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 Tuesday, October 27, 2009 IssueFaculty/Staff E-Newsletter

IN THE SPOTLIGHT


RASEI rolls out plans to become a lead university and federal institute on energy
by Elizabeth Lock, University Communications

The University of Colorado at Boulder’s annual Energy Research Symposium on Oct. 21 was abuzz with announcements by the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute (RASEI) including the appointment of its inaugural fellows, an upcoming national search for a director, future faculty hiring, and a research project outfitted by Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A, Inc.

Officials from RASEI said a national search for a new director will be launched and up to 10 new faculty members will be hired over the next several years, contingent on state and university budgets.

RASEI is a new joint institute between CU-Boulder and the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden. Its focus includes forming one of the world’s leading university and federal laboratory partnerships in the development and commercialization of renewable energy technologies.

RASEI is modeled after other CU-Boulder research institutes, including JILA, a joint research institute of CU-Boulder and the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, or CIRES, and the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, or LASP. During RASEI presentations at the Energy Research Symposium, CIRES director, Konrad Steffen, and LASP director, Daniel Baker, took the stage to share background on their organizations, showcasing the growth and success RASEI aspires to.

The newly appointed RASEI fellows come from both CU-Boulder and NREL. For CU-Boulder faculty and staff, the appointment is a gateway to NREL researchers, programs and facilities. For NREL fellows, the exchange opens opportunities in the academic world, including education-oriented research, work with CU-Boulder faculty in multiple departments, and access to CU-Boulder students at all levels. For both sides, the partnership is slated to provide access to new programmatic funding, space and facilities. RASEI affiliates, who will have less involvement and governance over RASEI, also will be designated.

RASEI also offers energy education through college-level certificate and degree programs and the RASEI Student Alliance on the CU-Boulder campus, as well as outreach for learners in kindergarten through 12th grade.

Partnerships with RASEI are already forming as announced in a news release from Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc. saying it would donate 10 Prius plug-in hybrid vehicles to a study being conducted by RASEI on Xcel Energy’s SmartGridCity system in Boulder. The SmartGridCity is the first of its kind in the United States and provides increased electricity grid reliability and energy use information. It also allows utility customers to monitor and control their home energy from remote systems. The Prius cars will be evaluated for fuel economy, electricity consumption, and customer behavior and experiences within the smart grid.

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