Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Trustee Makes Donation To Start New Solar Energy Research Center at Rensselaer

04.11.2008
Researchers at the center will work to develop the next generation of solar technology by studying one of the most powerful energy converting machines in world – plants. Researchers will use sophisticated new technologies and techniques to understand the energy converting power of plants to develop new technologies that mimic this extremely efficient natural system.

Thomas R. Baruch, a member of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Board of Trustees and alumnus of the Class of 1960, has donated a gift that will help to establish a new center at the Institute devoted to bio-energy research. The new center — the Baruch ’60 Center for Biochemical Solar Energy Research — will conduct unprecedented research on biochemical solar technology.

Researchers at the center will work to develop the next generation of solar technology by studying one of the most powerful energy converting machines in world – plants. Researchers will use sophisticated new technologies and techniques to understand the energy converting power of plants to develop new technologies that mimic this extremely efficient natural system.

“We are grateful to have a partner in Tom Baruch who fully understands the vision of The Rensselaer Plan, and the pressing need to pursue visionary and innovative efforts to develop new approaches to energy security around the world,” said Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson. “The center will expand the energy research network that Rensselaer is actively building across the Institute, and will offer researchers around the globe fundamental scientific research on the original solar panel – plants – as well as technological solutions to create the super-efficient man-made solar technologies of the future.”

“It is my hope that this center will expand on Rensselaer’s very strong foundation in energy research and establish Rensselaer and its faculty and students as leaders at the forefront of solar energy research,” Baruch said. “The research talent and infrastructure of Rensselaer create the perfect storm of ideas and innovations that I believe will result in the creation of solar technologies with greater efficiency of even the most sophisticated silicon solar panels available on the market today.”

The center will include faculty from a variety of disciplines and research backgrounds. In the initial stages, the research will center on molecular chemistry and biochemistry to map out the step-by-step processes that nature’s perfect green machines go through to convert solar rays into life-sustaining energy, according to Rensselaer Provost Robert Palazzo. “The research will begin by looking at the processes that plants use to intake and utilize the energy from the sun at such an amazing level of efficiency,” he said. “This scientific knowledge could provide other Rensselaer scientists and engineers information to develop new technologies that present an entirely new means of harnessing energy from the sun.”

Jonathan Dordick, director of the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies and a chemical engineer, also envisions strong possibilities for entirely new forms of light-capturing technologies. “Ultimately, biomimetic designs will be integrated with nature’s biological machinery to provide scalable, efficient, and broadly applicable systems that convert light into usable and storable energy. This has the potential to revolutionize future energy generation and secure our future as a safe and sustainable society.”

K.V. Lakshmi, assistant professor of chemistry and chemical biology, will help lead the effort at the center to capture the extremely complex reactions of photosynthesis in action, which is a vital first step in the research process. One of the recipients of the first-ever federal Department of Energy (DOE) funding for the investigation of biochemical solar power, Lakshmi is working with fellow assistant professors of chemistry and chemical biology James Kempf, an expert in Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) techniques, and Mark Platt, an expert in plant protein and spectroscopy, to understand how the inner workings of the plant protein complex transforms light into power through photosynthesis. Their colleagues, including assistant professor of chemistry and chemical biology and molecular chemist Peter Dinolfo, as well the faculty in disciplines from biology to chemical engineering will use this foundational knowledge to build synthetic replications of the natural systems to capture and move light energy.

“There is absolutely no doubt that the single most daunting problem that is facing this country and the world is energy independence and security,” Lakshmi said. “Solar energy conversion is an important area of research with unbelievable implications for the future. We need transformational science, on the interface of chemistry, biology and physics, to create new technological innovations for solar energy utilization that represent the great convergence of the 21st century.”

Thomas Baruch is founder and managing director of CMEA Ventures. He began his investment career at the Battelle Development Corporation and then at Exxon Corporation. Tom formed CMEA Ventures with New Enterprise Associates (NEA) in 1989 after previously having founded and served as CEO of Microwave Technology Inc., a supplier of gallium arsenide integrated circuits and value-added sub-systems. Tom currently heads up CMEA Ventures’ energy and materials investments. He currently serves as the chairman of the board of materials and energy companies including: Codexis Inc., Cnano Technologies, Intermolecular, and Wildcat Discovery Technologies. Baruch also currently serves on the boards of Biolight, Entropic Communications (ENTR), Exela, Luminus Devices, Newpath, and Solyndra.

Baruch holds an engineering degree from Rensselaer and a Juris Doctor degree from Capital University. He joined the Rensselaer Board of Trustees in October 2002. He is also a member of the board of trustees of the Berkeley Institute for Synthetic Biology (BISB) and the board of trustees of That Man May See Foundation.

Gabrielle DeMarco | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.rpi.edu

Further reports about: New Solar Energy SOLAR new technologies solar energy solar technology

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Organic-inorganic heterostructures with programmable electronic properties
30.03.2017 | Technische Universität Dresden

nachricht Researchers use light to remotely control curvature of plastics
23.03.2017 | North Carolina State University

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

'On-off switch' brings researchers a step closer to potential HIV vaccine

30.03.2017 | Health and Medicine

Penn studies find promise for innovations in liquid biopsies

30.03.2017 | Health and Medicine

An LED-based device for imaging radiation induced skin damage

30.03.2017 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>