Tech to Market: The Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN2) welcomes SyracuseCoE as a Channel Partner

The Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN2) co-administered by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has welcomed Syracuse University and SyracuseCoE as a Channel Partner. IN2 is a $50 million technology incubator and platform funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation. Housed at NREL in Golden, Colorado, IN2’s mission is to speed the path to market for early-stage, clean-technology entrepreneurs. Launched in 2014 with an initial focus on supporting scalable solutions to reduce the energy impact of commercial buildings, IN2 has since expanded its focus to advance technologies that address the sustainable production of agriculture and housing affordability. IN2 supports clean energy startups and agriculture companies by providing funding for projects of up to $250,000, including technical assistance that leverages the capabilities, facilities, equipment and deep expertise that exists at NREL, as well as at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center (Danforth Center).

“Relationships with DOE national labs are critical to growing the clean tech innovation cluster in New York State,” said SyracuseCoE director Eric Schiff, “and we are thrilled to become an IN2 Channel Partner. In addition to providing much-needed support for project funding, startups that are invited to join an IN2 cohort are paired with experts from NREL or the Danforth Center who can help them address critical milestones on their paths to commercialization.”

SyracuseCoE is one of only two New York State-based cleantech partners to join the nation-wide network of Channel Partners, which includes more than 60 colleges and universities, business incubators and accelerators, and their affiliated clean technology programs. To date, 56 portfolio companies have each received up to $250,000 in technical and project assistance from the program. For every IN2 program dollar awarded, on average, IN2 companies raise more than $95 dollars in external follow-on funding. IN2 portfolio companies have gone on to raise $1.1 billion from external follow-on funding, creating 774 jobs.

An invitation-only program, IN2 relies on Channel Partners like SyracuseCoE to refer promising companies to the program for consideration in a competitive application and down selection process prior to being invited to join the next cohort. Cohort 10, a Cleantech Demonstration Cohort, will be launched within the next few months. For more information about IN2  and the application process, please contact Tammy Rosanio at SyracuseCoE, tlrosani@syr.edu.

SyracuseCoE – Density Collaboration Leads to Green Spaces, Big Returns

Together, SyracuseCoE researchers and SyracuseCoE Partner Density have developed a novel occupant-centric building management system using specialized sensor technologies, leading to reduced energy use and refined performance.

Click here to read the full story in The Central New York Business Journal.


Density designs and manufactures technology that measures how people use space in order to make better use of the space we have.

Eric Schiff Speaks with Paste Magazine on Indoor Transmission and Mask Wearing

As vaccinations rates rise across the U.S. and restrictions begin to be eased, you may be considering going out to your favorite bar or club. But as the pandemic continues, just how relaxed can we be? Interim Director Eric Schiff spoke with Paste Magazine to discuss the reopening of venues and indoor transmission of COVID-19.

“To wear a mask just for, let’s say, 10 minutes on the hour at the most, when you go to the bar or the bathroom, leaving 50 minutes of unmasked breathing—that would be almost no protection,” Schiff said.

Read the full article here.

Reopening Restaurants: How safe is it to dine-in again?

A SyracuseCoE Research & Technology Forum and Panel Discussion

PODCAST TRANSCRIPT

What should restaurant-goers take into consideration before reserving that table?
What can restaurateurs do to make indoor dining safer?  

Approximately one year ago, the coronavirus pandemic shut down some of our favorite places to go – bars and restaurants. Frustrated and desperate, restaurateurs have been agile by innovatively reworking their business models, where possible, just to stay open. Take-out, outdoor dining and ghost kitchens helped keep restaurants afloat, but most state and local guidance does not allow 100% occupancy yet.

There is light at the end of the tunnel. With vaccines rolling out and community transmission rates slowly descending, many are anxiously pondering – how safe is it to go out to eat now? 

Listen to a round table discussion with three experts: a buildings expert, a restaurateur and a public health expert who bring perspective and clarity to this complex question. The conversation highlights the factors that contribute to a safer restaurant reopening and dining out experience. Audience members ask the expert panel intriguing questions during the Q&A session. 

Charles Bertuch, P.E., Principal, Bergmann Architects, Engineers and Planners
Bertuch has more than 30 years of professional experience as a consultant and plant engineer. He is currently Principal – Energy Solutions for Bergmann Associates in Syracuse, NY. He holds an M.S degree in Mechanical Engineering from Syracuse University. Visit Bergmann’s website.

Caitlin Gambee, Co-Owner, The Brewster Inn, Cazenovia, NY
Gambee focuses on many of the important non-culinary aspects of running an award-winning restaurant and inn. She does the day-to-day bookkeeping as well as managing front desk / concierge staff, overseeing the hotel, managing the marina and all of the consumer-facing communications including website, social media, email blasts, etc. Her background is in marketing and events and she previously ran public relations and community relations campaigns for clients including the Boston Celtics, Dunkin’ Donuts and Converse. Visit The Brewster’s website.

Lisa Letteney, P.E., Director, Division of Environmental Health, Onondaga County Health Department, Syracuse, NY
Letteney is currently the Director of Environmental Health for the Onondaga County Health Department and has been with the department for over 33 years. She holds an M.S. degree in Chemical Engineering and is a NYS licensed P.E. (Professional Engineer). In her Director’s position, she oversees the following programs: Food Protection (Restaurant Inspections), Temporary Residences and Recreational Facilities (Hotel/Motels, swimming pools, beaches, camps), Environmental Lead, Public Water Supply, Septic Systems, Mosquito Control, Rabies, and Tanning. Visit Onondaga County Health Department’s website.

Eric A. Schiff, Ph.D., Interim Executive Director, SyracuseCoE and Professor of Physics, Syracuse University

As SyracuseCoE director for the last year, Eric Schiff has been working on ways to reduce transmission of COVID-19 in the community. He has many years of experience as a physics professor, a semiconductor and solar cell researcher, a university and government administrator, and an industry consultant. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society. Visit Schiff’s SyracuseCoE Leadership webpage.

Toward Resilience: Helping Companies and Faculty Develop Innovations Targeting COVID-19 and Healthy Environments

2020 was a challenging year. The world has faced unprecedented challenges, requiring governments, communities, businesses, schools, and families to quickly re-think their approach to health and safety in the built environment. There has never been a more crucial time for research and entrepreneurship to promote healthy buildings and urban environments – a key focus of SyracuseCoE’s historic mission. From the beginning of the pandemic, it was clear that the Center had an opportunity to play a vital role in developing COVID-19 resilience in the built environment.

Critical Communications

As our partners and faculty pivoted in response to the pandemic, so did SyracuseCoE. Leadership and staff looked for ways to bolster COVID-related research and commercialization activities by stakeholders. When the pandemic first began to unfold, SyracuseCoE assumed responsibility for wide dissemination of important resources and research-based information from its global community of stakeholders to the wider public. Early on, the Center shared funding opportunities and the latest guidance to help businesses navigate a safe re-opening process. As it became clear that indoor air quality and aerosol spread was critical to the transmission of the virus, SyracuseCoE used its voice to promote essential and informed discourse designed to advance a more COVID-resilient built environment. Further, we frequently broadcast the most up-to-date findings while also highlighting key leadership events with “trusted experts” from a community of world-class researchers specializing in topics related to indoor environmental quality.

Funding for COVID Related Innovations

SyracuseCoE continues to work closely with industry partners to support their efforts to develop technologies that target COVID-19, leveraging expertise from Syracuse University researchers and other faculty, generating new applications for existing products and transforming manufacturing operations to produce much needed supplies for frontline workers. For the Fall 2020 round of the SyracuseCoE Innovation Fund, an award by and for SyracuseCoE Partners, all proposals were required to address pandemic-related issues. In October, SyracuseCoE awarded four Partner companies $10,000 each for their COVID-related projects: Acumen Detection, Air Innovations, Elizion Tech, and M3 Innovations. Acumen will be working with SyracuseCoE researchers to develop a device to test for COVID-19 in the air. This could allow schools, offices, and other gathering places to detect if someone spreading COVID-19 has infected a room. Further, Acumen has also contributed to the Syracuse University wastewater testing project and has been manufacturing COVID-19 diagnostic tests since March. Air Innovations is enhancing their HEPAirX ventilating air purifier and HVAC unit to reduce disease transmission through UV-C light. It will also have the ability to turn any enclosed space into a negative pressure room. Elizion Tech will produce medical grade bio-based thermoplastics to be used in manufacturing sustainable, biodegradable, and recyclable filtration materials for personal protective equipment. M3 Innovations is developing ultraviolet options for lighting for sport venues that will combine high quality illumination and disinfect them when unoccupied.

Research for Resiliency

In an effort to make key findings from the Center’s researchers more accessible to a broader audience, we launched the SyracuseCoE Research Brief Series. The series started in an effort to quickly disseminate pertinent research that can inform reopening plans for schools and businesses. The first research brief from SyracuseCoE interim executive director Eric A. Schiff shows the efficacy of mask-wearing and ventilation in reducing the risk of transmission in classrooms. The second brief gives an overview of how displacement ventilation and semi-open partitions can be used as a defense strategy against airborne diseases. Since these briefs have been available, they have been viewed thousands of times and there has been a 29% increase in new visitors to the website. This brief series allows SyracuseCoE to highlight the work of our researchers, spark discourse with other top scientists, and advance scholarship and expertise in these critical areas of study.

One such SyracuseCoE researcher is Syracuse University Engineering professor and indoor air quality expert Jianshun “Jensen” Zhang. Zhang was among the 239 global scientists who signed an open letter urging the World Health Organization to formally acknowledge that the virus can be spread through aerosol droplets. While contributing to both SyracuseCoE forums and research briefs, Zhang has also been promoting the importance of ventilation in controlling virus spread indoors. In an editorial for the journal “Science and Technology and Built Environment,” Zhang outlined a three-step plan for reducing the risk of infection indoors. He has also contributed to The Wall Street Journal, Architectural Digest and other media outlets.

Zhang isn’t the only SyracuseCoE researcher trying to understand COVID-19 in the built environment. The most recent research brief explores SyracuseCoE Faculty Fellow Teng Zeng’s study on wastewater testing for COVID-19 and pharmaceutical drugs. Zeng received funding from the 2020 SyracuseCoE Faculty Fellows Program to research the relationship between pharmaceuticals found in Central New York sewer sheds and increased rates of COVID-19. Joining Syracuse University’s David Larsen’s team of researchers conducting wastewater sampling on campus, Zeng wanted to see if there was a connection between drug use and COVID-19 prevalence. After 4 months of sampling, Zeng found that sewer systems with a higher detection for pharmaceuticals also have a higher detection rate for the RNA associated with SARS-CoV-2. The association means substance detection in wastewater systems may be a tool for predicting COVID-19 hotspots and could help inform local or regional COVID-19 prevention plans.

Thought Leadership Events

The coronavirus halted in-person events in 2020, so the SyracuseCoE Research & Technology Forums made a digital debut in a new, all-virtual format. These forums bring partners and faculty together to present research and exchange dialogue on innovative products and technologies. So far, two forums have been focused on helping students and teachers return safely to classrooms by sharing the latest COVID-19 risk-reduction tactics, such as increased ventilation, air purifiers, and masking. Looking forward, SyracuseCoE plans to offer additional digital round tables, given the increased accessibility and attendance of the online format. Recordings of forums have also been made available through a new SyracuseCoE podcast.

SyracuseCoE’s mission is to develop innovations in environmental and energy technologies that promote sustainable well-being in built and urban environments. Syracuse University and the Central New York Region has established strengths and expertise in critical COVID-related topics such as indoor air quality and wastewater resources. Looking ahead into a post-pandemic world, SyracuseCoE will continue to be a hub for researchers and companies to drive innovation and create a more resilient built environment.

SyracuseCoE Accepting Applications for 2021 Innovation Fund, Deadline March 11th

Proposals for up to $10,000 are invited from current SyracuseCoE Partner companies for the first round of the 2021 Innovation Fund. The Innovation Fund is funded by member companies of the SyracuseCoE Partner Program to help Partners overcome barriers in the process of commercializing potentially transformative innovations. Apply here

Companies at all Partner levels — Industry, Affiliate and Start-Up — are invited to apply. Projects must incorporate a SyracuseCoE core focus area, and preference may be available for projects that address the ongoing pandemic, as well as post-pandemic challenges. We welcome research engagements with faculty and students, support for product development and testing, market analysis, proposal match requirement, and more. Innovation Fund proposals must be submitted and led by Partner Program members, but may include collaborations with academic partners or with firms outside of the Partner Program.

