RIT and NYSERDA Partner to Advance Clean Energy Research and Education

Effort seeks to spur technology and economic development in upstate New York

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A new research and education collaboration seeks to promote upstate New York as a clean energy hub, while also enhancing the development of alternative energy technologies and professional development.

Francis J. Murray Jr., President and CEO of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, announced the new partnership with Rochester Institute of Technology during a ceremony on campus today. The multi-million dollar effort includes expanded research initiatives in hydrogen fuel technology, the development of a clean energy incubator and the creation of a clean energy research and training center.

“Under the leadership of Governor David A. Paterson, New York has been at the forefront in investing in alternative fuel and clean energy technologies that will revolutionize our use of energy,” says Murray. “The investments and partnerships announced today will improve our environment, reduce our dependence on foreign sources of energy, create a highly-skilled workforce and enhance the ability for innovative New Yorkers to develop new technologies that compete in global marketplaces.”

During the event, Murray unveiled RIT’s new hydrogen fueling station, which powers three hydrogen fueled vehicles currently operating on RIT’s campus. The demonstration initiative seeks to expand public understanding of the benefits of hydrogen fuel as well as to enhance education and research initiatives in sustainable mobility and alternative technology development. The project is being conducted by RIT’s Center for Integrated Manufacturing Studies, a unit of the Golisano Institute for Sustainability.

“Hydrogen fuel has the opportunity to become a central alternative to fossil fuel and it is our hope this project will increase general knowledge of the technology and ultimately assist designers in improving hydrogen transportation,” notes Nabil Nasr, director of the Golisano Institute for Sustainability.

In addition, two new RIT projects, funded by NYSERDA, were announced at the event: the Rochester Clean Energy Education Partnership and the RIT Clean Energy Incubator.

The Rochester Clean Energy Education Partnership is a collaboration between RIT and Monroe Community College and will create new college level courses, professional development initiatives and training programs in alternative energy technology and clean energy development. The courses, offered to undergraduates, graduates and professional engineers, will promote the continued incorporation of clean energy concepts in traditional engineering and science classes.

“This education partnership seeks to provide current and future engineers with the skills necessary to excel in the growing clean energy field which requires knowledge of a host of new technologies including fuel cell systems, wind power systems and solar cells,” adds James Myers, director of RIT’s Center for Multidisciplinary Studies and principle investigator for the project.

The RIT Clean Energy Incubator is a joint effort by the Golisano Institute for Sustainability and RIT’s Venture Creations business incubator and will assist early stage clean energy companies in product development, business and marketing planning and technology commercialization. The incubator is one of four statewide and is a part of Governor David A. Paterson’s comprehensive clean energy initiative announced in April as part of the state’s Earth Day celebration.

“Rochester has a tremendous potential to be a center for the growing clean energy economy and this incubator will enhance continued economic development in a host of areas, including wind energy, solar power and fuel cell development,” say Jerome Mahone, director of Venture Creations.

“These efforts in Rochester mirror NYSERDA initiatives across the state and signal a transformation of the economy and transportation sector to better address the needs and opportunities of clean energy processes and technologies,” Murray adds.

NYSERDA Contact: Sal Graven, NYSERDA, (518) 862-1090 ext 3331, sg2@nyserda.org