Boise State U Opens Energy Efficiency Research Institute

Boise State University (ID) has announced that it will launch an Energy Efficiency Research Institute in collaboration with the University of Idaho, Idaho State University and the Idaho National Laboratory. The institute will use the university’s campus as a learning laboratory to establish better energy efficiency techniques, measurements and practices. Researchers plan to analyze data collected from electrical meters to generate ways to make the campus more energy efficient.

Eastern Kentucky U Opens Center for Renewable Energy

Eastern Kentucky University has opened its Center for Renewable and Alternative Fuel Technologies. The facility has two large labs set for algae research and biomass analysis to create fuel for running vehicles. The center will host 10 research faculties to study biofuels and teach students agriculture, chemistry, biology and economics.

Oil Companies Turning to Institutions for Commercial Research

Oil companies have given millions to support energy research at institutions in the past decade, according to a recent report by the Center for American Progress. The report analyzes 10 research collaboration contracts between U.S. institutions and companies with a direct commercial stake in future energy markets like Chevron Corp., Exxon Mobil Corp. and ConocoPhillips. Much of the funding is being used for research into new sources of alternative energy and renewable energy, mostly biofuels. The report looks at why highly profitable oil companies are turning to institutions to perform their commercial research and development instead of conducting the work in-house, and why institutions are choosing to partner with oil companies.

U Mass Dartmouth Plans for Offshore Renewable Energy Test Site

The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth has announced plans to create a 300-square-mile zone offshore that will allow companies to test systems to create energy from wind, tides or waves. The National Ocean Renewable Energy Innovation Zone has received $1.5 million in federal funds and $160,000 from the office of the university's president. A related grant of $748,000 was announced for a two-year study of wind and ocean renewable energy resources based at the zone.

Saint Joseph's U Receives $1 Mil for Alternate Fuel, Green Roofs

Saint Joseph's University (PA) has been awarded $1 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to study switchgrass as a potential biofuel crop and to conduct a comparison of green roof systems. The multi-year switchgrass study will look at the effects of changes in precipitation, temperature, nitrogen disposition and elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide on the potential yield of switchgrass varieties. The university will also install a system to permit a direct, side-by-side comparison of a variety of commercial green roof systems. Educational events including public tours of the green roof facility will be held throughout the research process.

Chatham U Revives Campus Root Cellar

In addition to providing Chatham University (PA) students with a place to hold their apple orchard and organic garden bounty, the recent restoration of the Eden Hall Root Cellar is part of an ongoing research project that will include the concept in a sustainable, affordable model kitchen design. Chatham professors in the interior architecture department believe that as energy costs rise, root cellars should make a comeback as a low-cost way to keep produce through the winter. Apples, potatoes, beets, celeriac root, horseradish, Belgian endive, cabbage, carrots and winter squash will keep for up to six months in a root cellar. The research is looking at ways to incorporate old and new technologies like an insulated root vegetable storage drawer that is vented to maintain the outside room temperature. Students will help document temperature and humidity levels in the cellar and feed the results into a software program that will determine an optimum environment.

Syracuse U Receives Plug-In Hybrids for Demonstration Programs

Syracuse University (NY) has received two Toyota Prius plug-in hybrids as part of Toyota Motor Sales, Inc.'s U.S. plug-in demonstration program. As the vehicles gather miles, data such as fuel economy, miles driven and charging times will be viewable online. Demonstration partners will share data and compare usage and performance of the vehicles. The university’s participation in the program will allow students to determine the benefits of a plug-in hybrid vehicle.

U Washington, Oregon State U Collaborate on Wave Energy

The Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center, a Department of Energy-funded partnership between Oregon State University and the University of Washington, will begin researching the ability to harness energy from the ocean. Oregon State University will focus on wave energy research and development while the University of Washington will concentrate on tidal energy research and development.

North Carolina State U Researchers to Study Electrical Grid

North Carolina State University's Centennial Campus has announced that research scientists, in conjunction with the Future Renewable Electric Energy Delivery and Management Systems Center, will use newly installed solar panels on campus to study how to integrate alternative technologies with the electrical grid. The center, under the leadership of the university’s College of Engineering, received funding from the National Science Foundation. The goal of the center is to tackle technological challenges associated with decentralization and integration of the nation’s power grid with wind, solar and other alternative energy sources.