To date, SyracuseCoE has helped finance more than 49 projects by 30 companies, totaling over $527,000. While the 2020 proposals were required to address the COVID-19 pandemic, current applications do not have to meet this qualification.

Previous companies who were Innovation Fund winners include:

Visit the Innovation Fund Projects page to see how other Partners have used these funds.

“The Innovation Fund Awards are a great example of how members of the SyracuseCoE Partner Program can use their membership resources to take advantage of meaningful opportunities and overcome potential barriers to commercialization,” said SyracuseCoE interim executive director Eric Schiff. “The awards, based on technical merit and sound principles, have tremendous potential to strengthen each company through the success of their projects.”

Applications, due by Thursday, March 11th, 2021 at 5:00p ET, will be invited to give a brief pitch, via Zoom, with a panel of reviewers. Visit the SyracuseCoE Innovation Fund webpage to learn more, or, if interested in joining the Partner Program, contact Tamara Rosanio at tlrosani@syr.edu.

Up to $3,000 Available for SyracuseCoE Partners to Hire Summer Intern

Through the program, SyracuseCoE helps provide experiential learning opportunities for students and exposes Partners to new talent

SyracuseCoE is now accepting applications from its Partners for up to $3,000 to fund a summer intern through the 2021 Summer Industry Collaboration Internship Program.  The program supports paid internship opportunities for SyracuseCoE Partner Program companies to host a student pursuing a degree in science, engineering, or architecture. This opportunity allows the student to gain crucial knowledge, develop valuable industry relationships, and refine their technical skills by engaging in hands-on work at SyracuseCoE Partner firms related to SyracuseCoE focus areas: indoor environmental quality (IEQ), high performance/green building, clean and renewable energy, and water resources.

The deadline for companies to apply to the 2021 SyracuseCoE Summer Internship Program is Friday, February 19, 2021.

SyracuseCoE intends to fund 6 students, with up to $3,000 per company. To qualify, firms must be members of the 2021 SyracuseCoE Partner Program. To date, 42 companies and 121 students have participated in this program, which is supported by annual fees paid by SyracuseCoE Partners. For full details, click here.

Trends from Wastewater Testing: Pharmaceutical and Illicit Drug Use are Higher in Places where COVID-19 is More Prevalent

Reported by Kerrie Marshall, Arik Palileo, Eric A. Schiff, and Teng Zeng

DOWNLOAD THE BRIEF [PDF]

View SyracuseCoE’s other research briefs

Summary:

Wastewater testing is increasingly used worldwide to monitor trends in pharmaceutical and illicit drug use. Between April and July of 2020, wastewater samples from six sewer systems in Onondaga County, NY were tested to assess pharmaceutical and illicit drug use patterns during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study found that samples from sewersheds showing greater pharmaceutical and illicit drug use also contained more SARS-CoV-2 RNA – the genetic material found in the coronavirus. Testing identified higher levels of 26 pharmaceuticals, including medications for depression, epilepsy, allergies, and high blood pressure, as well as illicit drugs like opioids, cocaine, and amphetamines. For example, Figure 1 illustrates greater blood pressure medication consumption (left panel) and greater opioid consumption (right panel) in locations with wastewater samples containing coronavirus RNA. For all six substance groups (antidepressants, antiepileptics, antihistamines, antihypertensives, synthetic opioids, and central nervous system stimulants), the sewersheds with the lowest consumption rates had an average COVID-19 positivity rate of 1.5% – 2.5%, while the sewershed with highest consumption rates had a COVID-19 positively rate of 4%. This study demonstrates the need to establish regional and national wastewater testing initiatives to monitor COVID-19 spread and its implications for prescription and illicit drug use.

References:

High-throughput wastewater analysis for substance use assessment in central New York during the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020.

About the Authors

Kerrie Marshall (klmarsha@syr.edu) is the Assistant Director of Communications at SyracuseCoE, the SU Center of Excellence in Environmental & Energy Systems. Arik Palileo (apalileo@syr.edu) is a SyracuseCoE Communications Intern. Eric Schiff (easchiff@syr.edu) is the Interim Executive Director of SyracuseCoE. Teng Zeng (tezeng@syr.edu) is Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at SU, a SyracuseCoE Faculty Fellow and the lead author on this study.

Good Life CNY is Bringing Job Seekers to CNY Companies Looking for Talent

Young people are looking to make a good life in smaller, more tight-knit communities like Syracuse, NY – mid-sized cities that are less crowded, with lower costs of living and shorter commutes. With support from SyracuseCoE and others, a CenterState CEO project, Good Life CNY, aims to highlight Central New York as a region of growing opportunity for those looking to relocate. Visitors to the site, launched almost one year ago, can find information on the housing market, local schools, and job opportunities. The site also highlights various CNY hotspots, including restaurants, breweries, parks, and much more.

“The Good Life CNY initiative was built to promote the many job opportunities and high quality of life in the Central New York region,” said CenterState CEO Chief of Staff Benjamin Sio. “Companies are coming together through this initiative, to offer a collective message that they are looking for talent and CNY is a great place to live and work. We can see that it is working because people are visiting the site and many job seekers have found employment through the job board.”

Good Life CNY has amassed over 100,000 page visitors since early this year, surpassing their original goal by 600% percent. Almost 6,000 job seekers have used the site to learn more about companies and job opportunities in Central New York and have clicked to view open jobs over 10,000 times, again outnumbering early expectations.

The top geographic areas of visitors to the website, including New York City, Boston, Baltimore and Detroit, reflect areas with higher numbers of people interested in considering relocation to CNY. The age range of visitors was mostly in mid-to-late 20s to around 44 years old. Topics of greatest interest to those considering re-locating were food & dining, lifestyle, pets, news & politics, employment, sports & fitness and outdoor activities.

Any individuals looking to relocate to the area or companies in the CNY region looking for skilled employees can learn more at goodlifecny.com.

Four Startups Join SyracuseCoE Partner Program

SyracuseCoE is welcoming four startups to the Partner Program:

Elizion Tech – Elizion Tech is a groundbreaking company leading the way in cutting-edge materials and product development to address 21st-century challenges. They leverage research-driven technology to make the world a better place — if it isn’t innovative, scalable, scientifically-validated, and green, it isn’t an Elizion product. Made of dedicated engineers and scientists, their team is committed to improving quality of life around the world by applying accessible, innovative technological solutions. Learn more about Elizion Tech.

IoT Right – Built from the ground up with the ability to interface with any sensor, network, or cloud – IoT Right provides the business intelligence their clients need to maximize their impact. They offer open, secure and easy to use end-to-end IoT solutions to fit any IoT vertical market.  IoT Right’s one platform can integrate any system; crossing the cloud, operating at the edge, and putting full control at your fingertips. Learn more about IoT Right.

Urbata Inc. – Urbata is a building-data utility that streamlines the seven essentials of architecture: use, spaces, systems/fixtures, energy, transit, site and history. With both public and private partners, Urbata is designing architecture principles into urban tech, anchoring the innovations of the future and illuminating buildings that need attention and retrofitting. By creating a building-centric utility, Urbata can illuminate the myriad issues that others have missed or ignored in our most valuable resources. Learn more about Urbata Inc.

Well Building Controls – description forthcoming

The SyracuseCoE Partner Program engages collaborating firms and institutions to address global challenges in clean energy, healthy buildings, and water resources. Members conduct targeted research, demonstrate new technologies, commercialize innovations, and educate the workforce. Visit the webpage or contact Tammy Rosanio at tlrosani@syr.edu for more information.

SyracuseCoE Innovation Fund Awards $40,000 to Companies for COVID Related Commercialization

SyracuseCoE has awarded $40,000 to four partner companies through the second round of the 2020 Innovation Fund. For this round, partners were invited to submit proposals in SyracuseCoE core focus areas that directly address the COVID-19 pandemic. The goal is to leverage the region’s great capabilities in indoor air quality to reduce disease transmission in the built environment. The Innovation Fund is funded by member companies of the SyracuseCoE Partner Program and aims to help companies advance product development and technological innovation.

See previously awarded Innovation Fund projects.

The winning projects are:

  • Acumen Detection Inc., to provide an rt-PCR machine, positive controls and other reagents, and advice, guidance and support to SyracuseCoE researchers developing a test for COVID-19 in room air. This will allow schools, offices and other gathering places to detect if someone with COVID-19 has entered the space. Acumen Detection is a startup partner, co-located at the SyracuseCoE research facility, that is transforming the way dairy producers across the globe monitor the environment and health of their herds by providing pathogen detection at the point of need–on the farm. Acumen Detection joined the SyracuseCoE Partner Program in 2019 soon after its spin-off from SRC Inc.
  • Air Innovations Inc., is enhancing their HEPAirX ventilating air purifier and HVAC unit to reduce disease transmission with negative pressure settings and UV-C light. After conducting the redesign, marketing materials will be created to address the needs of the dental market. Air Innovations is an affiliate partner that designs, tests and manufactures environmental control systems for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), custom HVAC projects and unique environments. They specialize in achieving consistent results in temperature control (low temperature and precision temp control), humidity control (desiccant to near saturation) and air filtration (HEPA to molecular).
  • Elizion Tech will develop medical grade, bio-based thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) for the manufacture of sustainable, biodegradable and recyclable filtration materials. Several sources will be assessed for their feasibility of processing into a source component for subsequent manufacturing of the antipathogenic filtration technology. Such materials can be useful in the production of personal protective equipment (PPE). Elizion Tech, based in Ontario, Canada, is developing an antipathogenic nanocoating, PPE, air filtration systems, high-contact surfaces and other applications.
  • M3 Innovation, LLC, co-located at the SyracuseCoE research facility, is developing a revolutionary platform for sports venues that will both provide efficient high quality lighting and also use ultraviolet lighting to sterilize the facilities from bacteria and viruses (specifically COVID-19). M3 Innovation is a startup partner comprised of founders and former engineers from Ephesus Lighting Inc., focused on developing lighting technology for the LED sports lighting market.

“There is an established history of innovative research and commercialization in environmental and energy systems in the Central New York region,” says Eric Schiff, interim executive director of SyracuseCoE. “Many SyracuseCoE partner companies, like Ephesus Lighting, Air Innovations, NuClimate, SparkCharge and others, have used their Innovation Fund awards on their path to successful commercialization. We hope this award will give companies the potential to play a critical role in helping communities reopen and function safely as we continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

With these awards, SyracuseCoE has helped finance more than 49 projects by 30 companies, totaling over $527,000.

Proposals for the 2021 round of funding are due Thursday, March 11th. Become a member today! To learn more or apply, visit the webpage or contact Tammy Rosanio at tlrosani@syr.edu.

Call for Abstracts for IBPC 2021

The Technical University of Denmark (DTU) has announced a call for abstracts for IBPC 2021, the 8th International Building Physics Conference. The International Building Physics Conference (IBPC) takes place every 3 years and is the conference of the International Association of Building Physics (IABP). The event will be held on the DTU campus in Copenhagen, Denmark from August 25- 27, 2021. IBPC 2021 is organized by DTU in cooperation with Aalborg University, Aarhus University, University of Southern Denmark and Lund University

Download the flyer

The previous conference, IBPC2018 was held in Syracuse, NY and jointly organized by Syracuse University’s Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems, College of Engineering and Computer Science and School of Architecture.

Researchers within building physics are invited to submit abstracts for IBPC 2021 by November 30, 2020, within the following three thematic groups:

  • Physics – heat, air moisture, light/daylight, building acoustics
  • Objects – materials, building envelope, whole buildings, indoor/outdoor environment
  • Sustainability – energy efficiency, durability, circular construction, climate

To learn more about the conference venue, submissions, registration and organizing committee, visit ibpc2021.org.

Read Building physics today and future challenges: learning from IBPC2018

Channel 9 Visits SyracuseCoE to explore COVID-19 Research

Channel 9 stopped by to see how SyracuseCoE is helping Partner companies create and innovate technologies that address the COVID-19 pandemic. One such partner is Acumen Detection, who has shifted from building technology to test pathogens in cows to creating a molecular assay diagnostic test for real-time PCR for COVID-19.

View the news segment below and access the full Channel 9 news story here.

