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Smart Cities Could Be Asset During Natural Disasters

Smart cities— where different utilities and services are interconnected via the Internet of Things(IoT) — may be especially beneficial during times of emergency.

Narayan Mandayam, a Distinguished Professor and Chair of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rutgers University, said by utilizing the IoT to connect different telecommunications platforms and utility services, municipalities can enhance communication between first responders while also handling any potential problems to the water, gas or power services faster.

“A smart city is where every device, every entity and every object can connect wirelessly for whatever the needs,” Mandayam said in a statement. “To make a smart city happen, a tremendous amount of investment in infrastructure will be needed, but the benefits will likely far outweigh the costs. It scares me to think what it would mean for congestion, pollution and quality of life if we don’t start doing things to mitigate them.”

Mandayam, who lives in New Jersey, said he was inspired by what he saw during superstorm Sandy, which devastated the state on Oct. 29, 2012. He said he personally was without power for five days, while others in the state did not have power for at least two weeks. Read more.

Marianthi Ierapetritou Promoted to Distinguished Professor

The Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering’s Marianthi Ierapetritou was recently advanced to the ranks of distinguished professor—a title reserved for faculty who have achieved “scholarly eminence” in their field, according to the university.

Marianthi Ierapetritou

Ierapetritou has published over 150 papers and received over 50 conference invitations to discuss her research, which focuses on process operations, flexible manufacturing systems, modeling of reactive flow processes, and metabolic engineering. She has served as chair of the Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering since 2013.

Among Ierapetritou’s many awards are the prestigious NSF Career Award (2000-2004), NASA’s New Jersey Space Grant Consortium (2000-2001), Rutgers’ Teaching Excellence Award (2002), and the School of Engineering’s Outstanding Faculty Award (2012).

Highly active in the scientific community, Ierapetritou serves as vice president of Computer Aids in Chemical Engineering (CACHE) and vice chair/program coordinator for the Computing and Systems Technology (CAST) division of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE). She is also a member of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS), the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), the Rutgers Energy Institute (REI), and the Engineering Specific Career Advisory Problem-Solving Environment (ESCAPE).


$500,000 NSF Grant Supports Rutgers’ Innovation

Continuing to pave the way in innovation, Rutgers is launching a new program to bridge the gap between the lab and marketplace.

Materials Science and Engineering Professor Dunbar Birnie recently received a $500,000 grant to support Rutgers' inventions for the next five years through the NSF I-Corps program. According to the NSF, the I-Corps program works to bring research projects to the marketplace, thereby fostering a national ecosystem of innovation.

“Our program is aimed very broadly to help Rutgers students and faculty take their innovations and help them move toward commercialization,” said Birnie, whose research interests revolve around solar technology.

Birnie is working in collaboration with the Rutgers Office of Research Commercialization, Rutgers Business School, and Rutgers Entrepreneurship Coalition to nurture Rutgers’ inventions through a Rutgers’ NSF I-Corps Site. 

The NSF has established dozens of I-Corps Sites across the country to provide the infrastructure and resources groups need to prepare their work for commercialization.

“The real impact—we hope—will be in new technologies, new jobs, and where Rutgers will be known as the place where these new technologies arose.”

Rutgers funds over $600 million in research per year, which generates over 150 patents and more than $15 million in licensing income annually. Project leaders hope that the program will help to successfully transition research outcomes to the commercialization stage.

Birnie said that since the program is just getting underway, there are no specific innovations to report yet.

“We are targeting inventive Rutgers students and faculty far and wide,” he said.

Nov. 8th Women in Energy: Navigating and Leading in the Energy Field (Panel Discussion and Reception)


The Rutgers Energy Institute and Columbia University's Center on Global Energy Policy are excited to announce the first Women in Energy event being held at Rutgers University. Please join us for a panel conversation focused on female leadership in the energy sector. Panelists will share their experiences, career paths, and offer advice for students seeking to enter the energy/environment field. This is a public event open to all and will be followed by a small reception. 

Rutgers University Busch Student Center - The Cove, 604 Bartholomew Road  Piscataway, NJ 08854

Wednesday, November 8, 2017 6:00pm to 8:00pm ET

Parking: Visitors may park in Lots 51, 59, 60B & 67 without permits. Special event parking is only for visitors to the University and does not include free metered parking. Faculty, Staff, and Students must park only in lots they are authorized to park in.

