February 13, 2007

New York State Funds Clean-Energy Research Center, Test Farm

By: by Mark LaPedus, EE Times



San Jose, Calif. -- Following a series of moves by California in the emerging clean-energy sector, New York state last week launched a pair of energy initiatives with the help of the University of Albany's College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) and others. The groups teamed up to form a research center and an "energy test farm" in the state.

CNSE and Albany-based Einhorn Yaffee Prescott Architecture and Engineering P.C. (EYP) received $3.5 million in funds to start the National Institute for Sustainable Energy (Nise). EYP, a 300-person, multidisciplinary architectural, engineering and interior design firm, is a designer and proponent of energy efficiency in buildings. Nise, to be located within CNSE's Albany NanoTech complex, will develop and commercialize fuel cells, solar energy and other clean-energy technologies.

EYP will locate a new business group, EYP/energy, at the center. The group's staff of 15 will include executives, managers, architects, designers and engineers.

EYP and CNSE will also work on development of the energy test farm at the University of Albany. The test farm, with $1.9 million in funding from the New York State Office of Science, Technology and Academic Research (Nystar), will allow for the evaluation of "zero energy" concepts (wherein the energy generated by on-site renewable sources over a given period would equal the energy used) based on the development and testing of nanomaterials and nanoelectronics for such clean-energy technologies as fuel cells, solar photovoltaic cells, ultracapacitors and power electronics.

The research will be conducted by EYP and CNSE in collaboration with several New York-based alternative-energy companies, including DayStar Technologies (solar photovoltaics), Plug Power (fuel cells), MTech Laboratories (power electronics) and Custom Electronics (ultracapacitors).

"I look forward to working with the team of talented professionals at EYP as we launch this joint initiative, which comes amid growing recognition that further development of alternative energy technologies is of vital importance to our nation's energy and economic future," said Pradeep Haldar, an Albany professor and director of CNSE's Energy and Environmental Technology Applications Center.

"Certainly, the formation of Nise will build upon our efforts to expand a strong alternative-energy sector in New York, which already numbers more than 170 companies and is growing."