Institute to address energy challenges

December 4, 2009
| By: Aubrey Bloom

A new institute led by Texas A&M Engineering will bring together industry and energy researchers from throughout The Texas A&M University System to address some of the world’s critical energy challenges.

The Board of Regents of the A&M System approved establishment of the Energy Engineering Institute (EEI) at its meeting today (Dec. 4). EEI will be a part of the Texas Engineering Experiment Station (TEES), a member of the A&M System.

"Texas A&M has worked in energy-related areas for more than a century and built tremendous capabilities in the area of energy technology and systems," said Dr. G. Kemble Bennett, vice chancellor and dean of engineering. "This institute provides an organizational framework to harness our expertise, resources and facilities for maximum impact."

EEI will serve as a central hub for strategic coordination of energy-related activities - including education, basic and applied research, and industry and government initiatives - conducted by Texas A&M Engineering and TEES, as well as other colleges at Texas A&M and other institutions and agencies in the A&M System. As an umbrella organization, the institute will facilitate multidisciplinary collaboration between Texas A&M, the A&M System members, government, industry and other partners, both nationally and internationally.

Dr. Theresa Maldonado, associate dean of engineering and a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Texas A&M, will direct the institute.

"I am pleased to be leading this important institute at this time when there are critical challenges in sustainable energy to address," Maldonado said. "The Energy Engineering Institute brings greater organization and focus to our established excellence in oil and gas, nuclear energy, electric power, and energy efficiency, as well as to our rapidly growing programs in bioenergy and wind and solar energy."

EEI researchers will seek to develop new technologies and integrated systems sustainable energy resource utilization, conversion, storage, transmission and distribution, as well as efficient use and consumption of energy. Those technologies could then be licensed and commercialized for the public benefit.

In addition to research and development, the institute will also study public policy implications related to energy production, implementation of new energy technologies and environmental sustainability, and train engineering students and professionals in energy-related concepts and technologies.

The institute and its partners will also seek to initiate and support international collaborative programs, and advise industry, government and the public on energy-related matters.

"The Energy Engineering Institute will serve as a shared platform for collaborative research and as a portal for our internal and external partners to our programs, researchers, students, and technologies, " Maldonado said. "This will allow us to capitalize on our history of excellence in energy research and commercialization by bringing in additional expertise from all over the A&M System and forming critical industry partnerships."

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