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NYT: Betting on a New Way to Make Concrete That Doesn’t Pollute

Richard Riman, a Distinguished Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Rutgers School of Engineering and member of Rutgers Energy Institute, founded a technology that cuts carbon emissions of cement-making and concrete-solidification by up to 70%. The cement industry is the leading source of industrial CO2 emissions and accounts for about 7% of all anthropogenic CO2 emissions annually. Thus, a 70% reduction in CO2 emissions could reduce annual emissions by an amount approaching 3 gigatonnes per year. Solidia Technologies in Piscataway, NJ, understands that change is essential in the concrete-making process to diminish the environmental impacts along the supply chain.  Rutgers University and Solidia collaborated in the process for commercialization of the technology based on the core research of principal inventor Riman and contributions from Rutgers post-docs and co-inventors: Vahit Atakan, Surojit Gupta, and Qinghua Li.

The technology offers a promising solution for the cement industry’s mass GHG emissions problem and promotes an optimistic future for negative-emissions concrete materials. Read more about the energy-efficient technology and its applications by clicking HERE.

Solar Energy Innovators Program - Application Deadline Sept 15, 2018

The Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Research Participation Program is designed to provide opportunities for students, postgraduates, established scientists and faculty to participate in programs, projects, and activities that support the mission of the EERE. Participants will hold appointments at the Department of Energy (DOE)-EERE Headquarters, EERE field offices, and other EERE-approved sites. Participants will receive hands-on experience that provides them with an understanding of the mission, operations, and culture of EERE.

The purpose of the Solar Energy Innovators Program is to enable selected applicants to conduct practical research on innovative solutions to the challenges faced by electric utilities, energy service providers, and electric public utility commissions as the levels of solar energy, as well as other distributed energy resources (DERs), increase on the electrical grid.

The program is administered by Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) and is currently accepting application until the September 15, 2018 deadline (https://www.zintellect.com/Opportunity/Details/DOE-EERE-RPP-SETO-2018-2108). Those selected will receive an annual stipend, allowances for health insurance and research-related expenses, and limited reimbursement for relocation expenses. For more information you can direct prospective applicants to: https://energy.gov/eere/sunshot/fellowships-and-research-opportunities  

Rutgers Energy Institute Energy Contest Plans Reduce Energy on Campus

REI 2018 energy contest web

Energy Institute Innovation Contest winners

L-R: REI Associate Director Kevin Lyons and 2018 contest winners Maya Robles, Emily Cheng, Stephen Petrides, Zijun Xu, Swati Modhwadia, Evan Lutz and Emily Nanneman.

 

Each year, the Rutgers Energy Institute (REI) challenges Rutgers undergraduates to develop innovative and implementable plans for reducing energy consumption on the New Brunswick campus through its Energy Innovation Contest, now in its eleventh year. Winners of the 2018 contest were announced during the spring semester at the Rei Annual Symposium by its associate director Kevin Lyons, an associate professor of supply chain management with the Rutgers Business School.

 REI 2018 contest 1st place

First place winners, who shared a $2,500 prize, were Emily Cheng (Environmental Policy, Institutions and Behavior major, minor in Economics) and Maya Robles (Environmental Policy, Institutions and Behavior major, minor in Spanish and Cultural Anthropology) for their proposal, “The Collegiate Carbon Exchange.

 

REI 2018 contest 2nd placeWinning the second prize of $1,500 was the team, Students for Environmental & Energy Development-SEED, which comprised Evan Lutz, Emily Sukenik, Zijun Xu, Stephen Petrides and Swati Modhwadia, for its proposal, “Savings Found from Reforming Laundry Room Habits and Installing New Clothes Dryers at Rutgers_New Brunswick.”

 

 The $1,000 third-place prize was claimed by Kyra Frank (Environmental Policy, Institutions and Behavior major, minor in Philosophy) and Emily Nanneman (Environmental Policy, Institutions and Behavior) for the proposal, “Lighting the Way to Savings with LEDs.”REI 2018 contest 3rd place

 

The contest, which represents REI’s commitment to education and outreach, has provided students the unique opportunity to engage with their university environment and the experts around them as they research and conduct technical, economic and policy analyses to provide viable solutions to energy consumption and carbon reduction in their local environment.

 

According to REI associate director Rachael Shwom, an associate professor in the Department of Human Ecology, the competition has also produced high-quality submissions. “We are very proud of the quality of the proposals our students put forth. Many are creative while being analytically rigorous.”

 

“When you talk to the winners you can tell they’ve really learned a lot about the social, technical and economic complexities of reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions in their own university,” added Shwom

 

Several of the student proposals to come out of the annual Energy Innovation Contest have been implemented by the university, most notably tray-less dining and use of aerobic digesters. In addition, students have also gained internships with corporations that produce the researched technology from their REI contest proposals.

“The Energy Innovation Contest at Rutgers is a unique opportunity for students to change the future of our energy,” said top prize winner Maya Robles. “Too often people become locked-in to one way of looking at energy and work within those confines. This contest gives students a chance to contemplate what’s not working in our system and come up with their own solutions,” she added.

 

This year’s winning submission from Robles and Emily Cheng, focused on a cap-and-trade program among the Big 10 universities that will accelerate the process to achieve carbon neutrality. Their program, called the College Carbon Exchange (CCX), will provide the mechanism for universities to invest in clean energy and energy efficient operations and engage students to improve their energy behavior.

 

Swati Modhwadia, whose team placed second in the contest, underscored the value of the competition and its capacity to make a difference. “Realizing the issue is a good first step, but real change lies in what we do. This competition allows students to realize that change is within their power. Despite the daunting environmental issues, some planning, teamwork and a simple idea can go a long way.”

 

Her fellow team member Evan Lutz added that “the energy innovation competition is an excellent platform for students to practice creativity and practicality towards sustainability goals. It is very easy to sit back and criticize the energy infrastructure in place in our country and at an institution like Rutgers, but until a report is written and the complexities of costs and implementations are revealed and solved, those criticisms mean nothing. I am so thankful that as a student I can learn so much about myself and get a glimpse into what real-world, energy problem-solving is like.”

CEE Initiative Impact Challenge

Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE) Initiative Impact Challenge

What is the Challenge?

The CEE Initiative Impact Challenge offers graduate students in appropriate disciplines the opportunity to carry out a retrospective impact analysis on one of four CEE initiatives:

  • • Residential Space Heating and Cooling
  • • Residential Water Heating
  • • Commercial High Efficiency Air Conditioning and Heat Pumps
  • • Strategic Energy Management

The goals of the Challenge are to:

  • • Quantify the energy and non-energy benefits, as appropriate, occurring when CEE members undertake a market transformation  strategy
  • • Learn from the evaluation methodology proposed by competitors which data are important to track and what questions to ask about impact as the initiative evolves

The results of the challenge will be used throughout CEE communications materials as appropriate: website, print, and outreach channels with appropriate attribution of the impact assessment.

If interested or have any questions please contact REI associate director, Rachael Shwom, at shwomrac@sebs.rutgers.edu for more information.