Our panel of experts will include:

  • Serpil Guran, Director of Rutgers EcoComplex “Clean Energy Innovation Center”  
  • Jeanne Fox, Adjunct Professor in School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University; former Commissioner at New Jersey Board of Public Utilities; former Regional Administrator at U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 2; former Commissioner at New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and Energy
  • Alissa Park, Lenfest Chair in Applied Climate Science and Director of The Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy at Columbia University 
  • Ellen Morris, Adjunct Professor in School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University and President and Founder of Sustainable Energy Solutions
  • Rachael Shwom, Associate Professor in Department of Human Ecology at Rutgers University; Associate Director of The Rutgers Energy Institute (moderator)

About the Women in Energy Program: The WIE program is aimed at increasing the presence of women in the energy sector, and over the mid to long term, the presence of women in senior and management roles across the energy space through a (1) variety of public outreach, networking and community building activities, (2) leadership training and mentorship, and (3) facilitating opportunities for paid internships and full-time career opportunities.The program seeks to empower students to take on leadership roles in the energy sector and realize their full potential, while building a thriving community of professional women. 

Event is Free but

Registration will be required - Click Here

Press Contact: Jamie Shellenberger-Bessmann ( For more information contact:, or

Scott Glenn named a Fellow of the Marine Technology Society

Scott Glenn, distinguished professor in the Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences and co-director of the Center for Ocean Observing Leadership, has been named a Fellow of the Marine Technology Society. This honor recognizes his career of developing novel technologies that have been used to forecast the Gulf Stream dynamics, developing integrated ocean observatories, improving the ability to sample and forecast hurricane intensity, and his focus on integrating undergraduate education into his research. Read more. Learn more about Dr. Glenn's work.

Climate-Change and Clean-Energy To-Do List for NJ

More than two dozen state leaders have prepared a plan to help the next administration get right to work cleaning up New Jersey's environment... New Jersey's Global Warming Response Act requires the state to reduce carbon pollution to 1990 levels by 80 percent by 2050, a target that many say will be difficult to achieve. Last week, the Rutgers Climate Institute said the state must reduce emissions by 76 percent from today's levels to achieve the 2050 target.

Center for Energy, Economic & Environmental Policy offering professional development courses on energy, electricity markets

The Center for Energy, Economic & Environmental Policy at the Bloustein School is offering professional development courses for those interested in learning more about electricity markets, the electric power industry, and energy efficiency.

  • Two-Day Course: In-depth Introduction to Electricity Markets October 24-25, 2017
  • Workshop: Renewable Energy and Markets October 26, 2017
  • Learn more by clicking here


Report Outlines Pathways to Greenhouse Gas Cuts in New Jersey


New Jersey has met its near-term requirement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, but reaching its 2050 goal will require much deeper reductions to meet this goal, according to a report released by researchers at the Rutgers Climate Institute and Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University-New Brunswick.

The 2007 New Jersey Global Warming Response Act required an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 from 2006 levels, or about 75 percent lower than today. Significant new policies and enhancements of current strategies will be needed to achieve such a dramatic reduction, but no new legislation is necessary, the report says.

The report, An Examination of Policy Options for Achieving Greenhouse Gas Emissions, examines the status of New Jersey’s greenhouse gas emissions; the policies needed to achieve the reductions required by the 2007 law; and innovative efforts in other states that might benefit New Jersey. It is a collaboration of researchers from the Rutgers Climate Institute, Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, Georgetown Climate Center and World Resources Institute.

The New Jersey Global Warming Response Act set statewide legal limits on greenhouse gas emissions such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. The report, among other findings, concludes that the state’s limits continue to represent the latest science, including the science underlying the 2015 international Paris Agreement ratified by 160 parties so far.

“The good news in New Jersey is that there’s a lot of existing authority and programs to advance the sort of climate action we need to meet the 2050 limits,” said Jeanne Herb, associate director of the Environmental Analysis and Communications Group at Rutgers-New Brunswick’s Bloustein School and one of the report’s authors. “We don’t need new legislation to make a significant impact.”

The authors also stress the health and economic benefits linked to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, including cleaner air, technological innovation and job creation.

“Our examination of programs in states such as California, Colorado, and Washington – as well as New Jersey – shows that science-based climate policy can deliver a wide range of public benefits that go well beyond reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said report co-author Marjorie Kaplan, associate director of the Rutgers Climate Institute. “This is also an opportunity to address the needs of vulnerable populations – people with existing medical conditions, the elderly, the disabled, those with limited access to healthcare – and the low-income and minority communities that historically bear a disproportionate burden with respect to environmental contaminants.”

