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 The projected population increase to almost 10 billion by 2050  is prompting a major effort in supporting basic necessities of food, energy and water (FEW). The United Nations recently adopted 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) and energy is pervasive among all of them. Key energy-related areas include power and fuels production from renewable and low-carbon (natural gas) sources and efficient, reliable, and environmentally friendly energy delivery and consumption.

About 80% of all types of energy used in the United States is derived from fossil fuels. In 2015, the largest source of the country's energy came from petroleum (32%), followed by natural gas (28%), coal (21%), renewable sources (11%) and nuclear power (9%)

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With ambitious plans to reach 50 percent renewables by 2030, , New York is one of the leading states in the development and implementation of clean energy technologies with Long Island playing a leading role. This includes the largest solar photovoltaic plant in the Eastern US at the Brookhaven National Laboratory and the plans to build the largest US offshore wind farm at the East End of Long Island.

Leveraging the excellence of our esteemed faculty, our Advanced Energy Research & Technology Center (AERTC), our partnership with Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), and strong ties with industry and stakeholders, The College of Engineering and Applied Sciences (CEAS) is uniquely positioned to develop a bold research agenda that can make a transformative impact on the energy landscape of the region and the nation, and lead the way in finding and implementing sustainable solutions for humanity’s energy challenges.

Following an extensive, faculty-driven strategic planning effort, CEAS has identified four cross-cutting research topics of critical importance for advancing energy systems for sustainability. These efforts integrate science, engineering, and socio-economic approaches, to develop innovative energy solutions and pathways for sustainable implementation of these solutions.


Green Power and Fuels Production

Fuels are at the heart of the sustainability initiative. In 2015, the world consumed:

  • 31 trillion barrels of petroleum, mostly for transportation
  • 9 billion tons of coal and 120 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, mostly for power generation.

Under the best case scenario, petroleum consumption could decrease by over 60% by adopting electric cars but the fact remains that low-carbon fuels would be needed to produce additional electricity to satisfy the increased power demand for electric vehicles. All projections point to fossil fuels playing a major role (about 75% of the energy mix) through 2035 and beyond. Developing low-carbon fuels that would help reduce carbon footprint is the ideal solution.

Develop and understand hybrid renewables for low energy intensity

Harvest algae for biofuel feedstock production. Couple renewables with advanced combustion to balance loads. Understand behavior of intermittency regarding renewables through high-fidelity predictive models. Conduct energy analyses on potential sources and for optimal energy choices.

Develop materials for extreme environments

Advanced combustion and other developing systems require high-temperature materials for longevity and low-energy operation.


Manage and harvest leaks in methane producing systems

Systems include: Oil and gas operations, agriculture waste, wastewater and landfills. This pathway is also noted as managing wastes to reduce negative health and GHG effects. Natural gas as a bridge fuel and scenarios to integrate carbon sequestration to reduce carbon intensity.

Create advanced systems for direct CO2 utilization

Capture from air and H2 from water and catalytic conversion. Produce on-site fuels for local consumption to eliminate fuel transport.

Identify test bed locations for large-scale low-carbon projects.

Focus on resiliency against hurricanes and other natural disasters to identify demonstration sites in New York State.

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Bio Fuels

Faculty Contributors

Harold Walker, Civil Engineering                 

Ali Farhadzadeh , Civil Engineering             

Matthew Eisaman, Electrical and Computer Engineering 

Jason Trelewicz, Material Science and Engineering              

Sotirios Mamalis, Mechanical Engineering              

Carlos Colosqui, Mechanical Engineering                


Ya Wang
, Mechanical Engineering              

Anurag Purwar, Mechanical Engineering

Ben Lawler, Mechanical Engineering         

David Tonjes, Technology and Society     

Devinder Mahajan, Material Science and Engineering        

Fotis Sotiropoulos, Civil Engineering         

Advanced Energy Storage

Energy storage is foundational to the future energy vision. Widespread adoption of renewable forms of energy, such as wind and solar demand integration with high-density storage. Further commercial integration of high densities batteries on-road (for vehicles) and on-board (for airplanes) is needed. Storage serves two roles: 1) stored energy for future use, and 2) leveling variable generation of power.

Outstanding issues include high-density, low-cost storage in large-scale systems by managing heat in confined spaces.

Storage materials by design

Molecular Architecture at both the molecular and meso scale are critical aspects. Control of structure and physiochemical material properties for storage technologies. Design and control the mesoscale environment of the active material and the electrode architecture. This demands participation of materials scientists and chemists.

Advanced characterization ex-situ, in-situ and operando methods are needed

Utilize and expand linkages with facilities and expertise at national laboratories such as BNL.

Heat Management in Confined Spaces

Controlled heat dissipation could resolve issues both at small and large scales. Envision a scientific solution to a practical problem.

Recycling by Regeneration

Effective methods to regenerate batteries after normal lifetime. Consider novel strategies to avoid batteries going into waste streams.

Modeling to Understand Storage Needs

for integration opportunities with renewables at large scales and with multiple sources of power. Smooth switching among renewables.