SyracuseCoE IAQ Expert Featured in the Wall Street Journal

SyracuseCoE Faculty Fellow and air quality expert Jianshun “Jensen” Zhang was invited to discuss ways to improve your home’s air quality for the Wall Street Journal, including air filters, purifiers, fans, and, most importantly, fresh air from outside. In light of COVID-19 and wildfires burning across the west coast, keeping your home well ventilated and air clean is a critical factor in keeping yourself and your family safe.

Professor Zhang was also joined by leading IAQ experts Joseph Allen, Healthy Buildings Program director at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Max Sherman, residential team leader of the Epidemic Task Force at the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, and Jeffrey Siegel, civil engineering professor at the University of Toronto.

Click here to access the Wall Street Journal article.

WAER visits SyracuseCoE to see how air handling systems can help prevent COVID-19 spread.

WAER’s John Smith interviewed SyracuseCoE Faculty Fellow Jianshun “Jensen” Zhang and SyracuseCoE Researcher Meng Kong and took a tour of the TIEQ lab to learn more about how ventilation can affect COVID-19 spread.

“This system we can set-up the conditions so that everyone gets their own filtered, clean air… which can prevent cross-contamination in the case of Coronavirus infection, we can really control that,” Zhang says.

To listen or read the full article, click here.

SyracuseCoE Interim Executive Director featured in Syracuse.com article on efficiency of masks and air purifiers

SyracuseCoE Interim Executive Director Eric Schiff was interviewed by the publication for his recent paper on potential transmission rates in the classroom. With poor ventilation and no masks, one super-spreader, someone who is 100% more infectious than a typical carrier, has the potential to transmit COVID-19 to 80% of students in a 20 person classroom. With proper mask wearing and sufficient ventilation, that rate can drop to 5%.

To read the full article, click here. To access Schiff’s paper, click here.

Two Faculty Fellows Appointed to NYS Climate Action Council Advisory Panels


Two SyracuseCoE Faculty Fellows, Robert Malmsheimer and Tristan Brown, have been appointed to New York State Climate Action Council Advisory Panels. The panels are tasked with determining possible emission reductions to help meet statewide emissions limits as well as outlining policy proposals or action plans in order to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Malmsheimer, Professor of Forest Policy and Law at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF), will serve on the Agriculture and Forest Advisory Panel. Brown, Associate Professor of Energy Resource Economics as SUNY-ESF, was appointed to the Energy-Intensive and Trade-Exposed Industries Advisory Panel. As Faculty Fellows, Malmsheimer and Brown worked jointly to demonstrate the feasibility of the stacked energy concept of pathway combinations on the same land in southeastern New York and assess the feasibility of three individual and two combined pathways in preparation for integrated economic-environmental assessments to be conducted in the future.

To read the full story, click here. To learn more about the New York State Climate Action Council Advisory Panels, click here.

Podcast: Air Purifiers & Airflows: Minimizing COVID-19 Risk in Classrooms

PODCAST TRANSCRIPT

View our other Research & Technology Forums and Podcasts


How do we minimize COVID-19 infection risk when we return to school?

Students are heading back to classrooms. Undetected, there may be one who’s infected by COVID-19. Beyond masking, what are the options for teachers and administrators to minimize the spread of disease through the air? Join us as we talk with Central New York experts about how air can be replaced or purified to help protect classmates and teachers. When do portable air purifiers make a difference if a superspreader is in the room? How do I choose purifiers that will be effective and economical? Where should I place them? How can I understand how air moves in my room? What are the possibilities for rearranging the flow to minimize the risk of disease transmission?


Read the editorial by Jianshun “Jensen” Zhang, Integrating IAQ control strategies to reduce the risk of asymptomatic SARS CoV-2 infections in classrooms and open plan offices

Read the research brief by Eric A. Schiff, Ventilation & Masks: Reducing Airborne Transmission of COVID-19 in a Classroom


Speakers:

Vinny Lobdell, President, Healthway Family of Brands Vinny Lobdell attended Oswego State for 4 years focusing on Marketing and Economics. Later, he continued on to receive an entrepreneurial masters in partnership with the Entrepreneurs Association at MIT. Lobdell took the leadership role at HealthWay in 2008 and soon thereafter, HealthWay was named to the Inc 500 list of fastest growing companies in America. In 2017, Lobdell co-founded Intellipure, a fast-growing B-to-C brand with a heavy emphasis on creating the best customer experience through handcrafted, individually certified air cleaning systems. Today, HealthWay Family of Brands is recognized as the global leading manufacturer of air cleaning solutions for almost any application.  Over the past 12 years, Lobdell has traveled to 50 countries educating and speaking to industry leaders, governments, and medical professionals on air pollution and the harmful effects that come along with occupying our built environments. In the last 6 months, HealthWay Family of Brands has been called on by NYC Health and Hospital, Atlantic Health Systems, The U.A.E. Ministry of health and hundreds of corporate clients to assist in getting people back to work. Several of these clients represent some of the largest and most sophisticated companies in the world. Healthway remains committed to the Central New York Community and has hired an additional 50 people and added 20,000 square feet of additional manufacturing space in Pulaski NY. 

Photo of Jianshun Zhang

Jianshun “Jensen” Zhang, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Syracuse University and Visiting Professor, School of Architecture and Urban Planning at Nanjing University, China, SyracuseCoE Faculty Fellow Jensen Zhang is Professor and Director of Building Energy and Environmental Systems Laboratory, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Syracuse University (SU), New York, USA, and a Visiting Professor and Chief Researcher of the School of Architecture and Urban Planning at Nanjing University, China. He received his Ph.D. from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and worked at National Research Council of Canada for 8 years before he joined SU. Zhang is a co-leader of the SU-wide research cluster in Energy and Environment that promotes and coordinates multi-disciplinary research on the campus. He is an expert in room air and contaminant distribution, material emissions, air purification, building enclosure performance, and combined heat, air, moisture and pollutant simulations (CHAMPS) for integrative design and intelligent controls of buildings. He has authored/co-authored over 200 technical papers and 3 American national standards. He is Associate Editor of Journal of Science and Technology for the Built Environment (STBE, formerly ASHRAE HVAC&R Research Journal) and The International Journal of Ventilation, and serves as a Member of the Editorial Boards of Building Simulations—an international Journal, International Journal of High-Rise Buildings, and the International Journal of Architectural Frontier Research. He is Fellow of ISIAQ and ASHRAE, and current Chairman of the International Association of Building Physics.  

Moderator:

Eric A. Schiff, Ph.D., Interim Executive Director, SyracuseCoE and Professor of Physics, Syracuse University Eric Schiff has a long history of leading complex research projects that bring together academics, industry scientists and other partners to discover solutions to society’s energy-related problems. He has been a professor of physics at Syracuse University since 1981, leading interdisciplinary research groups and collaborating with laboratories from other universities and private organizations throughout the world. He has been a principal investigator for externally funded research projects from government agencies (Department of Energy, National Science Foundation and the Empire State Development Corp.) and corporations (United Solar Ovonic LLC, Boeing Inc., First Solar Inc., and SRC Inc.). During his time at Syracuse, he has spent half-year sabbaticals at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center and at Innovalight, Inc., a startup company. From 2014-1017, he served concurrently as a program director at ARPA-E, an agency of the Department of Energy. There he initiated the SHIELD research program of a dozen research projects seeking inexpensive efficiency retrofits for legacy single-pane windows. He also supervised a portfolio of additional projects on solar energy conversion and other energy technologies. Schiff’s own research accomplishments include development of low-mobility solar cell device physics for thin-film solar cells such as perovskites, amorphous silicon, and cadmium telluride. His fundamental physics contributions include work on electronic transport and defects in semiconductors as well as on plasmonics. He is co-author of more than 100 refereed research publications with more than 4,000 citations and he is co-inventor on three U.S. patents. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society. 

Ventilation & Masks: Reducing Airborne Transmission of COVID-19 in a Classroom


Author Eric A. Schiff

Download the Full Article

Key Findings

  • In a classroom setting with low ventilation and unmasked students, a superspreader’s COVID-19 infection will spread to essentially the entire class.
  • Neither good ventilation nor good masking, acting alone, reduces the percentage of students infected below 10%
  • Used in conjunction, good ventilation and masking reduced the calculated infection percentage to 2%.

Bar chart showing calculations for the likely percentage of a class that will be infected after 4 hours with a COVID-19 superspreader. Three levels of masking are shown. Low ventilation is one clean air change per hour, which applies in some schools. Good ventilation is 6 air changes per hour.

Summary

We’ve calculated the number of COVID-19 infections that will be spread from a single COVID-19 “superspreader” to students and teachers in a classroom shared for 4 hours. Without masking and with a low ventilation rate, nearly all susceptible students and teachers will be infected. Neither masking nor ventilation alone is sufficient to reduce the infection rate below 10%. Careful use of surgical masks along with good ventilation reduced the estimated infection rate to 2%. The bar chart below presents the estimated infection rates for low and for good ventilation, and for unmasked, cloth masked, and surgically masked students and teachers. The estimates are based on a comparison with the Guangzhou restaurant cluster of COVID-19 infections, and use the “Wells-Riley” model to calculate infection rates.

Acknowledgments

The author thanks Jensen Zhang (Syracuse University) for a critical reading of the manuscript. The information, data, or work presented herein was funded in part by an award from the New York State Department of Economic Development (DED) to the Center of Excellence in Environmental & Energy Systems (SyracuseCoE) at Syracuse University. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the DED.

About the Author

Eric A. Schiff, Ph.D., is interim director of SyracuseCoE (Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems) and Professor in the Department of Physics at Syracuse University. email: easchiff@syr.edu .

References

1 Yuguo Li, et al., “Evidence for probable aerosol transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in a poorly ventilated restaurant”, medRxiv preprint https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.04.16.20067728.

2 Jensen Zhang, “Integrating IAQ control strategies to reduce the risk of asymptomatic SARS CoV-2 infections in classrooms and open plan offices”, Science and Technology for the Built Environment 26, 1013-1018 (2020), DOI: 10.1080/23744731.2020.1794499. The effective ventilation rate Q is the product of the actual air flow and a factor that allows for imperfect removal or denaturing of virions in recirculated air.

3 J. Ma, et al., “Exhaled breath is a significant source of SARS-CoV-2 emission”, medRxiv preprint https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.05.31.20115154.

4 The air changes per hour (ach) is calculated as 60 x Q/V, where the units of Q are cubic feet per minute and V is the room’s volume (in cubic feet).

5 The original Wells-Riley form assumes a time-independent density of airborne virus; we have generalized the calculation to include the initial increase of the virion density following the arrival of the superspreader in the room. The use of a relative exposure presumes that classroom occupants and the diners in Guangzhou have similar inhalation rates and other factors of disease susceptibility. The Wells-Riley concept of a “quantum” for airborne transmission of disease is commonly assumed in studies of ventilation effects on infections, but other forms have been studied. See G. N. Sze To, C. Y. H. Chao, “Review and comparison between the Wells–Riley and dose-response approaches to risk assessment of infectious respiratory diseases”, Indoor Air 20, 2–16 (2010). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7202094/#b51 ; doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0668.2009.00621.x

6 W. R. Chan, et al., “Ventilation rates in California classrooms: Why many recent HVAC retrofits are not delivering sufficient ventilation”, Building and Environment 167, 106426 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.buildenv.2019.106426

7 A. Mueller and L. Fernandez, “Assessment of Fabric Masks as Alternatives to Standard Surgical Masks in Terms of Particle Filtration Efficiency”, medRxiv preprint doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.04.17.20069567.

8 M. Klompas, M. A. Baker, C. Rhee, “Airborne Transmission of SARS-CoV-2: Theoretical Considerations and Available Evidence”, JAMA 324(5): 441-442. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.12458.

Understanding Organic Pollutants in Waterways

Teng Zeng, Ph.D., Assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, College of Engineering and Computer Science, Syracuse University.

“It’s important to be able to test ideas before applying to a federal agency for a full-blown project. My research projects are all outcomes of early SyracuseCoE support.”


Project: Zeng studies organic pollutants in water systems, both natural—such as lakes and streams—and engineered—such as waste and drinking water facilities. His goal is to understand how organic pollutants enter aquatic systems and the implications for their presence.