The report suggests pursuing three main “pathways to decarbonization” consistent with the 2015 Paris Agreement: (1) transitioning to a low-carbon energy system; (2) sequestering carbon through forests, soils and carbon dioxide removal technologies; and (3) reducing non-carbondioxide emissions such as methane, nitrous oxide and hydrofluorocarbon emissions in other sectors of the economy, including transportation.

The report notes that transportation is the largest source of emissions in New Jersey, accounting for 44.2 percent, followed by electricity generation (20 percent) and fossil fuels used in the residential (11.6 percent), industrial (9.8 percent) and commercial (9.7 percent) sectors, mainly for heating. For the transportation sector, the report identifies policy options that involve increasing the efficiency of vehicles, switching to fuels that are less carbon-intensive and reducing vehicle miles traveled through mass transit, smart growth and other policies. Read more.

The report and additional information can be accessed at  and the link below:

An Examination of Policy Options for Achieving Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions in New Jersey - September 2017

Dr. Amatucci Receives DOE Grant for High Energy Density Batteries

Glenn Amatucci, research professor and director, Energy Storage Research Group, is the principal investigator of an award totaling $1,077,157. The project, titled Self-Forming Thin Interphases and Electrodes Enabling 3-D Structured High Energy Density Batteries, is being supported by the U.S. Department of Energy. Learn more about Amatucci here.

Rutgers Licenses Chhowalla's Low-Cost, High-Quality Graphene Production Method

Rutgers University has licensed a technology that allows for the mass production of high-quality graphene at a reduced cost to Everpower International Holdings Co., Ltd. (“Everpower”).

Invented by a team led by Manish Chhowalla, professor of materials science and engineering in the School of Engineering at Rutgers University–New Brunswick, the method uses microwaves to produce high-quality graphene from graphene oxide, and has the potential to generate large quantities of it at low cost. Chhowalla is a leading expert in the field of graphene research and has been developing graphene manufacturing technologies for more than a decade.

Graphene is a nano-material with remarkable thermal conductivity, electric conductivity and mechanical strength. As a result, graphene has the potential to be used in enormous industrial applications, including semiconductor, battery and composite materials, providing the basis for improving many traditional industries by replacing less efficient materials.

The Rutgers Energy Institute (REI) has supported Chhowalla's research as well as Jieun Yang, REI post-doctoral associate. Read more.

Distinguished Professor Riman Elected to the National Academy of Inventors

Richard E. Riman, distinguished professor of materials science and engineering in the School of Engineering at Rutgers University–New Brunswick, has been elected as a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors.

The Academy announced its 2016 Fellows on December 13.  The Academy's fellows include more than 94 presidents and senior leaders of research universities, as well as 28 Nobel Laureates.

“Professor Riman’s research in materials science has resulted in two promising start-up companies and has real potential for positively impacting the concrete and ceramics industries,” said Christopher J. Molloy, senior vice president for research and economic development at Rutgers. “Forward-thinking science like this is important for economic future and we are pleased that Professor Riman is receiving such a prestigious national recognition.” Read more.

Engineering Outstanding Faculty Award Presented to Prof. Laura Fabris

Dr. Fabris, associate professor in Materials Science and Engineering, and a REI member, was recently awarded the Engineering Outstanding Faculty Award, for her outstanding contributions to her field, for her excellence in teaching and mentoring her students, and for her service within the university and her profession.  Read more

"America Converges Here" features REI intern Jacob Kupferberg

Rutgers Energy Institute (REI) undergraduate summer intern Jacob Kupferberg is featured prominently in RU’s “America Converges Here” video for his work in the Chhowalla Nano-materials & Devices Group. 


Jacob Kupferbergy was awarded a REI summer internship in 2016 for his project titled: MoS2 Cocatalyst on reduced Grapene Oxide Fibers for the Hydrogen Evolution Reaction.  

“REI has been a major education and research catalyst for activities in my group… This has led to transformational breakthroughs.”  said Dr. Manish Chhowalla, Professor, Associate Department Chair, of Materials Science and Engineering. 

To learn more about the Nano-materials & Devices Group research on graphene-based thin film electronic devices, click here.


Professor Manish Chhowalla is elected to class of 2017 MRS Fellows

Dr. Manish Chhowalla,  Professor (& Director of “Nanotechnology for Clean Energy” NSF IGERT Program), Materials Science and Engineering, and REI member, has been elected to the class of 2017 Materials Research Society (MRS) Fellows. According to MRS: "The title of MRS Fellow honors those MRS members who are notable for their distinguished research accomplishments and their outstanding contributions to the advancement of materials research, world-wide. The maximum number of new Fellow appointments each year is limited to 0.2% of the current MRS regular membership. Thus, the distinction is highly selective. We are fortunate to have received a large number of excellent nominations each year, which always makes the work of the selection committee extraordinarily demanding, but reflects very positively on the Fellow program, as well as on MRS."

