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Browse our research directory to learn about the expertise of our faculty. View abstracts of Andlinger-funded research. Learn about funding opportunities for research projects.
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Rapid Switch is a solutions-focused, international research effort led by the Andlinger Center for the Energy and the Environment that aims to identify a realistic pace and pathways for decarbonizing the world, sector by sector, and region by region.
Energy Technology Distillates is a series of publications that provide succinct yet substantive information about emerging topics in energy and the environment. Geared for policymakers, educators, students, and interested citizens, the briefings combine technological, economic, and policy considerations.
Princeton E-ffiliates Partnership, a membership-based program, offers corporations a unique opportunity to engage in big-picture thinking and to find innovative solutions in energy and the environment. Member companies engage in close collaborations with academic experts to pursue transformational innovations.
Find below faculty research that has been funded by the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment.
Primary Investigator: Forrest Meggers
Year Funded: 2014
The Beyond Shading project redefines the concept of cooling the built environment by exploiting overlooked modes of radiant heat transfer and new materials and methods for evaporative cooling, bridging fundamental research, applied research and design research, which has resulted in the 8m Thermoheliodome – a robotically fabricated foam pavilion following the sun path, exploiting indirect evaporative cooling, and making occupants perceive a cooler temperature by radiant heat transfer that is geometrically expanded through spectral reflection.
Primary Investigator: David Medvigy
Ignacio Rodriguez-Iturbe Elena Shevliakova
This project focuses on understanding climate syndromes of seasonality from both ecological and atmospheric perspectives. We seek to advance education and research by creating a broad understanding of seasonality, including its sensitivity to global change. We are using our analyses to address a wide range of climate-related environmental problems.
Primary Investigator: Daniel Steingart
Marcus Hultmark Michael Mueller
This project examins how different particulate fuels settle within a volume and studying how the surface energies can be exploited to create “fast” self assembly and disassembly of a small thin film battery. This project is inspired by self assembled battery efforts, but we are now assembling and disassembling the battery on a time scale of seconds to minutes.
Primary Investigator: Claire White
Precipitation of aluminosilicates in nanosized pores has been investigated using membrane-separated reactants (sodium silicate and aluminate solutions) under hydrothermal conditions. Reactants are seen to diffuse through the nanoporous membrane, with precipitation occurring predominately on the membrane surface. Further work is being conducted on assessing if precipitates formed in nanopores.
Forrest Meggers Barry Rand Claire White
This project examined two systems this year. System one included an alkaline-geopolymer battery, in which a brick becomes a battery through dual function materials. System two examined a perovskite photovoltaic ion conductor that attempts to exploit the transport properties of new photovoltaic systems as battery electrolytes.
Satish Myneni Jeffrey Fitts
Year Funded: 2013
Exposure of silicate-activated slag cement to various drying environments leads to extensive microcracking. Research has revealed that adding of a small amount of ZnO nanoparticles (approx. 1% wt.) significantly reduces the extent of microcracking. Underlying mechanisms have been investigated using optical microscopy, diffraction, porosimetry and synchrotron-based X-ray microtomography.
Primary Investigator: Yueh-Lin (Lynn) Loo
Michael A. Celia Eric D. Larson
This project explored processes for making liquid fuels from biomass, or biomass/shale gas co-feeds, and storing CO2 captured in the process in gas-depleted shales. Prospective CO2 injection rates into shale were found to be modest, but well matched to the CO2 capture rates. Under a strong carbon mitigation policy, low-carbon fuels from such systems may compete at crude oil prices below $100 per barrel.
Funding Source: Addy/ISN North American Low Carbon Emission Energy Self-Sufficiency Fund
Primary Investigator: Amy Craft
This research examines how our existing regulatory framework towards electricity markets needs to be amended as new distribution energy technologies emerge. This is important because many new renewable energy technologies reside near the end-user. We find that treating both distributed and system generation the same will lead to sub-optimal investments.
Primary Investigator: Anne M. Kraepiel
Peter Jaffe Francois Morel
Year Funded: 2012
The production of ammonium for crop fertilization consumes a substantial fraction of global fossil energy. Researchers are developing a technique (ISARA = isotope acetylene reduction assay) to quantify the activities of the different nitrogenase enzymes that catalyze the reduction of N2 to NH3 in nature. The technique has been successfully tested with laboratory cultures and is now being applied to natural samples.
Funding Source: Gerhard R. Andlinger Innovation Fund
Primary Investigator: Denise Mauzerall
The aim of this research is to evaluate air quality and climate benefits of current and potential future wind energy use in China, and to design wind deployment strategies that maximize environmental benefits. To achieve these objectives, investigators are collaborating with Chinese and European researchers to optimize various wind penetration scenarios and conduct regional air pollution model simulations to identify those that, given wind resource, coal power plant vintage, and transmission constraints, lead to the largest air quality and climate improvements. Results show that enlarging the power sector planning area to facilitate electricity transport from wind power production provinces to high electricity demand centers and preferentially decommissioning inefficient and highly polluting coal-fired power plants are key to maximizing emission reductions from increased wind power production.