Nuts and Bolts: In a project with Sharon Moran, associate professor of environmental studies at SUNY-ESF, Zeng is collaborating with the Upstate Freshwater Institute and New York State Federation of Lake Associations, making use of a citizen science approach to look at patterns of organic pollutants in more than 100 New York lakes. Zeng analyzes water samples collected by volunteers—typically lakefront residents—and communicates findings back to them. Zeng says pollutants enter the water via septic systems or agricultural activities, as well as atmospheric deposition. “The pollutants aren’t necessarily bad for the health of the lake, but information is helpful as a tool to understand watershed management, particularly for lake residents,” he says. “Some lakes are relatively clean while others are heavily impacted by urban or residential activities.” The project was initially funded by SyracuseCoE and later by the National Science Foundation.

That’s Not All: In a project funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Zeng is collaborating with SyracuseCoE Faculty Fellow Christa Kelleher, assistant professor of Earth science, and environmental sociologist Rebecca Schewe, associate professor at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, to study the impact of manure and bio-solids on New York waterways. The goal is to understand the impact of bio-solids—treated human waste— used by farmers as fertilizer, which may transmit organic pollutants, including pharmaceutical residue, into waterways. “We want to find out what contaminants are present and, using hydrological modeling, how these contaminants are transported to streams,” Zeng explains.

SyracuseCoE Impact: Zeng says Faculty Fellow grants from SyracuseCoE have been essential to launching his Syracuse University research. “They are the only source of seed grants in my area of research,” he says. “It’s important to be able to test ideas before applying to a federal agency for a full-blown project. My research projects are all outcomes of early SyracuseCoE support.”


Led by Syracuse University, SyracuseCoE engages students, faculty, and collaborators at 200+ firms and institutions to catalyze innovations that improve energy efficiency, environmental quality, and resilience in healthy buildings and cleaner, greener communities.

SyracuseCoE Invites Innovation Fund Proposals that Address the COVID-19 Pandemic

Proposals for up to $10,000 are invited from current SyracuseCoE Partner companies for round 2 of the 2020 Innovation Fund. The Innovation Fund is funded by SyracuseCoE’s Partner Program to help Partners overcome barriers in the process of commercializing potentially transformative innovations.   

The COVID-19 public health emergency has had an unprecedented impact on our nation’s economic health and well-being. Companies throughout New York State are contributing to solutions addressing these challenges, from developing new applications for existing products to complete transformation of manufacturing operations to produce items most needed by frontline workers. To support these efforts, proposals are restricted for this round to innovations that specifically target the COVID-19 public health crisis and are consonant with the Center’s focal areas: indoor environmental quality, renewable energy and energy efficiency, and water resources.

Applications of up to $10,000 are invited from current and new 2020-21 SyracuseCoE Partner Program firms. Companies at all Partner levels — Industry, Affiliate and Start-Up — are invited to apply. Projects must address a COVID-19 challenge with SyracuseCoE’s core focus areas of indoor environmental quality, clean and renewable energy and water resources. We welcome research engagements with faculty and students, support for product development and testing, market analysis, proposal match requirement, and more.

Acumen Detection is an agtech, Start-Up member of the Partner Program who has already put a SyracuseCoE Innovation Fund award to work addressing the pandemic. Acumen, a recipient of a 2020 round 1 award, was previously commercializing its innovative technology for detecting the pathogens causing disease in dairy cows. “The Innovation Fund award we received earlier this year gave us an important opportunity to respond to the need for diagnostic testing reagents,” said CEO of Acumen Detection, Chuck Stormon. “We are adapting our testing technology and helping to find critical solutions for the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Acumen is developing a fast, point-of-use test that would dramatically assist efforts to mitigate the virus as we return to work and school. The company will manufacture and distribute test kits, once FDA Emergency Use Authorization is received. In addition, SyracuseCoE is working closely with the company’s CEO to help identify potential collaborators that can help expedite their path to market on this critical effort.

“The Central New York region has a remarkable record of research, innovation, and commercialization in environmental and energy systems,” said Eric Schiff, interim executive director of SyracuseCoE.  “The Innovation Fund awards have been used by many SyracuseCoE Partner companies to help further the commercialization of new products and services. Winning an award gives companies the potential to play a critical role in helping communities reopen and function safely as we continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Applications, due by Thursday, September 24, 2020 at 5:00p ET, will be invited to give a brief pitch, via Zoom, with a panel of reviewers in early October, 2020. Visit the SyracuseCoE Innovation Fund webpage to learn more, or, if interested in joining the Partner Program, contact Tamara Rosanio at tlrosani@syr.edu.

Podcast: Experts Agree on Aerosol Transmission of COVID-19: How Can Schools Manage Indoor Air to Stop the Spread?

PODCAST TRANSCRIPT

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Panelist Dr. Jensen Zhang is an associate editor of the professional ASHRAE journal, Science and Technology for the Built Environment. Read his recently published editorial, Integrating IAQ control strategies to reduce the risk of asymptomatic SARS CoV-2 infections in classrooms and open plan offices.


A new school year is beginning soon. Understanding the ventilation and air quality of indoor spaces is critically important. From improved ventilation modifications, to HVAC and air filtration, to physical modification of spaces, this podcast discusses the current knowledge of how to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus in indoor environments.

With strong recommendations from 239 scientists from 32 countries, including faculty from Syracuse University, the World Health Organization is now acknowledging the evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted through aerosol droplets. Viral particles become airborne when people sneeze, cough, sing, talk or breath.

As students return to campuses and classrooms, how can faculty, teachers and building managers optimize ventilation and filtration strategies to help keep students and faculty healthy?

Panelists:

Cliff I. Davidson, Thomas C. and Colleen L. Wilmot Professor of Engineering, Environmental Engineering Program Director of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Syracuse University

Cliff Davidson is the Thomas and Colleen Wilmot Professor of Engineering in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Syracuse University in Syracuse, NY. He also serves as Director of Environmental Engineering Programs, and Director of the Center for Sustainable Engineering. He received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Environmental Engineering Science from California Institute of Technology. Following his PhD, he joined the Carnegie Mellon faculty where he stayed for 33 years in the Department of Civil Engineering (currently Civil and Environmental Engineering) and the Department of Engineering and Public Policy. He moved to Syracuse University in 2010.

Davidson’s research background is in the area of air quality, especially aerosol interaction with surfaces, including surfaces of fibers in a face mask or filter. He has also worked on environmental sustainability in other areas, such as the design of sustainable cities, the effectiveness of green roofs in reducing urban stormwater runoff, educational innovations for teaching sustainable engineering, and identifying the preferences of individuals and organizations for strategies to adapt to climate change. He has published over 130 papers in refereed journals and another 100 papers in peer-reviewed conference proceedings and book chapters. He has served on the editorial boards of four scientific journals, and is a Fellow in three national organizations, including the American Association for Aerosol Research, where he also served as President. He has recently been chosen as the 2021-2022 Distinguished Lecturer by the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors.

Jianshun “Jensen” Zhang, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Syracuse University and Visiting Professor, School of Architecture and Urban Planning at Nanjing University, China

Jianshun “Jensen” Zhang is Professor and Director of Building Energy and Environmental Systems Laboratory, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Syracuse University (SU), New York, USA, and a Visiting Professor and Chief Researcher of the School of Architecture and Urban Planning at Nanjing University, China. He received his Ph.D. from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and worked at National Research Council of Canada for 8 years before he joined SU.

Dr. Zhang is a co-leader of the SU-wide research cluster in Energy and Environment that promotes and coordinates multi-disciplinary research on the campus. He is an expert in room air and contaminant distribution, material emissions, air purification, building enclosure performance, and combined heat, air, moisture and pollutant simulations (CHAMPS) for integrative design and intelligent controls of buildings. He has authored/co-authored over 200 technical papers and 3 American national standards. He is Associate Editor of Journal of Science and Technology for the Built Environment (STBE, formerly ASHRAE HVAC&R Research Journal) and The International Journal of Ventilation, and serves as a Member of the Editorial Boards of Building Simulations—an international Journal, International Journal of High-Rise Buildings, and the International Journal of Architectural Frontier Research. He is Fellow of ISIAQ and ASHRAE, and current Chairman of the International Association of Building Physics. 

Mike Wetzel, PE, President & CEO, Air Innovations

Michael Wetzel is President and CEO of Air Innovations, a SyracuseCoE Partner firm that specializes in the design and manufacture of environmental control systems. Wetzel is a graduate of Clarkson University where he received a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering. He is a licensed Professional Engineer and is the holder of seven US patents.

Prior to Air Innovations, Wetzel was based in Strasbourg, France for four years working for a multinational company building cleanrooms in Europe and the Mideast. Previously he worked stateside as an engineering manager in the HVAC construction industry.

Occupancy Sensors to Regulate Energy Use

Senem Velipasalar, Ph.D., Associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science, College of Engineering and Computer Science, Syracuse University.

“This kind of technology could have many other energy-saving applications.”


Project: Developing a low-cost, high-accuracy sensor platform that detects human presence inside buildings to reduce energy use in residential settings by as much as 30 percent.

Backstory: About 13 percent of all energy produced in the United States is used to heat, cool and ventilate buildings. Much of this energy is wasted by heating, cooling and over-ventilating unoccupied or partially occupied spaces. Existing building automation systems rely mostly on motion detectors and are limited in their reliability and ultimate ability to substantially reduce HVAC energy use.

Nuts and Bolts: Through a $1.2 million ARPA-E grant, Velipasalar is leading a team that partners faculty from SU’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science with SRI International, a leading nonprofit research center with expertise in embedded vision and machine learning. Their goal is developing a sensor platform using an infrared sensor, a visible-range camera, microphone and low-power processor to detect human presence— including in low light conditions and when people are static—and to develop algorithms to analyze and combine data from these sensors to enable occupancy sensing that would be impossible by each sensor alone. “We are making use of off-the-shelf components to develop a battery-operated, stand-alone platform that can perform occupancy detection in an efficient and reliable way on site,” she says.

SyracuseCoE Impact: Velipasalar, who has a strong record
of securing NSF support, credits former SyracuseCoE executive director Ed Bogucz with informing and motivating the team about this funding opportunity, as well as guiding them through the ARPA-E proposal preparation. “The ARPA-E proposal and budget preparation is different from NSF,” she says. “SyracuseCoE was very helpful every step of the way, especially in helping us develop and manage the budget.”

Practical Application: While the ARPA-E project is designed specifically to reduce HVAC energy consumption, Velipasalar says, “This kind of technology could have many other energy-saving applications,” including lighting and sound systems.

Intellectual Collision: Velipasalar’s research is at the intersection of embedded smart cameras, computer vision and machine learning. Her focus on questions related to energy is a more recent development, an outgrowth of her connection with SyracuseCoE. In addition to the ARPA-E project, an ongoing project with Tarek Rakha, former SU assistant professor of architecture and SyracuseCoE Faculty Fellow, investigates heat loss in buildings using thermal cameras on drones. Velipasalar and her Ph.D. student have developed an algorithm that autonomously detects heat leakages from thermal images of building structures. 


Led by Syracuse University, SyracuseCoE engages students, faculty, and collaborators at 200+ firms and institutions to catalyze innovations that improve energy efficiency, environmental quality, and resilience in healthy buildings and cleaner, greener communities.

Start-up tkFabricate joins the Clean Tech Center

The Clean Tech Center at The Tech Garden is a NYSERDA-funded initiative focused on developing clean energy technology companies in Central New York. Clean tech is an emerging sector of products, services and processes that harness renewable energy sources, reduce the carbon footprint and advance sustainability. The Center offers support for entrepreneurs and early-stage companies through incubation, acceleration and retention. Company’s needs are evaluated and customized assistance is provided with funding, technical support, and commercialization. 

One new venture, tkFabricate (tkF), that has joined both the Clean Tech Center and SyracuseCoE Partner Program is aiming to help New York State achieve its goal of a carbon-neutral economy. tkF is partnering with a Dutch initiative, EnergieSprong to develop and implement feasible, affordable and market-driven deep energy retrofits for multifamily residencies. By taking precedent from existing advanced manufacturing processes used in Europe, tkF’s innovative approach promises to minimize tenant disruption by implementing 3D scanning and modeling tools that facilitate design and installation. The construction industry will have increased productivity, resulting in a reduction of installation costs of mechanical systems and building facades via vertical supply chain integration design for manufacturing and assembly.

