Applying academic research to help accelerate low-carbon innovation, Princeton’s ZERO lab has created a new coalition, bringing together corporations and researchers focused on scalable clean energy technologies. The consortium, aligned with the corporate membership program Princeton E-ffiliates Partnership, includes founding members Google, GE and ClearPath.
“We want to provide practical insights and roadmaps that can support decision-making, guide investment, and accelerate innovation,” said Jesse Jenkins, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and the principal investigator of the ZERO Lab.
The goal of the new consortium is to help organizations transform their businesses and, in turn, make key energy technologies more commercially viable and quicker to be deployed. Specifically, the consortium aims to help leaders from diverse parts of the energy sector accelerate the improvement and deployment of novel clean energy technologies.Another goal, Jenkins said, is to pool funding and maximize the research that can be done in this area when supported by organizations with similar interests. The structure of the program and the flexible funding allow researchers to quickly pivot to tackle the most important and interesting research questions, without having to wait for specific funding cycles or proposal calls from grant-making agencies. It also creates an opportunity for big players grappling with a clean energy future to connect, he said. Jenkins hopes to recruit other members to round out the group, such as a private venture capital group focused on clean energy or the investment arm of a utility.
GE, Google and ClearPath also join the Princeton E-ffiliates Partnership, the corporate membership program administered by the Andlinger Center. This will allow the organizations to build collaborations with faculty members across a range of topics, including optimizing power architecture in data centers, securing the power grid and transforming waste streams into carbon-rich resources.