Pennsylvania State U Researchers Converts Canola Seed to Fuel

Pennsylvania State University researchers have begun conducting an experiment to see if pressing canola seed can convert it into cooking oil and biodiesel fuel. The goal of the project is to create and produce a form of canola oil that can be used in on-campus dining hall fryers and in return use for fuel. The project hopes to produce biodiesel through plant oils such as soybean, canola, rapeseed and camelina.

Rutgers U Camden Professor Looks to E. coli for Biodiesel

An associate professor of computer science at Rutgers University-Camden (NJ) is researching how to engineer the bacteria E. coli to produce biodiesel fuel derived from fatty acids. The professor is after a more sustainable way to create renewable energy by making fuels without the use of food. The project will continue with the assistance of researchers from Harvard University (MA).

Washington State U Works With Camelina Farmer for Fuel

Washington State University has partnered with a local wheat and barley farmer who has dedicated part of his operation to camelina, an ancient oilseed crop and one of the newest possibilities for sustainable biofuels production. University scientists will work with the farmer on refining camelina varieties, cropping practices, economics and marketing. Every 100 pounds of seed produces between five and six gallons of oil.

Evergreen State College Performs Biomass Plant Study

Spurred by the students, faculty and administrators working to make Evergreen State College (WA) carbon neutral by 2020, the college has started a $200,000 study to determine whether a $10 million investment in wood waste makes technical, economic and environmental sense. Natural gas currently burned in campus steam boilers equals 40 percent of the college’s carbon footprint. Proponents believe that substituting wood waste to create steam with a biomass gasification plant will create fewer pollutants and as long as the wood waste is replenished in the forest, the net effect is that carbon released in the atmosphere is equal to the carbon stored in trees. Opponents believe the biomass project will emit twice as much carbon as the gas-fired plant.

U Toledo Announces Solar Research and Development Partnership

The University of Toledo (OH) has partnered with silicone supplier Dow Corning for discussions on photovoltaic solar research and development efforts to help reduce solar energy costs. The collaboration will offer researchers from both organizations the opportunity to share data and technology, and could include additional universities and businesses in the future.

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan U Collects Sustainable Living Data

The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University's (South Africa) Georgia campus has begun a campus project to collect data on sustainable living compared to that of conventional households. The university launched the Green Campus Initiative to compare three houses equipped with solar energy geysers and rainwater harvesting systems to a sample of identical houses utilizing conventional systems. Student homes were equipped with solar panels for heating water and simple mechanisms to ensure sustainable use of water. Two groups of students living in each type of house are monitoring and comparing daily energy and household water consumption. The research will be used to raise awareness about energy consumption and the campus hopes the results will help develop a practical model that can be applied to other institutions.

NY Times Features Masdar Institute for Science and Technology

The New York Times recently featured the Masdar Institute for Science and Technology (Abu Dhabi). The school is the centerpiece of a $22 billion research park outside of Abu Dhabi, says the article, and was created to further Abu Dhabi's plan to transform itself from a resource-based economy to one rooted in the knowledge and service sectors. The school's vision is to become a world leader in energy and sustainability research. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has signed on to consult through 2012, helping to develop the school's academic and research programs; recruiting, interviewing and recommending all faculty hires; drafting the terms and conditions of employment; and helping to select the first class of students. The school will launch its doctoral program this fall.

U Queensland Awarded $6.5 Mil for Algae Aviation Fuel Research

The University of Queensland (Australia) has been awarded nearly $6.5 million in state government funding for research that aims to produce aviation fuel from algae. The aviation biofuel research is backed by Boeing and Virgin Blue airlines and will be spearheaded by the university's Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology.

U York Debuts Suite of Green Chemistry Laboratories

The University of York (UK) has debuted the Green Chemical Technology Facility with plans to advance its research in renewable resources. Funded in part by the Wolfson/Royal Society and the European Regional Development Fund, the laboratory will enable the university to explore biomaterials, clean synthesis and platform molecules, and study the effects of microwaves on compounds for the selective conversion of biomass to chemicals with a biorefinery microwave demonstrator.

Rochester Inst of Tech to Research Energy Use in Collections

The Rochester Institute of Technology's (NY) Image Permanence Institute has received two grants totaling $648,405 to fund sustainable heating, venting and air conditioning operations in campus library, archives and museum collections. The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) will fund a three-year project that will search for the best ways to reduce energy use without compromising the preservation quality of collection environments. The NEH will also fund a two-year education and training project that will help collections staff avoid risks to collections while supporting sustainability and energy-reduction efforts.