Acumen Detection: From Cows to COVID-19

Acumen Detection, Inc., is an agtech start-up member of SyracuseCoE that is commercializing its innovative technology for detecting the pathogens causing disease in dairy cows. Operating its R&D and manufacturing out of SyracuseCoE, Acumen’s main technology is based on a DNA early-detection system developed over the years as an SRC, Inc., subsidiary. Originally envisioned during Operation Desert Storm to save the lives of troops that were subjected to chemical or biological attacks, Acumen adapted this technology to revolutionize the dairy industry by helping farmers protect the health of their herds from the spread of mastitis through early detection. 

Now, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Acumen is adapting its testing technology again to address the critical need for diagnostic reagents. Identifying asymptomatic carriers of the coronavirus from droplets that settle on surfaces has the potential to significantly improve our indoor air quality and public health. Acumen is working to develop a fast, point-of-use test that would dramatically assist efforts to mitigate the virus as we return to work and school.

To support the company’s activities in these efforts, SyracuseCoE and Syracuse University are providing additional lab space for their immediate use to continue their timely development. A recent SyracuseCoE Innovation Fund grant will help Acumen manufacture and distribute test kits, once FDA Emergency Use Authorization is received. In addition, SyracuseCoE is working closely with the company’s CEO to help identify additional potential laboratory collaborators that can help speed their path to market on this critical effort.

The Good Life CNY Job Portal Attracts 3,000+ Prospective Applicants Over Last 6 Months

CenterState CEO continues to lead TEC Innovates’ workforce development efforts and, in partnership with Advance Media NY, has formally launched a talent attraction and retention initiative called The Good Life CNY. A branded website connects CNY companies’ open positions with job seekers. The all-in-one resource helps sell the region as a great place to live, work and play in order to attract talent for many of the region’s industries with the highest demand for skilled workers. The website weaves a narrative of the high quality of life available in CNY through diverse culture, seasons and activities, the availability of good education and all within an affordable, central location in the Northeast. 

The majority of funding for this campaign is coming directly from the companies with the highest demands for talent, many within the TEC regional cluster. Syracuse University and SyracuseCoE have also invested in the effort, given the direct benefit to companies within the TEC Innovates cluster.

There has been a significant amount of traffic showing early success. In the past 6 months over 30,000 unique users visited the main site, mainly from nearby cities such as Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Columbus, and Detroit. Promisingly, the job portal has had over 3,000 unique users seeking to learn more about 7,600 CNY jobs.

CenterState CEO and Advance Media NY continue to elevate promotion of this effort within CNY and to communities with large populations of the talent our company’s demand. This effort is expected to run through the end of October 2020 with a possible continuation into 2021.

SyracuseCoE Innovation Fund Awards $20,000 to Local Companies

SyracuseCoE announced that two Upstate New York companies have been awarded funding through the SyracuseCoE 2020 Innovation Fund amounting to $20,000. The Innovation Fund is funded by the SyracuseCoE Partner Program and is designed to help companies commercialize products and technologies that have the potential to innovate and transform the market.

Acumen Detection is a Startup Partner operating out of the SyracuseCoE headquarters building that is transforming the way dairy producers across the globe monitor the health of their herds by providing pathogen detection at the point of need – on the farm. Acumen Detection joined the SyracuseCoE Partner Program in 2019 soon after its spin-off from SRC, Inc.

Acumen Detection’s 2020 Innovation Fund Project: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Acumen has applied its work to address the critical need for diagnostic reagents. Identifying asymptomatic carriers of the coronavirus from droplets that settle on surfaces has the potential to significantly improve our indoor air quality and public health. Acumen seeks to develop a fast, 4-hour, point-of use test that would dramatically assist efforts to mitigate the virus as we return to work and school. The grant will help Acumen manufacture and distribute test kits, once FDA Emergency Use Authorization is received.

Northeast Green Building Consulting (NGBC) is a SyracuseCoE Affiliate Partner and longtime collaborator. NGBC designs, teaches, and builds in Nature’s Image™ making use of their deep experience in the design sciences of biomimicry, resilience science & theory, and building science. 

Northeast Green Building Consulting’s 2020 Innovation Fund Project: This project synthesizes innovative research in resilience science, healthy buildings and passive strategies into a Resilience Audit and Standard‚ the “Assessment for Developing Adaptation, Persistence & Transformability for Buildings” (ADAPT for Buildings). The goal is to provide the design, development, engineering & construction industries, and building owners, with a state-of-the-art framework and tool containing quantifiable, verifiable metrics to use to analyze the performance of healthy and resilient buildings. Ultimately, the ADAPT for Buildings tool will take form as a virtual, interactive App and workbook for multi-industry use.

“The Innovation Fund Awards are a great example of how members of the SyracuseCoE Partner Program can use their membership resources to take advantage of meaningful opportunities and overcome potential barriers to commercialization,” said SyracuseCoE interim executive director Eric Schiff. “The awards, based on technical merit and sound principles, have tremendous potential to strengthen each company through the success of their projects.”

After an initial review by SyracuseCoE staff, selected applicants were invited to participate in a digital proposal pitch to a panel of judges, including members of the SyracuseCoE Industry Partners Council, collaborators and others. Eligibility forawards is extended to all current members of the SyracuseCoE Partner Program. Proposals may include collaborations with non-Partner Program firms and academic partners; however, proposals must be submitted and led by members of the Partner Program. Since 2014, more than $487,000 in project funding has been awarded under this program to support 45 projects conducted by 28 companies.

A call for proposals for the second round of the 2020 SyracuseCoE Innovation Fund Awards will be announced in the fall.

Congratulations to Wex Energy for Winning Impact Prize

Congratulations to WexEnergy, a SyracuseCoE Start-Up Partner and actively engaged TEC Innovates firm, on its receipt of The New York Community Trust Impact Prize at the New York University Tandon School of Engineering’s Urban Future Prize Competition. The award includes a $50,000 cash prize and membership in the clean energy-focused ACRE incubator, located at NYU Tandon’s Urban Future Lab in Brooklyn, New York.

Battery Storage Systems for Buildings

Bing Dong, Ph.D., Associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, College of Engineering and Computer Science, Syracuse University.

“The facility is a fabulous test bed, unique in the United States, that provides me unprecedented capability to conduct the work I want to do.”


Project: Integrating battery systems into buildings to improve energy efficiency and reduce demand on the electric grid.

Backstory: Dong joined Syracuse University from the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) in August. An expert in intelligent building operation, he was recruited as a signature hire to bolster SU’s priority research cluster in energy and environment, bringing nearly $1 million in research funding with him. Dong says he was specifically attracted to SU by the opportunity to work at SyracuseCoE. “The facility is a fabulous test bed, unique in the United States, that provides me unprecedented capability to conduct the work I want to do,” he says.

Nuts and Bolts: Dong is developing and integrating a battery storage system lab at SyracuseCoE to explore ways to manage peak energy offset and smart grid to server interaction in commercial properties. The system will store energy at times when energy demand is low (such as the middle of the night), then at high demand times can provide 20 to 30 percent of building energy needs, offsetting energy costs and demand on the grid. Dong hopes to have the system operational by spring 2020 and then will begin collecting data and fine-tuning control systems to work optimally with building systems and National Grid signals. “The battery can last for 20 to 30 years,” he says. “Over time, this kind of system can save a lot of money for building owners.”

That’s Not All: Dong holds a prestigious five-year National Science Foundation Career Award that supports research on optimizing building-to-grid integration to server for better smart and connected communities. The goal is to better understand human use and energy demand in individual buildings in an attempt to stabilize the grid as a whole, creating smart cities. He also holds a U.S. Department of Energy ARPA-E grant to test and validate protocols to quantify HVAC energy savings from occupancy sensing in buildings. One year into his three-year ARPA-E project, Dong plans to use SyracuseCoE as a test bed to collect data—installing occupancy sensors that will automatically adjust HVAC set points based on the occupancy of a particular space to save energy.

Real-World Application: Dong is looking for entrepreneurial opportunities with plans to form a startup company that uses artificial intelligence to control buildings connected to renewable energy.

SyracuseCoE Impact: In addition to projects designed to use SyracuseCoE headquarters as a test bed, Dong works from an office on the fourth floor. “There is no better place for me on campus than at SyracuseCoE,” he says. 


Led by Syracuse University, SyracuseCoE engages students, faculty, and collaborators at 200+ firms and institutions to catalyze innovations that improve energy efficiency, environmental quality, and resilience in healthy buildings and cleaner, greener communities.

Mass Timber for Sustainable Buildings

Paul Crovella, Ph.D., Assistant professor of forest and natural resources management, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry.

“Studies show that using wood in interior spaces has measurable health and well-being benefits. People feel comfortable in a natural environment. Their heart rates are lower.


Project: Researching wood species suitable for mass timber construction to replace concrete and steel in commercial buildings.

Backstory: Steel and poured concrete production are two of the largest contributors to greenhouse gasses. By contrast, building out of wood has a carbon reduction impact. For many years, wood has been limited to residential construction using 2-by-4 or 2-by-6 lumber boards. New techniques allow construction using much larger pieces of timber that can be used as columns, beams, walls and floors, and can be used in structures up to 18 stories high.

“Performance is similar to concrete and steel in terms of strength and fire safety,” says Crovella. “While small pieces of wood burn easily, once wood is large enough in size, it is actually very difficult to start burning.”

Nuts and Bolts: Most research on mass timber construction has been conducted in Europe and North America. Crovella, who has been testing different species of wood for six years, has turned his attention to South America, where forest resources are abundant but little effort has been made to understand whether the wood is appropriate for mass timber construction. With support from a Faculty Fellows grant, Crovella is testing wood species from Brazil, finding they are more than twice as strong as current mass timber products in use. “The wood in South America grows under much different conditions, and because of that, the types of wood that grow are much denser than what we have in North America,” he says.

SyracuseCoE Impact: Funding from SyracuseCoE allowed Crovella to purchase the wood and build panels in his lab at ESF to do strength testing.

Added Benefits: In addition to reducing greenhouse gases, mass timber construction offers health benefits if the interior wood is left exposed and unfinished. “Studies show that using wood in interior spaces has measurable health and well-being benefits,” says Crovella. “People feel comfortable in a natural environment. Their heart rates are lower. Their stress hormone levels are lower.”

Extra Credit: Crovella has been on the advisory council for the New York State Green Building Conference for the last decade, helping plan the theme and structure of the event and to select speakers. He’s also served as technical advisor to two ESF/SU teams competing in the Department of Energy Solar Decathlon to design a net-zero building. Both teams he advised, in 2014 and 2019, were divisional winners in the national competition.


Led by Syracuse University, SyracuseCoE engages students, faculty, and collaborators at 200+ firms and institutions to catalyze innovations that improve energy efficiency, environmental quality, and resilience in healthy buildings and cleaner, greener communities.

A Celebration: 150 Years of Environmental and Energy Innovation in Central New York

Based on a presentation by Associate Professor Ed Bogucz, Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, Syracuse University

Written by Renee Levy


When SyracuseCoE headquarters opened in 2010, it became a pioneering building in the city, the region and, perhaps, New York state. One of Syracuse’s first LEED Platinum buildings, SyracuseCoE was built as a showcase of green building technology; a living lab where such technologies are developed and tested; and a hub for technology transfer, connecting student and faculty researchers at Syracuse University, SUNY-ESF, SUNY Oswego and Upstate Medical University with local industry to develop technologies and commercialize innovative products for market.

One hundred years earlier, at the same location—on the corner of East Washington and Almond streets—Lyman C. Smith built the L.C. Smith and Bros. Typewriter Company. Smith was an innovator, local industrialist and benefactor of engineering education at Syracuse University. That symbiosis is no aberration. Syracuse University’s 150-year history is deeply intertwined with innovation and entrepreneurship in the region.

When Syracuse University opened its doors in March 1870, Syracuse was a boomtown and the 29th largest city in the United States. The city’s growth had been fueled by the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825, which along with construction of multiple rail lines, established Syracuse as a thriving hub for advances in civil engineering and canal-to-rail intermodal transportation.

