas, this year’s update goes further. Two separate sections now cover large, central, utility-scale PV plants and smaller, rooftop, distributed PV systems to highlight how both have achieved significant deployment nationwide, and have done so through different innovations, such as easier access to capital for utility-scale PV and reductions of non-hardware costs and third-party ownership for distributed PV.
Along with these core technologies, this update briefly introduces three additional technologies on the cusp of wider deployment and cost reduction in the coming years: smart building systems, fuel-efficient freight trucks, and vehicle lightweighting.
Department of Energy Releases New, 10-Year Strategic Plan for Materials and Chemistry Research
The Department of Energy (DOE) recently released a new, 10-year strategic plan for materials and chemical sciences research, entitled “Challenges at the Frontiers of Matter and Energy: Transformative
Opportunities for Discovery Science.”
ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit Student Program
The 2016 ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit will take place from February 29 – March 2, 2016 at the Gaylord Convention Center just outside of Washington, DC. The Student Program is a great opportunity for graduate level energy leaders to network with companies searching for new talent and learn about new energy initiatives. ARPA-E will select 100 graduate-level students to participate in this program. Please encourage Rutgers’ student energy leaders to apply.
The application portal is now open and the deadline is December 4, 2015.