U California San Diego Partners with SANYO for Energy Research

The University of California, San Diego has announced a research collaboration with electronic corporation SANYO. The multi-year, multi-disciplinary collaboration will focus on renewable energy and energy storage research, development and education. The partnership will explore ways to combine technology through joint research, and create an Energy Development Open Platform to propose application services able to optimize energy use.

Vermont Law School Receives Grant for Smart Grid Research

Vermont Law School’s Institute for Energy and the Environment has received a $450,000 federal grant to conduct smart grid research and analysis. The project will assess the U.S. power grid’s legal and regulatory structures on the national, regional and state levels to improve load management and system efficiency. The project will also provide the legal and policy foundation needed to protect customer information and increase the efficiency of the transmission system, which will reduce financial costs and environmental emissions.

U Minnesota Morris Produces Fertilizer from Wind

The University of Minnesota, Morris has designed a $3.75 million carbon-free system that uses wind power from a turbine to produce a common nitrogen-based fertilizer. The fertilizer produced will be used on university farmland. The plant will use surplus energy generated on-site by a 1.65-megawatt wind turbine that already helps power the campus. The system creates fertilizer by using an air separation unit to pull nitrogen from the air, while the turbine powers large electrolyzers that separate water into hydrogen and oxygen. The nitrogen and hydrogen are then synthesized into anhydrous ammonia using a century-old chemical process called Haber-Bosch. Using wind to power the electrolyzers instead of natural gas makes it a carbon-free process that releases no greenhouse gases.

Indiana U Announces Sustainability Grant Recipients

Indiana University has announced four recipients of its Sustainability Research Development Grants. The winning research initiatives cover topics that include agroforestry in southern Mexico, the impact on community sustainability of Home Depot's product donation program, remediation of exotic invasive species in Dunn's Woods, and food waste at Indiana University. Each project will receive $10,000 that can be used for graduate fellowships, faculty research fund awards, or summer faculty fellowships.

U Nevada Reno Receives Grant for National Geothermal Institute

The University of Nevada, Reno has received a $1.2 million federal grant to develop and operate the National Geothermal Institute. The institute will provide research and augment work at the University’s Great Basin Center for Geothermal Energy. The institute will serve as a consortium of geothermal schools, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cornell University (NY), Stanford University (CA), the Oregon Institute of Technology, and the University of Utah. The geothermal program is expected to offer a series of eight one-week courses with additional field trips and a project required. Classes may begin as early as the spring semester of 2011.

EPA Announces 2010 P3 Award Winners

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced the winners of its 2010 P3 (People, Prosperity, and the Planet) Awards Competition. The national competition enables college students to research, develop, and design scientific, technical, and policy solutions to sustainability challenges. Paul Anastas, EPA's Assistant Administrator for the Office of Research & Development, increased the number of awards issued to 14 (totaling $1 million) this year because the projects were so impressive. The winners include: Appalachian State University (NC); Clarkson University (NY); Clemson University (SC); Cornell University (NY); Drexel University (PA); Harvard University (MA); Humboldt State University (CA); North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University; Roger Williams University (RI); Texas A&M University; University of Illinois at Champaign; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and Virginia Tech.

U Western Ontario Plans Wind Research Center

University of Western Ontario has announced plans to build a $25 million dollar wind turbine research center. The Wind, Engineering, Energy and Environment (WindEEE) Dome will serve as a wind tunnel, test turbine designs and parts, and study the most efficient way to capture wind energy. The facility will help improve the structural engineering of wind turbines and the design of wind farms. The WindEEE Dome is designed to be 40 meters across and will contain more than 100 fans, each about one meter in diameter. Together, they can create winds of up to 100 kilometers per hour.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Opens Solar Research Center

Massachusetts Institute of Technology has opened a new solar research center. The Eni-MIT Solar Frontiers Center is funded by Italian energy company, Eni. The Center, which aims to transform how the world produces and consumes energy, promotes research in advanced solar technologies through projects ranging from new materials to hydrogen production from solar energy.

Montclair State U Launches Institute for Sustainability Studies

Montclair State University (NJ) has opened its PSEG Institute for Sustainability Studies. Established by a $400,000 three-year grant from the PSEG Foundation, the Institute will conduct sustainability science research, education, public policy development, and outreach. The grant will allow the University to examine issues affecting long-term environmental practices and sustainability issues in New Jersey. The University will also research the management of urban watershed-coastal ecosystems. The program will begin with an international conference on sustainability this fall.

