Syracuse University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science has a special opportunity to be an internationally recognized leader in research, development and demonstration (RD&D) of clean energy – a rapidly expanding area of critical importance to the US and the world. At the College, two overlapping “thrust areas” have emerged as having a critical mass of faculty, substantial investment in research equipment and infrastructure, a track record of sustained research funding coupled with an excellent potential for substantial funding growth, and active faculty collaborations both within the College and across SU. These two areas are: A) energy-efficient buildings, and B) energy-efficient “green” IT systems.
These areas are closely linked and constitute different manifestations of the concept of nested energy systems pioneered by the College – interdependent systems that span a broad cascade of scales, from computer chips or building occupants to clusters of multiple buildings.
The College also boasts a group of faculty which focuses on clean energy sources and energy-efficient conversion methods. These faculty are making important contributions to research in biofuels, solar energy, wind power, electro-chemical processes, and high-efficiency combustion. Like the more specific areas of green buildings and green IT systems, research in these areas at the College also takes place on multiple scales. Examples include:
- combustion systems: from understanding combustion processes at the micro-level to designing boiler applications;
- biofuel processes: from using nano-particles to enhance algae growth to employing heterogeneous catalysis to convert and refine biomass into usable liquid or gaseous fuels;
- wind power: from modeling turbulent flow at the blade interface to optimizing the layout of turbines in a wind farm;
- components of a green data center: from powering computer chips to building-wide tri-generation heating/cooling/power systems.
The Energy Sources, Conversion, and Conservation research area is strengthened by the strong history of collaboration with the Syracuse Center of Excellence, faculty in the chemistry and process engineering programs at SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry, and on-going collaborations with faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences, the Syracuse Biomaterials Institute, and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Spanning all four departments of the College, it builds on the many energy-related research projects currently underway at the College and includes research activities by over 25% of the College’s faculty members.