New CU-Boulder and NREL Institute on Renewable Energy Announces Plans

October 21, 2009

The Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute today announced its inaugural group of RASEI Fellow appointments and plans for future faculty hires to form one of the world's leading university and federal laboratory partnerships in the development and commercialization of renewable energy technologies.

RASEI, a new joint institute between the University of Colorado at Boulder and the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, made the announcement at CU-Boulder's Annual Energy Research Symposium taking place today in Boulder.

"NREL and CU-Boulder, along with research colleagues from Colorado State University and the Colorado School of Mines, are already working together on a variety of critical energy technologies that will help to ensure a clean and sustainable energy supply for our nation's future," said Robert McGrath, NREL deputy laboratory director for science and technology, and one of RASEI's chief architects. "The newly established RASEI significantly strengthens the structural platform enabling CU-Boulder and NREL researchers to take full advantage of the complementary strengths resident within each institution."

A national search will be conducted for RASEI's director. In addition to creating the resources to attract a top candidate to lead the new institute, CU-Boulder plans to designate as many as 10 new faculty hires to RASEI over the next several years, with exact levels of support contingent upon the Colorado economy and the university's budget.

Institute management and decision-making will be coordinated by the new director, a private-sector Leadership Board and a set of prominent research fellows appointed from NREL and CU-Boulder. The initial 34 RASEI fellows named today include 18 from CU-Boulder and 16 from NREL.

"CU has a long history of joint institutes with national laboratories that attract the highest caliber leadership and scientific talent," said CU-Boulder Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano. "With this initiative, CU is fostering an invaluable working relationship with an important partner, and opening up new opportunities for CU researchers to collaborate with Stanford, MIT and other major American Association of Universities research institutions focusing on the development of new energy solutions."

RASEI will operate much like CU-Boulder's other independent research institutes, including JILA, which collaborates with the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, which collaborates with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

According to McGrath, "RASEI will expand and build upon the work already initiated under the Center for Revolutionary Solar Photoconversion, the Colorado Center for Biorefining and Biofuels, the Center for Research and Education in Wind and other research centers affiliated with the Colorado Renewable Energy Collaboratory."

The Collaboratory's partners include CU-Boulder, CSU, the Colorado School of Mines and NREL.

"Colorado's new energy economy is leading America toward a new energy future, and collaborations between our universities and national laboratories such as RASEI are leading the way," said Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter. "RASEI is poised to attract the best and brightest new research talent to the state of Colorado, which will also bring good jobs and advance clean energy technologies."

And with ConocoPhillips, a member of RASEI's industry-driven Leadership Board, building a new global technology center and corporate learning center at the Sun Microsystems/StorageTek site in Louisville, the new institute will spur greater overall investment in new energy development in Colorado, now seen as a national hub for clean energy technology creation. The new ConocoPhillips center will handle research and development of renewable energy and high-tech carbon fuels recovery.

"One of the key reasons ConocoPhillips plans to locate its new global technology center and corporate learning center in Colorado is the exceptional research talent pool in close proximity to our proposed campus," said Stephen Brand, ConocoPhillips' senior vice president for technology. "As a long-time collaborator with CU-Boulder, and member of the RASEI Leadership Council, ConocoPhillips is committed to making this new institute a world-class success."

NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy's primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for DOE by the Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC, comprised of the Midwest Research Institute, Battelle Memorial Institute, CU-Boulder, CSU, Colorado School of Mines, MIT and Stanford. For more information visit www.nrel.gov.

CU-Boulder is a leading U.S. public research university and the only American Association of Universities Tier One research institution in the Rocky Mountain region. CU-Boulder has four Nobel laureates, seven MacArthur "genius grant" winners, numerous Fulbright, Guggenheim and Packard fellows, 38 members of the National Academies and world-renowned joint research institutes with national labs such as NIST and NOAA. For more information visit www.colorado.edu.

RASEI, an interdisciplinary joint research effort between CU-Boulder and NREL located on the CU campus, is advancing solutions for producing energy economically from low-carbon sources and using energy more efficiently to meet the global energy challenge.

For more information about RASEI visit rasei.colorado.edu.

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