A Cradle of Industry and Innovation

Syracuse’s first known industrial incubator was the C.E. Lipe Machine Shop, established in 1880 by mechanical engineer Charles Lipe. At the 20,000-square-foot Lynch Building on South Geddes Street, Lipe worked on his own inventions and rented space to others, including Herbert Franklin, Alexander Brown and Smith, originally known for the L.C. Smith shotgun. The Lipe Shop became recognized as the “cradle of Syracuse industry” with a prowess for precision manufacturing: the ability to make small parts accurately.

Lipe and Brown invented the Hy-Lo Bi-Gear for bicycles. They later turned their attention to gears and transmissions for the auto industry. Franklin was experimenting with automobile design, and the first Franklin automobile was built at the Lipe Shop. Brown also teamed with Smith on improving the design of the typewriter. Along with Smith’s brothers, Wilbert Smith and Hurlburt W. Smith, they established the Smith Premier Typewriter Works and L.C. Smith and Bros. Typewriter Company, which later became Smith Corona.

In 1901, Lyman Smith donated $75,000 to Syracuse University to build Smith Hall and establish the L.C. Smith College of Applied Science. He later gave $40,000 to build Machinery Hall, all an effort to bolster engineering education.

View the full-color PDF with all historic photos and timeline

By the 1920s, Syracuse’s largest employer was Franklin Automobile, with 5,000 workers. The company’s founder, Herbert Franklin, endowed the Franklin Chair in Transportation at Syracuse University (now known as the Franklin Chair in Supply Chain Management). The company had developed a new type of air-cooled engine that made its product lighter and more responsive than other automobiles at the time, which used conventional water-cooled engines. The air-cooled engine offered a significant reliability advantage in cold climates, given that antifreeze had not yet been invented.

Despite its technological sophistication, discounted pricing and the Great Depression led to Franklin Automobile’s demise, and the company declared bankruptcy in 1934, leaving behind a technologically skilled workforce with no jobs and a large, empty factory.

Local business leaders raised a $250,000 incentive to attract a manufacturing company to Syracuse. Investigating the possibilities, they were successful in recruiting the rapidly growing Carrier Air Conditioning Company. Willis Carrier had invented air conditioning in Buffalo in 1902 to solve the challenge of humidity control in printing plants. When Carrier’s employer ended production of the novel technology in 1914, Carrier started his own company in Newark, New Jersey. In 1922, Onondaga Pottery in Syracuse became the first customer to use Carrier’s new centrifugal chiller.

In 1937, Carrier consolidated its manufacturing from four locations in New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the former Franklin Automobile factory in Syracuse. The company grew quickly.

During World War II, the federal government built a factory in DeWitt, a Syracuse suburb, for General Electric to build jet engines. After the war, the site was auctioned off. There were two bidders: Carrier Corporation—which needed larger manufacturing facilities—and Syracuse University—whose enrollment had tripled with Chancellor William P. Tolley’s strategic decision to open the doors to returning veterans on the G.I. Bill. Ultimately, the site was divided between the two.

In 1947, Carrier moved to the larger manufacturing complex off Thompson Road. (When a traffic circle was built in front of the plant in the 1950s, it was named Carrier Circle.) The L.C. Smith College of Engineering moved from Smith and Machinery halls to buildings adjacent to the Carrier Corporation. Engineering students from that time period recall being bused from the main campus to Thompson Road, where engineering classes were held from 1948 to 1952.

By the late 1970s, Carrier had grown to become the world’s largest air conditioning company, with more than 7,000 employees in Syracuse, in research and development, manufacturing and administration. In 1979, Carrier was acquired by United Technologies Corporation (UTC). By 2004, UTC moved Carrier’s headquarters to its own headquarters near Hartford, Connecticut, ending manufacturing in Syracuse. Approximately 1,300 research and development employees remained, and more importantly, so did much of the engineering brain trust that would become crucial to the creation of SyracuseCoE.

Responding to Industry Needs

But Carrier was far from the only innovation industry in town. Beginning in the 1960s, long before Silicon Valley, Syracuse developed as a hub for electronics and instrumentation, with key firms including Welch Allyn, GE Electronics Park, Anaren, Inficon, Martin Marietta and Thomson Consumer Electronics. At the same time, there were parallel developments at Syracuse University in the creation of related academic programs to meet the needs of emerging industries. For example, Syracuse University has the second oldest computer engineering program in the country, due to a longstanding relationship with IBM. Other innovative programs included a bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering, a minor in energy systems and a master’s degree in energy systems.

Central New York was also home to a cluster of successful engineering firms, most prominently O’Brien and Gere, founded by William Stanton Gere, a 1917 graduate of Syracuse University and son of one of Syracuse University’s first known civil engineering graduates, William Anson Gere, who earned his degree in 1884.

Ed Bogucz, founding director of SyracuseCoE, came to the L.C. Smith College of Engineering as a young faculty member in 1985, attracted by the University’s proximity to Carrier Corporation and the possibility of research collaboration through SU’s newly established Center of Advanced Technology in Computer Applications and Software Engineering (CASE) Center. It was a good move. His first sponsored research project was a project for Carrier funded through the CASE Center.

In the early 1990s, Syracuse University Chancellor Kenneth Shaw led a process to reduce the University’s budget and better respond to market demands. As part of the restructuring effort, the University combined the L.C. Smith College of Engineering and the School of Computer and Information Science to create the College of Engineering and Computer Science (ECS). In 1995, Bogucz was named ECS’s interim dean, charged with developing a strategic plan for the college as it completed its downsizing.

Bogucz’s vision was to strengthen ECS by hiring faculty members in areas that aligned with strengths in the local economy and to strengthen collaborations with local firms. At the same time, the Metropolitan Development Association (MDA) was developing Vision 2010, a blueprint to strengthen the CNY economy. The regional blueprint identified seven key CNY industry clusters, including environmental quality and energy systems. In 1996, the College of Engineering and Computer Science adopted a strategic plan that included investments in faculty and facilities aligned with Vision 2010 priorities. In July 1996, Bogucz was named ECS’s dean, charged with implementing the plan.

To advance Vision 2010, the MDA organized working groups for each industry cluster. The working group for environmental and energy systems was co-chaired by Cornelius B. Murphy G’70, chief executive officer of O’Brien & Gere. In 1998, the group invited Bogucz to facilitate a brainstorming of possible areas for collaboration among Central New York companies. What emerged was a plan to develop new technologies for green buildings, an idea being developed by the fledgling U.S. Green Building Council and supported strongly by Carrier.

Planting Seeds for SyracuseCoE

From there, things moved quickly. In 1999, the College of Engineering and Computer Science recruited Jensen Zhang, the first faculty member hired to build capacity in areas related to indoor environmental quality. The following year, the MDA, now known as CenterState CEO, launched the New York Indoor Environmental Quality (NYIEQ) Center to promote regional university-industry collaborations. In 2001, Bogucz led efforts on a successful proposal to the state to establish the Environmental Quality Systems (EQS) Strategically Targeted Academic Research (STAR) Center, led by Syracuse University in collaboration with the NYIEQ Center, MDA and 10 academic and research institutions. H. Ezzat Khalifa, director of Carrier R&D programs at United Technologies Research Center, was hired to lead the EQS STAR Center.

Later that year, New York State announced a new Centers of Excellence program to foster collaboration between the academic research community and the business sector to develop and commercialize new products and technologies. In 2002, SyracuseCoE was established by New York State as one of the first five statewide Centers of Excellence, leveraging activities of the NYIEQ and EQS STAR centers, with a mission to encourage and fund collaborative projects that develop new environmental and energy systems products and services, serving as a conduit between university researchers and industry.

Since its creation, SyracuseCoE has supported more than 200 projects that assisted more than 70 local companies, which report creating or retaining more than 1,100 jobs to date. In addition, SyracuseCoE has supported more than 50 Syracuse University faculty members in seven schools and colleges through its Faculty Fellows Program, which provides competitively awarded funding for seed projects.

In 2009, SyracuseCoE hosted the ninth International Society of Indoor Air Quality and Climate Healthy Buildings conference and exhibition, which attracted more than 1,700 attendees from 44 nations. The following year, SyracuseCoE opened its LEED-Platinum living laboratory headquarters in downtown Syracuse, on the brownfield that was the site of the L.C. Smith and Bros. typewriter factory. A thriving hub for industry-University collaboration and an anchor to Syracuse’s Innovation Crossroads, SyracuseCoE’s unique facilities have attracted international research teams, including the groundbreaking COGfx Study on the impact of indoor environmental quality on human cognition led by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in 2014.

Last year, leading researchers from 33 countries gathered in Syracuse for the seventh International Building Physics Conference, hosted by SyracuseCoE and chaired by Zhang, Syracuse University professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering. It was the first time that the triennial meeting, the world’s premier building science conference, was held in the United States, attracted to Syracuse by the cutting-edge research and innovation related to indoor air quality, energy efficiency and high-performance building technologies.

Syracuse University and the Central New York community are undisputed leaders in the field, all because Syracuse University had the foresight to build programs, hire faculty and invest in facilities in areas relevant to local industry. The result: significant impact on our regional economy, our built environment and natural environments and our water resources.

Innovation Fund Call for Proposals

2020 Innovation Fund Call for Proposals Now Open to Partner Firms!

LEARN MORE AND APPLY

SyracuseCoE invites proposals to the Innovation Fund from current SyracuseCoE Partner companies for up to $10,000. It is anticipated that there will be five awards. The Innovation Fund is funded by SyracuseCoE Partner Program and is designed to help companies commercialize products and technologies that have the potential to transform and innovate the market. You must be a member to apply, but it’s not too late, you can join the SyracuseCoE Partner Program today! Projects must be aligned with one or more of SyracuseCoE’s three core areas:

  • Indoor Environmental Quality and Building Energy Efficiency
  • Clean & Renewable Energy
  • Water Resources

Previous companies who were Innovation Fund winners include:

Visit the Innovation Fund Projects page to see how other Partners have used these funds. The application deadline is 5:00pm EST, Friday, March 20th, 2020.

Industry Partners Innovation: Innovative Air Handling

Technology transfer from a Syracuse University lab to local business could revolutionize the residential HVAC market.

When Upstate Parts & Supply needed engineering help to develop a new HVAC unit, it turned to SyracuseCoE, which connected the company to faculty members in Syracuse University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science (ECS). With assistance from SyracuseCoE and ECS faculty, Upstate successfully developed and commercialized its NuClimate Chilled Beam, which was subsequently licensed by Carrier, sold to Zehnder Group and has been installed all over the world.

If we’re successful, you could see new residential HVAC products on the market using this technology by 2025, not to mention the possibility of adapting the technology to retrofit current units. This is potentially a billion-dollar market.

John A. DiMillo

That track record is one reason ECS faculty members Thong Dang and Mehmet Sarimurat are partnering with Upstate Parts & Supply to pursue development of a concept developed in their SU lab that could revolutionize the residential HVAC market. Dang and Sarimurat envisioned developing a compact, high-efficiency air handler for residential HVAC systems that they believe will use 35 percent less energy than current models.

SyracuseCoE staff members assisted Upstate Parts & Supply and Syracuse University in developing a successful proposal to the U.S. Department of Energy for Phase 1 small-business technology transfer (STTR) projects. The $200,000 grant was the first federal Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) funding the firm has received in its 33-year history and one of only 12 awards the DOE’s Building Technology Office funded nationwide, demonstrating strong promise for the concept.

“The collaboration between SyracuseCoE, SU faculty and Upstate Parts & Supply is a model example of what SyracuseCoE does—providing a bridge to transfer SU technologies to a small company to aid commercialization that will eventually benefit the regional economy, consumers and the environment,” says Tammy Rosanio, associate director of partner programs.

The project seeks to develop a novel air handling unit for residential heating and cooling systems that synergistically integrates its fan and heat exchanger. This innovation, if successful, could produce an air handler that, compared to conventional units, is 30 percent smaller and uses 35 percent less energy, all while improving the overall performance of its HVAC system by at least seven percent.

Upstate Parts & Supply received the STTR grant July 1. According to John A. DiMillo, a company vice president, the Phase I grant supports advanced computational fluid dynamics studies performed by SU faculty and students to evaluate and refine feasibility of the concept. SyracuseCoE helped jump-start the project through work done this summer by students and faculty in SyracuseCoE’s Analysis and Design Center under the TEC Innovates program. A team of students will also be working with Upstate Parts & Supply during the academic year under a mechanical engineering capstone project to design and build a test stand that is capable of measuring the performance of an air-handler unit, work also supported by the TEC Innovates program.