Mount Hood CC Opens Biodiesel Lab

Mount Hood Community College has announced plans to open a new biodiesel training lab. The lab will offer classes to students and members of the community who are interested in making biodiesel at home. The biodiesel lab is part of the College’s plans to create a green training center.

Stanford U Wins MIT Clean Energy Prize

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has announced that a team from Stanford University (CA) has been named the top winner of the MIT Clean Energy Prize for their design that will increase the efficiency of solar photovoltaic panels. The team of PhD chemical engineering students developed a carbon nano-based transparent electrode that will increase the efficiency of thin film photovoltaic solar panels by allowing up to 12 percent more sunlight to penetrate the panels. The other four finalists in the competition included a team from MIT which won the Energy Efficiency & Infrastructure Category, the University of Maryland which took first place in the Deployment Category, Georgia Institute of Technology which was the overall winner in the Transportation Category, and a combined MIT/Harvard University (MA) team that won the Clean Non-Renewables category. The competition is free and open to all US graduate and undergraduate students, with the condition that prize funds be used exclusively towards the launch of a new business established in the United States. Each of the finalists was rewarded $15,000, and the winning Stanford team received the $200,000 Grand Prize.

U Kentucky, U Louisville Receive $2M for Energy Research

The University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville (KY) have each received $2 million for energy research from E.ON, a German power company. UK's donation will support clean coal research, and U of L's funding will go towards engineering and energy-efficiency programs.

Columbia U Partners with IBM for Green Jobs

Columbia University's (NY) Department of Engineering and IBM have formed a joint initiative to provide technology resources to prepare students for the emerging green economy. The Smarter Cities Skills Initiative will provide Columbia faculty and students access to IBM software either on premise or in the cloud; technical support for green technology courses that show students how to build energy efficient IT infrastructures for smart buildings, smart grids, and smart water systems; and energy efficiency and open standards software development tools on IBM developerWorks. Additionally, Columbia faculty and students can have the opportunity to learn from and collaborate with IBM Research scientists on projects related to the future of smarter cities and sustainability.

Northeastern U Awarded $9.9M for Research on Environmental Health

Northeastern University (MA) has received a $9.9 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study the impact of exposure to environmental contamination on preterm birth rates and to develop sustainable solutions. Led by Akram Alshawabkeh, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Northeastern, the team will explore whether exposure to commonly found environmental contaminants and chemicals, such as phthalates and trichloroethylene, contribute to the high incidence of preterm births in Puerto Rico. They will pursue new sustainable technologies to identify and remove harmful chemicals from contaminated groundwater. Researchers from Northeastern’s College of Engineering and the Bouvé College of Health Sciences will collaborate with the University of Puerto Rico and University of Michigan on this interdisciplinary research project.

U.S. EPA Awards $1M+ to Colleges for Environmental Innovation

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded more than $1 million in grants to 14 college teams across the country who participated in the 6th Annual National Sustainable Design Expo on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Winners of the EPA’s People, Prosperity and the Planet (P3) awards developed sustainable projects and ideas that protect the environment, encourage economic growth, and use natural resources more efficiently. The national P3 award competition encourages college students to create sustainable solutions to worldwide environmental problems through technological innovation. Each P3 award winner receives up to $75,000 to further develop a design, implement it in the field, or move it to the marketplace. Winners of this year’s awards are Harvard University (MA), Clemson University (SC), Texas A&M University, Humboldt State University (CA), Appalachian State University (NC), Clarkson University (NY) (two teams), Cornell University (NY), University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Roger Williams University (RI), Virginia Tech, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, and Drexel University (PA). The EPA has posted Science Works Podcasts with its Sustainable Design Competition Winners.

U Oregon is Finalist for Intl Sustainable Research Award 2010

The University of Oregon's Sustainable Cities Initiative (SCI) was selected as a finalist for the 2010 Sustainable Research Globe Award. SCI represents a re-conceptualization of the research university as catalyst for sustainable community change. The multi-disciplinary, applied learning, and engaged community orientation allows SCI to serve as a model for universities around the world. This model combines scientifically rigorous research and exceptional student instruction and transforms them into a state of practice and knowledge catalyst for helping cities transition to more sustainable practice. While ultimately not accepted as the laureate, SCI was thrilled to be one of the finalists for the internationally recognized award, with competing entries from China, India, the UK, and Sweden.