Position Announcement: Research Assistantship in Agricultural Economics

Position Announcement:  Research Assistantship in Agricultural Economics

We seek an undergraduate or graduate student to work on a new project on the introduction of alternative technologies to ammonia production with Prof. Gal Hochman, Department of Agriculture, Food, and Resource Economics, in collaboration with Prof. Alan Goldman, Department of Chemistry and Prof. Frank Felder, the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy. The likelihood and scale of direct nitrogen reduction technologies depends on the cost of the new method relative to that of current practices or future alternatives. To this end, we developed a model that compares the techno-economics, sustainability, and energy use of direct nitrogen reduction to other alternatives and to the current route to synthetic fertilizers. The next step of this project includes the adding of renewable energy sources, intermittency, and the possibility of decentralizing the production of synthetic fertilizer production.  We will use numerical model, combined with real data to quantify the impacts of the various technologies and assess their economic impact – both in terms of efficiency and distribution. We also plan on better understanding barriers to the adoption of this technology.

The candidate will work closely with Prof. Hochman to: develop the numerical model and perform statistical analysis on the work Prof. Goldman and his team are doing. Salary will be hourly and commensurate with the skill and educational level of the candidate. The project will run for three years and pays $8,000 per year. The project plan is to have the model running within year one and the analysis completed by the end of the third year.

Job Requirements:  Excellent programming abilities, interest in the topic, and excellent communication skills in English.  A strong background in economics would be beneficial, but not a requirement. 

For consideration, please send a Resume, Personal Statement (1-2 pages), and an unofficial transcripts to Prof. Gal Hochman ( Review of applications will start immediately and continue until the position is filled.

SEBS Green Team Interns Help Develop Sustainable Solutions

Five Rutgers students participated in the Green Teams summer internship program of the PSEG Institute of Sustainability Studies at Montclair State University.  Among the five Rutgers students were two SEBS undergraduates,  Denia Cai Shi, Department of Plant Biology, and Dustin Wang, Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics.

The ten-week interdisciplinary paid internship program hired 45 students drawn from 10 universities. Building on the success of last year’s inaugural Green Team initiative, teams of five students were placed with a sponsoring corporate or municipal partner to help these leading regional and global businesses and organizations to develop sustainable solutions to challenges ranging from achieving zero waste to improving energy efficiency.

Denia Cai Shi worked with Earth Friendly Products to improve safety and reduce costs of waste disposal while  Dustin Wang worked with Princeton University and the Municipality of Princeton to develop waste management solutions.  Read more.

Michael Muller receives a 2017 Champion of Energy Efficiency in Industry Award

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has distinguished Professor Michael Muller as one of the 5 recipients of the 2017 Champion of Energy Efficiency in Industry Awards for a lifetime of leadership in developing training programs for students in industrial energy efficiency. Professor Muller has established the Center for Advanced Energy Systems and has been a central figure in the US Department of Energy Industrial Assessment Center program.

Professor Birnie Receives $500,000 NSF Grant to Support Innovative Technologies at Rutgers

Professor Dunbar Birnie, department of Materials Science and Engineering and Rutgers Energy Institute member, recently received a $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support Rutgers' inventions and innovation for the next five years.  He will work in collaboration with the Rutgers Office of Research Commercialization, the Rutgers Business School and the Rutgers Entrepreneurship Coalition to nuture Rutgers’ inventions through an NSF I-Corps “Site”. 

The Rutgers' I-Corp Site will provide mentoring and resources for faculty and student inventors to enhance commercialization prospects for their ideas.

Cutting the Cost of Ethanol, Other Biofuels and Gasoline

Researchers at Rutgers University-New Brunswick and Michigan State University devise way to reduce the amount of enzymes needed to convert biomass into biofuels.
Biofuels like the ethanol in U.S. gasoline could get cheaper thanks to experts at Rutgers University-New Brunswick and Michigan State University.

They’ve demonstrated how to design and genetically engineer enzyme surfaces so they bind less to corn stalks and other cellulosic biomass, reducing enzyme costs in biofuels production, according to a study published this month on the cover of the journal ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering.

