By Ken Schachter
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) According to Bloomberg data, Global investment in clean energy, including solar, wind and battery projects, was $138.2 billion from January through June. Stony Brook University is tapping into that enthusiasm at the “Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center” which is churning out some super exciting projects.
Researchers and energy entrepreneurs at Stony Brook University are tackling a $1 trillion challenge: How to curb energy use and nudge users toward sustainable power sources.
That number — what Americans spent on energy in 2016, according to a federal agency — offers a powerful incentive to develop more efficient and cleaner technologies. So do government targets such as New York State’s goal to generate half of the state’s electricity through renewables by 2030.
Scientists at Stony Brook’s 49,000-square-foot Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center — which was built with $35 million from New York State — are taking on about 35 projects, including self-cleaning solar panels, a natural gas-fired heat pump and water heater, fast-charging electric car batteries and others.
“Our focus [is] on big societal problems — it’s why we selected energy as a major thrust,” said Fotis Sotiropoulos, dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. The goal is not simply research, but concepts that can become businesses: “We really focus on research that has a translatable component.”
Customers are expressing interest in some of the products. One company at the center, Unique Technical Services, is working with UPS on converting diesel delivery vehicles to electric and fuel-cell power.
David C. Hamilton, director of operations at the center, is a former executive at fuel cell, utility and satellite radio companies. He mentors researchers in creating a brand, writing grant applications and launching products in the marketplace. “I live vicariously through these guys,” he said.