Bowdoin College Awarded NASA Grant for Climate Change Research

Bowdoin College (ME) has been awarded a $1.5 million grant from The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to conduct multidisciplinary climate change research in the Gulf of Maine. The grant will fund a team of Bowdoin scientists and their colleagues at Michigan Tech, U.S. Geological Survey, Yale University (CT), and the University of New Brunswick using NASA satellite imagery to assess the flux and processing of dissolved organic carbon and nutrients from three major river systems draining into the Gulf of Maine. The project will incorporate historical data sets to develop a baseline of land use and climate change over the past century, and will include models for predicting how hydrology and carbon cycling is likely to be altered with projected changes in land use and climate change over time.

Dept of Energy Announces Teams to Compete in Solar Decathlon

The U.S. Department of Energy has announced the 20 collegiate teams selected to compete in the next U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, which will be held on the National Mall in Washington, DC in the Fall 2011. For two weeks, teams of college and university students from across the United States and the world will compete to design, build, and operate the most affordable, attractive, effective, and energy-efficient solar-powered house. Hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy, the competition will highlight affordable homes that combine energy-efficient construction and appliances with renewable energy systems that are available today. U.S. and Canadian teams include Appalachian State University (NC); the Research Foundation of CUNY (NY); Florida State University, The University of Central Florida, The University of Florida, and The University of South Florida; Stevens Institute of Technology (NJ) and the New School (NY); Massachusetts College of Art and Design and University of Massachusetts at Lowell; Rutgers the State University of New Jersey and New Jersey Institute of Technology; Middlebury College (VT); Florida International University; The Ohio State University; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Old Dominion University (VA) and Hampton University (VA); University of Maryland, College Park; Purdue University (IN); University of Calgary (AB); University of Tennessee; University of Hawaii; and The Southern California Institute of Architecture and California Institute of Technology.

Portland State U Partners to Foster EVs & Sustainability

Portland State University (OR) has partnered with Portland General Electric to help the region accommodate electric cars and renewable energy, design environmentally friendly buildings, and foster regional sustainability. The two organizations will work together to locate a network of charging stations for electric cars as part of a $100 million eTec-Nissan North America partnership that establishes charging stations in five states, including 2,000 in Oregon. The MOU also included a $50,000 commitment over two years to create a PGE Foundation Renewable Energy Research lab.

U Toledo Establishes Sustainable Materials Institute

The University of Toledo (OH) has recently established the Institute for Sustainable Engineering Materials. The institute will research ways to make industrial processes and materials more sustainable. They will look into how to increase the amount of waste recycled and to decrease the overall amount of waste used.

Denison U Professor Receives Sustainability Research Grant

Joe Reczek, assistant professor of chemistry at Denison University, has been granted a Cottrell College Science Award from the Research Corporation for Scientific Advancement (RCSA). With the $41,000 grant, Reczek and several Denison students will investigate the possibilities of new organic chemistry compounds and their applications for solar cells.

Rochester Inst of Tech Awarded Library Energy Reduction Grant

The Image Permanence Institute at Rochester Institute of Technology (NY) has received a $580,174 grant for a major research project dealing with sustainable preservation practices in libraries. Many libraries maintain tightly controlled, energy-intensive environments for their stacks, special collections and exhibition spaces. For budgetary reasons and concerns about global climate change, libraries are searching for ways to responsibly and safely lower energy consumption. This project will investigate a promising method for libraries to achieve significant reductions in energy use without compromising the preservation quality of collection environments through a carefully monitored and risk-managed shutdown of air handling units during unoccupied hours. RIT will partner with libraries at Yale University (CT); University of California, Los Angeles; and Cornell University (NY); as well as the Birmingham Public Library and the New York Public Library.

Council of Ontario Universities Announces Research Chairs

The Council of Ontario Universities has announced three research chairs in environmental science. The Ontario Research Chair in Renewable Energy Technologies and Health has been awarded to the University of Waterloo and its candidate, Dr. Siva Sivoththaman. The two Ontario Research Chairs in Green Chemistry and Engineering have been awarded to Queen's University and its candidate, Dr. Michael Cunningham, and to Trent University and its candidate, Dr. Suresh Narine. Dr. Sivoththaman will bring focus to multi-disciplinary activities in renewable energy technologies and health, ensuring that health and safety are top priorities in the induction of new technologies. His research program will develop new technical approaches and will provide guidelines in setting standards to ensure health and safety in the manufacturing, use, and end-of-life phases of renewable energy technologies. Dr. Cunningham's research interests are in polymer science, with a focus on replacing environmentally harmful processes that employ organic solvents with more environmentally benign water-based processes that do not use solvents. His research will exploit newly discovered materials that can "switch" their properties and the latest chemistry techniques to control polymer product properties, using manufacturing methods that minimize environmental impact. Dr. Narine will focus on the use of natural oils to develop new high-value, high-performance, and toxic free/neutral chemicals, materials, and polymers.