Primary Investigator: Luigi Martinelli
Elie Bou-Zeid Alexander Smits
Very efficient and accurate time-dependent 3D Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) solvers and automatic shape optimization methods, developed at Princeton by L. Martinelli and collaborators over a period of twenty years, are used to carry out aerodynamic analysis and design of Vertical Axis Wind Turbines and other cross-flow rotors. The aim is to improve the aerodynamic performance of turbines by designing blades with wider stall margins. Particular emphasis is placed on the study of blades with leading-edge tubercles, as well as thickness variation along the span.
Primary Investigator: Sigrid Adriaenssens
The goal of this study was to scale-up elastic deformations, found in complex plant movements, as a shape-shifting strategy for lighter shading modules for building facades. A graduate student performed research in integration of biomimetic design in energy-efficient architecture, and wrote a master thesis, research proposal, and publications.
This project observes the growth of crystalline SiC nanoparticles on Si(001) at 900 ºC using in situ electron microscopy. Following nucleation and growth of the SiC, there is a massive migration of Si, forming a crystalline Si mound underneath each nanoparticle that lifts it 4-5 nm above the initial growth surface. The volume of the Si mounds is roughly five to seven times the volume of the SiC nanoparticles. We propose that relaxation of strain drives the mound formation. This new mechanism for relieving interfacial strain, which involves a dramatic restructuring of the substrate, is in striking contrast to the familiar scenario in which only the deposited material restructures to relieve strain.
Primary Investigator: Craig B. Arnold
This project seeks to develop a new class of low-cost and scalable composite electrode materials with high electronic conductivity and the potential to provide rapid ionic transport through a nanoporous architecture. In tackling these key challenges for Mg-ion positive electrodes, this research can open the door to new types of high-density, non-lithium based battery systems for use in large-scale energy storage.
Primary Investigator: Paul Chirik
This project explored the development of earth abundant catalysts, specifically cobalt, for the reduction of carbon dioxide. New synthetic entry points usually readily available cobalt sources were discovered, as were new convenient catalyst activation modes. Catalytic carbon dioxide reduction and unique alkene hydrofunctionalization reactions were developed and published.
Primary Investigator: Yiguang Ju
This research project was focused on development of new non-intrusive diagnostic tools of key intermediate species (OH, HO2, CH2O) and elementary reaction rates in fuel oxidation at low-temperatures (< 1500 K). The results of this research support development of novel combustion engine technologies operating at low-temperatures to increase efficiency while reducing emissions.
Primary Investigator: Christodoulos Floudas
Municipal solid waste (MSW) is a type of biomass that is abundantly available in the United States. This project developed a stoichiometric MSW gasifier model that is able to predict the effluent within a few percent of experimental data. The model can be incorporated within a process superstructure to produce liquid fuels, generate electricity, or produce commodity chemicals.
Funding Source: Princeton E-ffiliates Partnership
Primary Investigator: Bruce Koel
Results demonstrated principles for improving performance of hematite-based photoelectrocatalysts for solar water oxidation. Synthesized WO3–a-Fe2Oa composites exhibited one of the lowest onset potentials measured for hematite-based water oxidation. Surface science studies of Ni-doped hematite model electrocatalysts connected theoretical predictions with electrochemical performance of these materials.
Primary Investigator: George Scherer
Current world production of Portland cement accounts for over 7% of world C02 emissions and over 6% of total world energy generated for industrial purposes. Portland cement accounts for 33% of the fabrication cost of concrete, where concrete is composed of aggregates, such as crushed rock and sand, along with water and cement. Using a new method to study granular structures such as those formed by concrete aggregates, we have discovered a way to produce a denser packing of regularly shaped aggregates. Such a structure in concrete would require substantially less cement (predicted 10-20% less for concrete of equal strength), thus potentially resulting in significant reductions not only to production cost, but also to C02 emissions and energy requirements. Experimental tests of this approach yielded denser concretes, but with lower strength, apparently owing to the irregular shapes of natural aggregates that results in trapping of air pockets.
Primary Investigator: Ning Lin
Michael Oppenheimer Jianqing Fan
This project aims to create a new hurricane risk model. The developed statistical model of hurricane intensity surpasses current operational models and is being integrated into a full risk assessment framework. The risk assessment has been applied to study hurricane economic losses in the U.S., flood mitigation measures for New York City, and strategies to protect energy facilities in Galveston, TX. Unprecedented hurricane extremes (“Grey Swans”) are also studied for various regions around the world.
Year Funded: 2011
Results demonstrate that transport of iron oxide NP can be achieved in saturated aquifer sediments by introducing negatively charged polyelectrolytes and optimizing polymer concentrations, and that these coated NPs retain their bioavailability that is needed for applications in bio-environmental remediation. High Ca++ levels can coagulate the PAA coated nanoparticles, which needs to be taken into account.
Primary Investigator: Michael McAlpine
Thermal energy harvesting represents a promising avenue for recovering waste heat. Low-grade heat emanating from mills, factories, plants, and power stations is normally released to the environment, due to bulky and expensive equipment for effective heat reutilization. Direct conversion of waste heat to usable electricity could revolutionize areas ranging from improving building efficiency to portable power generation with variations in temperature.
Primary Investigator: Elie Bou-Zeid
Bou-Zeid group developed numerical simulation tools for evaporative/green walls and applied it to assess their cooling benefits. Reductions in the heat flux to the indoor by up to 80% were documented. These configurations have inspired the Stone group to design and perform associated experiments. The current design uses a continuous thin film flow of water to produce measurable cooling of an enclosed space.