“The bottom line is we can cut down the cost of converting biomass into biofuels,” said Shishir P. S. Chundawat, senior author of the study and an assistant professor in the Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering at Rutgers University-New Brunswick.

“An Assessment of ARPA-E” released by National Academies of Science

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has released a publication titled “An Assessment of ARPA-E”. The ARPA-E is the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, which has funded research into tackling US energy issues and engineering.

Rutgers Energy Institute Energy Contest Proposals Reduce Energy on Campus

2017 Energy Contest

Energy Institute Innovation Contest winners (Left to Right) Timothy Lee, Tara Viray, Syed Hyder, and Mackenzie George


The Rutgers Energy Institute (REI) annually challenges Rutgers undergraduates to develop innovative and implementable plans for reducing energy consumption on the New Brunswick campus with its Energy Innovation Contest.


The contest is in its tenth year, representing the REI’s longstanding commitment to education and outreach. REI Associate Director, Kevin Lyons, from Rutgers Business School Department of Supply Chain Management presented this year’s awards at the 2017 REI Annual Symposium on May 3rd.


First place winners, who received a $2,500 prize, were Syed Hyder (Mechanical Engineering major, minor in Economics) and Tara Viray (Public Health major, minor in Biochemistry) for “Power Stripping and Reducing Rutgers’ Energy Consumption.” Second place winner of $1,500 was Mackenzie George (Environmental, Policy, Institutions and Behavior major) for “Trash to Cash.” Third place winner of the $1,000 prize was Timothy Lee (Chemistry major) for “Go Electric: Analysis of an All-Electric Transportation Fleet at Rutgers University.


REI Associate Director Rachael Shwom, from Rutgers Department of Human Ecology, has seen many innovative and technically feasible ideas proposed for the contest. “This contest gives students the opportunity and incentive to explore unique solutions and really dig in and develop them. I’ve been very impressed with the quality of entries and the students always learn a lot from the process.”


The contest 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. Several of the student proposals have been implemented by the University, most notably tray-less dining and use of aerobic digesters. Students have also gained internships with corporations that produce the researched technology from their REI contest proposals.


Top prize winner Tara Viray commented on how the”… contest really changed my mindset on my ability to make an impact in the Rutgers community. Our plan was simple enough, and the REI Energy Contest 1st placething that mattered most to us was incorporating the students on campus to reduce their overall energy consumption. Through this contest I have become more aware of my energy consumption, and I hope that the outcome of our project will allow other students to be aware as well.”


This year’s winning plan, “Power Stripping and Reducing Rutgers’ Energy Consumption”, proposed to implement smart/advanced power strips into all on-campus residence halls. Smart or advanced power strips prevent standby power consumption - which is the electricity a device consumes when it is “off”, but still plugged in.  It is sometimes called “vampire energy” or “phantom energy”.  At approximately $10 per power strip, they can potentially save around 5,000,000 kilowatt-hours and $540,000 per year. The goal is to educate and change how the average student consumes electricity, and the use of advanced power strips (APS) is a simple yet efficient way to save energy, money, and the environment.  Learn more about standby power from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL)  and advanced power strips (APS) from National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

REI Energy Contest 2nd place

Mackenzie George, 2017 second place winner, said “I recently became more interested in energy at Rutgers this past semester after taking Environmental Solutions with Professor Shwom… My main goal for the future of energy here at Rutgers is to increase public awareness and involvement. I think it is important to involve people in fun and innovative ways, which is partly what inspired my proposal in the first place; ’Trash to Cash' incentivizes recycling by turning it into a fun game where students compete against one another to reduce their impact. Overall, the entire experience was very thought-provoking, and I look forward to learning more about energy use and how I can help create a more efficient energy future during my time at Rutgers.“


2017 third prize winner Timothy Lee was also the 2016 first prize winner. Timothy said, “The energy contest is a great way to engage students and have them thinking about local REI Energy Contest 3rd placeimprovement. There is a facet of energy or efficiency that can be improved in every corner of our lives as Rutgers students: buses, dining hall waste, residence halls, etc. Making energy-efficient changes doesn't have to make our lives harder or more conservative; it can instead improve our quality of life…”. Timothy recently graduated and is going to pursue a Ph.D. next fall at University of Pennsylvania in Materials Science Engineering to develop clean energy solutions while incorporating his chemistry knowledge. “I'm very excited about what the future of energy holds for us” said Lee, a sentiment echoed by the REI.


Learn more about these winning proposals at the REI website.  You can also view videos of the first place, second place, and third place winners.