U Arizona Creates Solar Park

The University of Arizona has established a new Solar Zone at its Science and Technology Park. The Solar Park will be an interdisciplinary and collaborative hub for researchers and industry to develop and promote renewable energy.

U Florida Receives $870K NASA Climate Change Research Grant

The University of Florida has received $870,000 from NASA to study how to better adapt to climate change. The NASA Land Use Land Cover Change Program grant will fund an interdisciplinary project that will analyze relationships among climate variability, climate change, land use and land cover change. Using remote sensing applications and socio-economic surveys, the project aims to create models that could enhance planning for sustainable resource use and help the people in these areas adapt to climate change. The grant will support graduate students and allow the project to conduct summer fieldwork in Botswana, Namibia, and Zambia.

U Wisconsin Oshkosh Receives 2 Grants to Construct Biodigester

The University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh has received a $500,000 grant from the federal government and a $232,587 grant from Wisconsin Focus on Energy to build a dry fermentation anaerobic biodigester, which will convert year and food waste into fuel. The renewable energy facility will include heat and power generators, which will produce up to five percent of the campus’s electricity and heating needs. The biodigester needs 6,000 tons of organic biowaste per year to provide a 400 kilowatt output. The majority of the waste will be provided by campus and community sources with the remainder being supplied from other area partners.

U California Berkeley Awarded $24.5M to Reduce Electricity Usage

The University of California, Berkeley has been awarded $24.5 million to fund a multi-institutional research center that would aim to reduce power consumption by electronics. The five-year grant by the National Science Foundation will be used to establish the Center for Energy Efficient Electronics Science, or E3S, one of only five multi-institutional Science and Technology Centers to be established this year. UC Berkeley researchers will team up with colleagues at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University (CA), Contra Costa College (CA), Los Angeles Trade Technical College (CA), and the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama to dramatically dampen electronics' appetite for power.

Two Michigan Institutions Awarded Offshore Wind Research Grants

Grand Valley State University's Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center and University of Michigan's Memorial Phoenix Energy Institute have partnered to study the potential for offshore wind energy in Lake Michigan. The two institutions recently received $1.34 million in state grants to help pay for the construction of a floating data-collection platform in Lake Michigan.

4 Institutions Receive Research Grant for IT Energy Efficiency

A team of computer scientists from Rutgers University (NJ), the University of California at Santa Barbara, the University of Michigan, and the University of Virginia have received a two-year, $1 million research grant from Google to help reduce energy usage in large Internet data centers. The team will explore ways to create low power modes in servers, allowing parts of the computer to be turned off while other parts remain accessible. The goal is to allow less active servers to move their processing loads to other servers and essentially go to sleep. The goal of such redesigns would be to conserve 40 to 50 percent of the power that servers now consume. The team members are all affiliated with UCSB’s Greenscale Center for Energy-Efficient Computing.

U California Merced Prof Receives Grant to Study Solar Energy

Professor Alberto Cerpa of the University of California, Merced has received a $568,202 grant from the National Science Foundation to develop a system to track the amount of sunlight collected by solar panels on the ground. This information will make it easier for electricity providers to plan and manage solar generation systems within their electrical grids. The research project will use a network of sensors to collect solar irradiance data at ground levels. The sensors will measure and track cloud cover, aerosol content, and the presence of gases such as water vapor and carbon dioxide - all of which can reduce the amount of sunlight a solar cell can collect - in the Earth’s lower atmosphere and stratosphere.

U Idaho Joins Forestry Research System

The University of Idaho has received a $400,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to help university forestry researchers solve industry-wide problems. The University will use the funding to establish a research site in the Center for Advanced Forest Systems (CAFS), a program that links university-based forestry research programs in the U.S. By joining CAFS, the university will increase information sharing and optimize research in the areas of silviculture, biometrics, bioenergy, site resource availability, forest genetics, and geospatial analysis of forest productivity.