U.S. Energy Secretary Visit Highlights Georgia Tech’s Energy Collaborations
During a tour of the Carbon Neutral Energy Solutions Laboratory, U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz receives a demonstration of a new design for a compact heat exchanger for supercritical carbon dioxide power cycle funded by the Department of Energy's Nuclear Energy University Program. Developer of the technology, Devesh Ranjan, associate professor of fluid mechanics in the School of Mechanical Engineering, explains the heat exchanger as Tim Lieuwen, Executive Director of the Strategic Energy Institute at Georgia Tech, looks on.
U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Dr. Ernest Moniz today visited the Georgia Institute of Technology, delivering the keynote address for the second installment of the Quadrennial Energy Review.
Moniz also toured the Southern Company’s Energy Innovation Center at Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute in Atlanta’s Tech Square and the Carbon Neutral Energy Solutions Laboratory on the Georgia Tech campus.
In his opening address, Moniz said Georgia Tech has the opportunity to play a key role as a center of innovation in developing regional energy solutions. He described a new DOE initiative to establish regional innovation partnerships.
Moniz said different regions have different needs, opportunities and resources, including natural, human and institutional resources. He added that Georgia Tech could serve as an institutional resource for the Southeast.
"We think that is good policy because those portfolios will take on different characters in different parts of the country," he said.
The Carbon Neutral Energy Solutions (CNES) Laboratory is designed to foster industry collaboration and support translational and pre-commercial research in clean, low carbon energy technologies. Research spans all aspects of the energy cycle from production and generation to distribution and use, and is focused on addressing the most pressing energy and environmental challenges. Core research conducted within the lab includes solar technologies, combustion, gasification, catalysis and bio-catalysis, as well as carbon capture and sequestration.
“We’re honored to have Secretary Moniz back on the Georgia Tech campus, and it was especially meaningful to have him see one of our showcase facilities,” said Tim Lieuwen, executive director of the Georgia Tech Strategic Energy Institute. “We have a strong, mutually beneficial relationship with the Department of Energy as we work together to find clean, reliable, affordable and sustainable sources of energy.”
Lieuwen hosted the secretary for a tour of the CNES Lab, which has LEED Platinum status and was funded in part by Recovery Act funding through the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST.)
The Strategic Energy Institute at Georgia Tech was established to serve as a conduit for integrating, facilitating, and enabling Institute-wide programs in energy research and development.
Moniz also spent time with Georgia Tech partner, the Southern Company. Southern Company has worked with Georgia Tech’s Strategic Energy Institute on a number of research initiatives, including a promising 2005-2007 study on wind. DOE is a longtime supporter of and partner in Southern Company’s efforts to invent America’s energy future through robust, proprietary research and development (R&D).
Through the Energy Innovation Center, Southern Company is extending its R&D commitment by identifying better, more reliable and more efficient ways to increase value for customers through products and services. Many of the ideas being tested in the center come from the Southern Company system's more than 26,000 employees, while others are surfaced through partnerships with leading universities, research organizations and like-minded companies such as Nest and Tesla.
“Southern Company’s decades-long partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy has produced cutting-edge technologies that are reshaping electricity generation in America,” said Southern Company Energy Innovation Center Vice President Michael E. Britt. “Through the Energy Innovation Center at Tech Square and our partnership with Georgia Tech, Southern Company is expanding on its longstanding commitment to finding real energy solutions in coordination with like-minded leaders in R&D – from established corporations to fast-growing startups.”
In addition to the work taking place at the Energy Innovation Center, Southern Company operates DOE’s National Carbon Capture Center in Alabama and has received DOE support for the development of the world’s most advanced coal plant in Mississippi and two of the first new carbon-free nuclear units in a generation of Americans in Georgia.
Moniz also took the opportunity during his remarks to recognize leaders at Georgia Tech such as former U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn, namesake and distinguished professor in Georgia Tech’s Nunn School of International Affairs, and Provost Rafael Bras for their roles in advising federal energy and national security policy makers.
"We get lots of advice from Georgia Tech and we appreciate it," Moniz said.