The goal is to demonstrate feasibility by the end of June 2020 and pursue a Phase 2 grant. A successful Phase 2 grant of $1 million would support building and testing a prototype unit.

SyracuseCoE Awards Funding for 8 Research and Innovation Projects Led by Faculty Fellows

Projects engage 15 faculty members from 4 universities and a local startup partner

SyracuseCoE announced today that eight research and innovations projects led by its Faculty Fellows were competitively selected to receive awards totaling $109,368. The new projects engage 15 cross-disciplinary faculty members from Syracuse University, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF), SUNY Oswego and SUNY Upstate. In addition, Density, Inc. a SyracuseCoE industry partner company, is a co-investigator on one project.

The SyracuseCoE Faculty Fellows Program supports seed projects that strengthen faculty scholarship in clean and renewable energy, indoor environmental quality, and water resources. The program brings together a diverse community of faculty members from many disciplines. Researchers from four schools and colleges at Syracuse University, two at SUNY ESF, one from SUNY Oswego and one from SUNY Upstate received awards.

The goal of Faculty Fellows program is to bolster collaboration and discovery, strengthening Syracuse University’s growing research portfolio. The program is critical to SyracuseCoE’s core mission to create innovations in environmental and energy technologies. In addition, projects are encouraged to strategically target research topics that contribute to economic development of local and New York State businesses.

“We are extremely proud of the momentum that the SyracuseCoE Faculty Fellows Program has had in the past 4 years, growing to nearly 60 researchers,” said Laura J. Steinberg, SyracuseCoE interim executive director. “These awards can lead to a significant “next step” for faculty by fostering further exploration, allowing them to publish new findings or even by helping them to win additional funding.”

The projects, principal investigators (listed first), and their collaborators are:

A High-throughput Analytical Workflow for Identification and Quantification of Cyanobacterial Toxins in Environmental Water Samples

  • Teng Zeng, Assistant Professor, Civil & Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering and Computer Science, Syracuse University

A New Approach to Evaluate Energy Savings, Thermal Comfort and IAQ from Occupant-Centric Building Controls

  • Bing Dong, Associate Professor, Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, College of Engineering and Computer Science, Syracuse University
  • Meng Kong, Research Assistant Professor, Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, College of Engineering and Computer Science, Syracuse University
  • Steven VonDeak, Co-founder and Chief of Staff, Density, Inc
  • Jianshun Zhang, Professor, Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, College of Engineering and Computer Science, Syracuse University

Development of Improved Poplar Lines for Biofuel Production

  • Heather Coleman, Associate Professor, Biology, Biotechnology, College of Arts & Sciences, Syracuse University

Establishment of Initial Exploratory Research for the Mycelium Research Group

  • Daekwon Park, Assistant Professor, Syracuse Architecture, Syracuse University
  • Jeongmin Ahn, Associate Professor, Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, College of Engineering and Computer Science, Syracuse University
  • Zhao Qin, Assistant Professor, Civil & Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering and Computer Science, Syracuse University
  • Nina Sharifi, Assistant Professor, Syracuse Architecture, Syracuse University

Measuring the Vertical Profile of Air Pollution and Noise Near Interstate-81

  • Jamie Mirowsky, Assistant Professor, Chemistry, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
  • Judy Crawford, Visiting Researcher, SUNY Upstate Medical University
  • John Hassett, Professor, Chemistry, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
  • Meng Kong, Research Assistant Professor, Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, College of Engineering and Computer Science, Syracuse University

Net Zero Retrofit Campus Housing Pilot Project

  • Nina Sharifi, Assistant Professor, Syracuse Architecture, Syracuse University
  • Bing Dong, Associate Professor, Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, College of Engineering and Computer Science, Syracuse University

Production and Evaluation of Activated Biochar from Shrub Willow for Water & Wastewater Treatment Applications

  • Nosa Egiebor, Professor, Environmental Resources Engineering, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
  • Tao Wendong, Associate Professor, Environmental Resources Engineering, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

Synthesis of Silicon, Tin and Phosphorus Nanoparticles as Anode Materials for High-Performance Sodium Ion Battery for Grid Scale Energy Storage

  • Mohammad Islam, Associate Professor, Physics, SUNY Oswego

Projects were selected based on responses to a request for proposals issued by SyracuseCoE earlier this year. Each faculty member who is involved in a project is appointed as a SyracuseCoE Faculty Fellow for a three-year term. Eight new faculty members have been appointed. The program has supported nearly 60 researchers to date.

SyracuseCoE is New York State’s Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems, which is led by Syracuse University in collaboration with SUNY ESF, SUNY Oswego, CenterState Corporation for Economic Opportunity and dozens of industry partners.

New York’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem, Featuring FuzeHub and Ducted Wind Turbines

A SyracuseCoE Research & Technology Forum

It is an exciting time to be an entrepreneur in Central New York!  This forum offers guidance on how businesses can use resources like FuzeHub and SyracuseCoE.

New York State offers a host of resources designed to enable new and existing businesses to become more competitive through manufacturing improvements and help with the development of innovative technologies and processes. Centers and programs that are supported by Empire State Development’s Division of Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR) emphasize the importance of working with industry as a way to leverage New York State’s technology strengths to produce new products. The state also offers other innovation development support resources, including financial incentives to foster university collaboration, research and innovation.

Learn more about one of those ecosystem resources, FuzeHub, who provides programs and resources for manufacturers in New York State. Julianne Clothier, FuzeHub’s Industry Engagement Manager, shared information about FuzeHub’s suite of programming designed to ignite growth and prosperity in New York’s manufacturing sector, one manufacturer at a time! 

We were also joined by Joe Dickson, CEO Ducted Wind Turbines, Inc., a SyracuseCoE Start-up Partner company based in Potsdam, NY. He shared how NYS supports and programs like the SyracuseCoE Innovation Fund give companies like Ducted Wind Turbines new opportunities for growth and success. Joe also shared sage wisdom from his broad 30-year experience working with six diverse startups within NYS’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Presenters:

Julianne Clouthier Industry Engagement Manager, FuzeHub

Julianne oversees the Jeff Lawrence Innovation Fund which is comprised of manufacturing grants, a commercialization competition and an innovation challenge. The Fund provides $1M annually to not-for profits, manufacturers and early-stage technology companies in New York. Julianne has over ten years of economic development experience and has worked on numerous microenterprise, business expansion, and infrastructure projects. She is a member of the Tech Valley High School Business Alliance and serves as a mentor, judge and panelist for numerous innovation and entrepreneurial programs.  Julianne received her MBA from the University at Albany, a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Mercyhurst College and is a recent graduate of AlbanyCanCode -Front End Web Development.

Joe Dickson CEO, Ducted Wind Turbines, Inc.

Joe Dickson, currently the CEO of Ducted Wind Turbines, Inc. and also recently served as a co-founder and the CEO of Pelitex, is a veteran entrepreneur who has served as the founder and/or senior C-Level executive of seven high-tech start-up firms across multiple industry and technology sectors during his 30-year career. His first start-up, a spin out from GE, achieved a 100X ROI in 3 years.  Since then he has been a part of 6 other start-ups across industry areas as diverse as advanced materials, IT, renewable energy, microelectronics, medical devices, and biotech.  
Mr. Dickson has helped raise over $50MM in venture and private equity capital, and also has extensive experience in mergers and acquisitions. He is an expert in business and financial modeling, market validation, strategic positioning, and business plan execution. Mr. Dickson has taught entrepreneurship at both Cazenovia College and Syracuse University, and was named Entrepreneur of the Year by the Syracuse Citizen’s Foundation in 1992. Mr. Dickson has a BS in Chemistry from Syracuse University and an MBA from the University of Rochester.

Up to $3,000 for SyracuseCoE Partners to Hire an Intern this Summer

SyracuseCoE helps companies provide students with invaluable “real-world” experience

SyracuseCoE is seeking applications from its industry partners for funding available through the 2020 Summer Industry Collaboration Internship Program.  The program supports paid internship opportunities for SyracuseCoE Partner Program companies to host a student pursuing a degree in science, engineering, or architecture. Throughout the course of the internship, the student will increase his or her knowledge and technical skills by engaging in hands-on work at SyracuseCoE Partner firms related to indoor environmental quality (IEQ), high performance/green building, clean and renewable energy, and water resources.

In addition to providing experiential learning, the program also aims to give students the opportunity to establish valuable relationships with local industry leaders and increase post-graduation retention in the Central Upstate region of New York. Interns will be invited to SyracuseCoE networking events throughout the summer, and they will develop and present an end-of-summer poster showcasing the project(s) on which he/she worked.

To date, 32 companies and 99 students have participated in this program, which is supported by annual fees paid by companies that participate in the SyracuseCoE Partner Program. This year, SyracuseCoE intends to fund up to 8 summer internships at Partner firms, with each commitment providing up to $3,000 per company. The deadline to apply is February 28th.

Learn more about the member benefits of the SyracuseCoE Partner Program.

Occupant Behavior Driven Smart Building Controls

In the US, people spend 87% of their time in buildings. Understanding dynamic occupant presence and thermal comfort needs is crucial to ensuring that building design and operations provide healthy and productive living and working environments. Occupant behavior is becoming a leading factor for building energy use, but there are challenges to studying occupant behaviors, as they are complex and ever changing. Privacy issues and the high cost of sensors can make data collection difficult. The constant changes in the built environment caused by occupant behavior also result in both physiological and psychological effects on the occupants.

Professor Bing Dong’s presentation covered various research projects related to behavior driven controls and optimization of smart and connected buildings, from behavior-driven individual building energy optimization to urban scale energy management, from equipment level optimal controls to large scale buildings-to-grid integration. Professor Dong concluded with a research vision on behavior-driven urban energy infrastructure planning and management within a smart and connected community. 

Steven VonDeak presented the people count sensor platform, Density, Inc. To put it simply — Density counts people. Understanding how many people are in a space helps organizations improve building performance by making them safer, more efficient and more productive. Density’s people counting system places a premium on three key functionalities: anonymity, accuracy, and real-time data availability. This real-time room occupancy provides insight for a variety of use cases including intelligent demand-controlled HVAC operation. Organized in 2014, Density has grown to a 50-person startup and their proprietary hardware/software system is all assembled, tested and packaged right in Syracuse, NY.

Moderator:

Laura J. Steinberg
Interim Executive Director, SyracuseCoEExecutive Director, Syracuse University Infrastructure InstituteProfessor, Civil & Environmental Engineering, Syracuse University

Dr. Steinberg’s research focuses on environmental phenomena’s effect on infrastructure, including how climate change is impacting infrastructure and environmental disasters. Her areas of expertise include environmental modeling and policy, diffusion of innovation, and critical infrastructure protection.

Presenters:

Bing Dong
Associate Professor, Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, College of Engineering and Computer Science, Syracuse UniversitySyracuseCoE Faculty Fellow

Dr. Dong has more than 15 years experiences in building energy performance simulation, building controls and HVAC FDD. He is also actively involved in the projects related with occupancy behavior modeling in buildings, machine learning for sustainability, wireless sensor network in buildings and building information modeling. He has published more than 50 peer reviewed papers. His papers are cited more than 400 times by other researchers around the world. He specializes in Occupancy Behavior Modeling, Energy Performance M&V, Model-based Building HVAC Controls; Energy Performance Simulation, HVAC FDD and BIM. 

Steven VonDeak
Co-founder and Chief of Staff, Density, Inc.

Steven VonDeak is a co-founder and Chief of Staff at Density Inc, a 50-person venture-backed enterprise IoT company. Incorporated in 2014, Density helps organizations improve the performance of their space by making it safer, more efficient, and more productive. From 2014 to 2019, VonDeak has been responsible for supporting the varied operational needs of Density, including: finance, legal, and human resources. He is also the general manager of Density’s Syracuse office, where the company was founded and continues to run significant operations today. From 2008 to 2014, VonDeak founded and operated a digital consultancy specializing in web and mobile application development. He holds a JD from Syracuse University College of Law ’08 and a BA from the University of Rochester ’05.

Personal Cooling

Bush Technical personifies SyracuseCoE’s mission to connect companies with students and faculty to develop new technologies.

“The students are solving real problems for real companies looking for real answers. They become much more invested.”
– Bill Bush, Owner of Bush Technical


Medical teams in Africa working to combat contagious viruses such as Zika and Ebola are hindered by their need to wear full body suits in temperatures that often exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Wearing a cooling vest underneath can help, but the electricity required to make the ice used to cool the vest is often not available in remote areas, not to mention the burden of being tethered to a 20-pound cooler.

