Applying academic research to help accelerate low-carbon innovation, Princeton’s ZERO Lab has created a new coalition, bringing together companies and researchers focused on scalable clean energy technologies. The consortium, aligned with the Princeton E-ffiliates Partnership corporate membership program, includes founding members Google, GE and ClearPath.
Jesse Jenkins, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and at the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment and principal investigator of ZERO Lab, helped design and launch the new consortium with the goal of helping organizations transform their activities and, in turn, make key energy technologies more commercially viable and faster to deploy.
“We want to provide actionable insights and roadmaps that can support decision-making, guide investment, and accelerate innovation,” Jenkins said.
The consortium aims to help leaders across various sectors of the energy industry accelerate the adoption of new clean energy technologies. Jenkins explained why he recruited these early members.
Google was the first global company to commit to matches the energy request his data centers and offices around the world with local carbon-free power on an hour-by-hour basis, referred to as 24/7 carbon-free electricity supply. The company also has a long track record of investing in startups clean technologies and using its purchasing power to transform clean electricity markets.
GE is an equipment manufacturer with a broad portfolio of energy technologies, including onshore and offshore wind turbines, gas turbines and advanced nuclear power. Thanks to this technology, the company contributes to producing a third of the world’s electricity. The company is also developing new technologies, such as hydrogen-powered gas turbines, carbon capture solutions, superconducting offshore wind generators and advanced nuclear reactors with small modular reactors.
ClearPath develops and advocates for clean energy policy, with a focus on disruptive innovations in the energy and industrial sectors.
Jenkins said the consortium will support two areas of research in his group: the development of models and methods to help inform decision-making, and the evaluation of technologies for economic, environmental and other impacts. Under its technology assessment pillar, ZERO Lab researchers conduct ongoing research into long-term energy storage, flexible geothermal energy systems, carbon capture and sequestration, and fusion power plants. commercial.
One of the consortium’s goals, Jenkins said, is to pool funding and maximize the research that can be done in this area when supported by organizations with similar interests. The program structure and flexible funding allow researchers to pivot quickly to tackle the most important and interesting research questions, without having to wait for specific funding rounds or granting agency calls for proposals. It also creates an opportunity for big players grappling with a clean energy future to connect, he said. Jenkins hopes to recruit other members to complement the group, such as a private venture capital group focused on clean energy or the investment arm of a utility.
GE, Google and ClearPath are also joining the Princeton E-ffiliates Partnership, the corporate membership program administered by the Andlinger Center. This will allow organizations to establish collaborations with faculty members on a range of topics, including optimizing data center power architecture, securing the power grid, and stream transformation. waste into carbon-rich resources.
“The consortium provides an example of the value of collaboration among our E-ffiliate members to maximize the impact of Andlinger Center research. The diverse perspectives offered by these consortium members enhances research quality and strengthens research impact for their individual organizations and for the broader national decarbonization effort,” said Chris Greig, Acting Associate Director of Partnerships. external to the Andlinger Center. “This has been a key goal of the Andlinger Center and the E-ffiliates since their founding,” said Greig, who is also theodora D. ’78 & William H. Walton III ’74 Principal Investigator at the Andlinger Center.
The collaboration builds on work Jenkins did with Google, which quantified the electrical system 24/7 benefits carbon free electricity supply. Research has found that using local carbon-free energy can prevent far more carbon pollution than buying enough renewable energy to meet annual needs, although he comes to one cost prime. The strategy also accelerates the deployment of advanced energy technologies, providing a critical niche market to scale up and down their costs over time, which encourages the large-scale transformation of power grids.