Bio Fuels

Faculty Contributors

Matt Reuter, Applied Math and Statistics

Esther Takeuchi, Material Science and Engineering

Miriam Rafailovich, Material Science and Engineering

Lifeng Wang, Mechanical Engineering           


Smart Grid Technologies

Smart Grid technologies utilize computer-based remote control, automation, two-way communication technologies, and time-resolved information processing to increase system reliability and efficiency. They also provide seamless integration of large volumes of intermittent renewable generation and large percentages of electric vehicles to the grid.

Stony Brook has two Centers for Advanced Technology, the SENSOR CAT and Center for Integrated Electric Energy Systems (CIEES) funded by New York State Division of Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR). Stony Brook University is a founding member of the New York State Smart Grid Consortium

Mathematical modeling of distribution and transmission systems and developing computational and forecasting methods

Statistical methods for forecasting of electric load and system reliability, and developing control algorithms for transmission and distribution networks and for demand response. Computer modeling of energy generation and integration, methods of fluid dynamics for simulating and forecasting wind energy production. 

Microgrid technologies and their integration

Reliability improvements of distribution systems to avoid catastrophic events during weather extremes such as what happened during hurricane Sandy.

Computer science applications to Smart Grid

Technologies to improve visualization capabilities and cyber security.

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Bio Fuels

Faculty Contributors

Eugene Feinberg, Applied Math and Statistics       

Robert Harrison, Applied Math and Statistics

James Glimm, Applied Math and Statistics             

Jiaqiao Hu, Applied Math and Statistics  

Joseph Mitchell, Applied Math and Statistics                

Xiaolin Li, Applied Math and Statistics    

Ryan Kent Giles, Civil Engineering               

Klaus Mueller, Computer Science               

Arie Kaufman, Computer Science                

Fan Ye, Electrical and Computer Engineering         


Thomas Robertazzi
, Electrical and Computer Engineering             

Yue Zhao, Electrical and Computer Engineering   

Xin Wang, Electrical and Computer Engineering 

Alex Doboli, Electrical and Computer Engineering               

Cindy Chang, Mechanical Engineering     

Thomas Woodson, Technology and Society           

Kathy Araujo, Technology and Society

Elizabeth Hewitt, Technology and Society               

Karen Sobel Lojeski, Technology and Society         

Samir Das, Computer Science      

Green Computing

Data Center energy consumption has increased rapidly over the last decade. In the U.S. alone, data centers consumed about 91 Billion kWh in 2013, at a staggering estimated cost of $6.4 Billion. The projected increase in population and rising demand for data centers will only increase these costs further in the years ahead.

The Response: A Smart Energy Technology (SET) cluster to initiate inter-disciplinary research activities at Stony Brook University (SBU) in collaboration with BNL to reduce data center energy consumption. 1) Cloud Computing workloads, including those hosted by Google, Microsoft, and Amazon, 2) High Performance Computing (HPC) workloads, such as those deployed by National Labs, including BNL, LBNL, and ORNL.

Analyze the workload profile of HPC Data Centers

Investigate key resource contributors to power consumption and deterrents to performance; leverage existing Power PC-based HPC clusters at BNL as a starting point.

Develop Mathematical Models and Simulation Frameworks

Base on the above analysis to quickly evaluate and optimize various scheduling, placement, and resource management policies aimed at lowering data center energy usage.

Research System Design Solutions

Realize full potential energy savings by leveraging server-level power management solutions, including dynamic voltage and frequency scaling (DVFS), low-power sleep states, and hardware accelerators. 

Analyze the aggregate resource demand in and across cloud data centers

Assess the potential for aggressively consolidating dynamically varying workloads without significantly impacting user performance needs.

Develop dynamic capacity management solutions

Base on control theory models to further leverage the short- and long-term variations in demand, resulting in lower server, and subsequent cooling, energy consumption.

Investigate hybrid HPC-Cloud architectures

Cloud computing resources can be used to absorb excess demand from local data hosting and computing environments, including HPC and dedicated application clusters.

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Faculty Contributors

Michael Ferdman, Computer Science              

Anshul Gandhi, Computer Science             

Erez Zadok, Computer Science


Summary and Recommendations

summary“Energy Systems for Sustainability” encompasses four topics for engagement to adopt potential solutions and tools and resources needed to implement them.

  • Green Power and Fuels Production
  • Advanced Energy Storage
  • Smart Grid Technologies
  • Green Computing
Develop hybrid renewable systems

Traditionally, renewables are single-application focused. Advanced concepts that combine multiple renewable sources could open multiple applications.

Address high-density storage at low cost in large-scale systems

A multi-disciplinary approach to managing heat in confined spaces should be developed.

Boost power management through smart grid

Prioritize solutions to load variability during integration with renewables. 

Adopt green computing

Pervasive and necessary in energy management. Develop application-specific computing methods with a focus on big data.

Work with local, state and federal agencies to solve specific challenges

New York State is a hot bed for technology development and at the forefront of climate change strategies. Integrate state developed roadmaps to facilitate initiatives.

Think global, act local

Planetary boundaries are strained to a point that global action is needed. New York State could serve as a test bed for advanced technologies scale-up.