That’s just one application for a lightweight, battery-operated personal cooling vest being designed by Bush Technical, a one-man consulting and contracting company specializing in compressor technology, with assistance from engineering students at Syracuse University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science.

Bill Bush was a retired Carrier engineer when he was tapped by H. Ezzat Khalifa, Syracuse University professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, to create a micro-scroll compressor for a SyracuseCoE-led research project funded by the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). That was 2014.

The project was to develop personal environmental control (PEC) systems for office workers, units that would sit on or under a desk. Bush recalls thinking that the scroll compressor technology the team wanted him to develop wouldn’t provide sufficient efficiency for the system. But it did, exceeding its efficiency target by 17 percent. In networking with other ARPA-E stakeholders, Bush found other markets interested in uses for his ultra-efficient mini compressor

Now fully out of retirement, Bush is an adjunct instructor at the College of Engineering and Computer Science, for the last five years assisting with the senior mechanical engineering design course. For the last two years, and continuing for a third, Bush has also led teams of capstone students working with Bush Technical on refining a wearable system that provides personal cooling.

As a one-man operation, Bush says partnering with the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering on a capstone project is a win-win situation. Rather than working on an abstract technical challenge, “the students are solving real problems for real companies looking for real answers,” he says.

“They become much more invested.” In turn, he gains valuable engineering assistance while retaining intellectual property rights.

In 2018, students designed a manufacturing process for mass production of the compressor. In 2019, with support from the SyracuseCoE Innovation Fund, they developed a breadboard prototype to prove that the wearable vest technology would work. Bush describes the breadboard prototype as having all of the components connected and operating, without the size restrictions the actual device would require. “It’s basically an open system with easy access to fiddle with and make tweaks,” he says. For 2020, a third capstone team is designing a test facility for both cooling system components as well as for complete cooling systems.

Working from his lab space at SyracuseCoE, Bush is working step by step to refine the system. “Once I’ve got the kinks worked out, another very good capstone project will be to develop it into an actual wearable prototype,” he says. There will also be an opportunity for computer science students to support the development of an application that controls the device through a cell phone app.

Bush credits SyracuseCoE for “snowballing” the entire enterprise—beginning with submission of the ARPA-E proposal for the PEC system, to providing support to help develop his technology, to providing space and infrastructure for Bush Technical at SyracuseCoE headquarters. “This Bush Technical initiative wouldn’t exist without SyracuseCoE,” he says.


Led by Syracuse University, SyracuseCoE engages students, faculty, and collaborators at 200+ firms and institutions to catalyze innovations that improve energy efficiency, environmental quality, and resilience in healthy buildings and cleaner, greener communities.

SyracuseCoE Faculty Fellows Program Now Accepting Applications for 2020

LEARN MORE AND APPLY

SyracuseCoE—New York State’s Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems—is offering funding to support seed projects that strengthen faculty scholarship in clean and renewable energy, indoor environmental quality, and water resources. Successful applicants will participate in the SyracuseCoE Faculty Fellows Program, which provides leadership for SyracuseCoE’s core technical areas and supports engagements with academic and industry partners. Funding awarded to seed projects also is intended to catalyze research that will lead to future opportunities, including funding from federal agencies or commercial sources.

The Faculty Fellows Program is open to faculty members who hold full-time appointments at SyracuseCoE Academic Partner institutions: Syracuse University, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF) and SUNY Oswego. All proposals must address how the use of the Faculty Fellow seed funding will lead to a significant “next step” in the research, lead to or leverage follow-on funding opportunities, and contribute to establishing SyracuseCoE and its Partner institutions as thought leaders in the targeted area. In addition, projects are encouraged to strategically target research topics that hold promise for contributing to economic development of local entities and New York State businesses.

SyracuseCoE intends to award up to $75,000 in this round. Proposals for seed projects that engage multiple faculty members may request up to $20,000. Seed projects involving a single faculty member are eligible to receive up to $10,000. The deadline for applications is January 6, 2020.

Bird’s Eye View

Students take unusual approach to the problem of harmful algae blooms at Ramboll Think Tank at SyracuseCoE.

“Between the resources available and the proximity to the Tech Garden and Ramboll office downtown, SyracuseCoE was a great environment for the interns to develop and grow their network.”
– Jamie Newton, Director of Innovation, Ramboll


Harmful algae blooms (HABs) have become a growing threat to the ecological, recreational and economic services provided by waterways in New York state due to toxins that can cause sickness and fatality among people, pets, livestock and wildlife. Due to their ephemeral nature—they can grow rapidly and be moved by wind and water currents—HABs are difficult to characterize and manage.

A team of college students from Syracuse and Clarkson universities is promoting the use of unmanned aerial systems (drones) to collect information pertaining to HABs and associated patterns of lake dynamics to better understand where and how HABs develop and guide how they can be managed.

Ramboll hired the six students—Haleem Alakiu ’20, Trufat Emanuel ’20 and Bryan King ’20 from Syracuse University and Noah Poirer, Kaitlin Rossiter and Adam Sherwood from Clarkson University— who spent the summer engaged in the first-ever Ramboll Think Tank, housed at SyracuseCoE. During its 11-week internship, the team studied a health and environment statement around HABs, developed ideas to collect and quantify data, and engaged industry and municipal partners to validate the uses and demand for such information.

Ramboll is a global engineering, design and consultancy company that acquired Syracuse-headquartered engineering and design consultancy OBG on January 1. According to Jamie Newtown, director of innovation at Ramboll, the Think Tank was an outgrowth of OBG’s SPARK competition, a 24-hour innovation think tank where teams of college students brainstorm and problem solve to find innovative solutions to real- world industry challenges.

“We recognized there was a lot of talent within these SPARK programs and decided to extract the top talent out of a competition held in Central New York to help with our own innovation,” he says.

Holding the Think Tank at SyracuseCoE was natural. OBG was a founding Industry Partner, and Neil Webb, Ramboll director of growth and markets, chairs the SyracuseCoE Partners Council. SyracuseCoE has partnered on SPARK, hosting numerous Central New York competitions.

“SyracuseCoE was the perfect collaborative environment for the Think Tank to meet,” says Newtown. “Between the resources available there and the proximity to the Tech Garden and Ramboll office downtown, it was a great environment for the interns to develop and grow their network.”

In August, the Think Tank team participated in Drones Over Downtown in Syracuse and the following week made a poster presentation at the SyracuseCoE Innovation Showcase with additional support from Syracuse University Blackstone Launchpad. Their work culminated with submission of an application to GENIUS NY, the world’s largest business accelerator program for unmanned systems.

“Their goal is to be selected for 2020 and be able to create and launch a new business to refine their idea,” says Newtown.

Regardless of the outcome, the interns found the Think Tank experience an invaluable addition to their education.

“A lot of engineering is physics and math,” says King, an engineering major. “This internship allowed me to develop business and networking skills, allowing me better insight into other avenues I could pursue with my combined engineering and newfound business knowledge.”


Led by Syracuse University, SyracuseCoE engages students, faculty, and collaborators at 200+ firms and institutions to catalyze innovations that improve energy efficiency, environmental quality, and resilience in healthy buildings and cleaner, greener communities.

Nine Companies Selected to Receive Funding to Advance Innovations

SyracuseCoE gives Innovation Fund Awards to Partners to help commercialize innovative products and services

SyracuseCoE announced that it has selected nine companies from CenterState/Upstate/Central New York to receive awards from its 2019 SyracuseCoE Innovation Fund competition. SyracuseCoE’s Innovation Fund Program is designed to target specific barriers to the commercialization of potentially transformative innovations by companies who are members of the SyracuseCoE Partner Program.

The nine award-winning projects are:

Acumen Detection was awarded Innovation Fund support to expand the commercial use of their existing patented technology (the Acumen PCR®MYCOB assay) by development of a screening test to detect Mycoplasma bovis from deep nasal swabs of cattle. Early detection of Mycoplasma in cattle will aid in making timely and accurate herd management decisions and enable the farmer to increase their profits by saving the energy wasted on feeding, housing and treating sick and non-productive animals those can spread the disease to healthy animals.

LC Drives received an Innovation Fund award to support its development of the next generation of are smaller, lighter, more efficient electric motors.  This project will help the company scale the machine design and related manufacturing equipment on the path for use in utility scale wind turbines ultimately reducing the cost of wind power.

Cocoon construct is developing a prefabricated panelized system to unlock the market for whole‐building deep energy retrofits in New York State and create jobs at multiple manufacturers throughout the product’s supply chain. The proposed project will support the design of a proprietary attachment system for affixing Cocoon prefabricated wall panels to existing building structures, as well as modeling and simulation to validate the system’s performance.

Cocoon construct also received support in 2019 for a second project designed to develop a Certification Test Plan for their prefabricated panelized system. The project will include product compliance and testing protocols with the dual objectives of informing the work undertaken by a Syracuse University Mechanical Engineering Capstone project team and ensuring that the system can be tested, certified and warrantied for long‐term performance, thus enhancing its commercial readiness. Successful commercialization of the envisioned product promises to accelerate the market for deep energy retrofits and create jobs at multiple manufacturers throughout the product’s supply chain.

Ducted Turbines International (DTI) is commercializing a ducted turbine technology and received funding support to address the power electronics that connect the turbine to the grid and the manufacture of a robust blade system. With the focus on a quality supply chain that will enable a long-term reduction in the cost per unit energy ($/kWh), DTI hopes to remove these barriers, creating a ‘Turbine in a Box’ solution that will provide power everywhere to anyone. The project will demonstrate the development with a full-scale turbine test at the Clarkson Wind Turbine Test Site.

DTI also received an award in 2019 to help reduce the cost of its turbine duct by integrating a rotational molding manufacturing product that can significantly reduce the cost of the duct, speeding the path to commercialization.

Edison Innovative Power is developing the world’s first SMART, configurable, multi-output high-voltage system. The company received an Innovation Fund award to perform multiple iterations of advanced thermal simulation and analyses to drive design optimization and verification prior to moving to production.

Farm to Flame Energy has developed biomass-powered generators and grinders are smokeless, odorless and easy to manage. The company received an Innovation Fund award to develop a demonstration unit that will advance their path to commercialization.

Ramboll is in the process of establishing BloomOptix as a start-up and will enter the GeniusNY competition in October 2019. The Innovation Fund program funding will be used for the purchase of a hyperspectral sensor and unmanned vehicle technology that will contribute to the future commercialization of the BloomOptix team’s innovation.

tkFabricate was awarded an Innovation Fund project to support the design and construct a prototype “Integrated Mechanical Systems Pod (IMSP)” sized to provide space conditioning (heating and cooling) and domestic hot water for individual attached single-family homes in the Syracuse Housing Authority’s “Scattered Sites” residences. This packaged mechanical unit will include air-to-water heat pumps and be an integral part of full building deep energy retrofits targeting increased thermal comfort and indoor air quality while achieving 75% energy use reduction when measured from existing building loads, thus enabling the residences to be capable of net zero energy use with subsequent installation of photovoltaic panels.

Vistex Composites received funding to perform product trimming in-house at their manufacturing facility and improve safety & air quality (Helps meet OSHA Standard 1910.1000 (air contaminants)). This will eliminate the frustrations associated with the two current options which are: 1. Attempting to perform trimming manually with facemask and air filter which can be unsafe; or 2. Outsourcing this portion of the manufacturing process – causing the company to lose production opportunities (significant unnecessary costs make price non-competitive & drastically extends lead times).

“Central New York companies, like those in the SyracuseCoE Partner Program, have an entrepreneurial spirit and a history of pioneering innovation”, said Laura J. Steinberg, SyracuseCoE’s interim executive director. “The SyracuseCoE Innovation Fund awards help collaborating companies bridge gaps in the commercialization process and ultimately contribute to stronger companies and products that have a greater chance of success in the marketplace. ”

SyracuseCoE is New York State’s Center of Excellence for Environmental and Energy Systems. Funding for the SyracuseCoE Innovation Fund is provided by industry members of the SyracuseCoE Partner Program. The nine awards in the current round total $107,146. To date, awards from the program have totaled $467,345 and supported 43 clean energy projects at 27 companies throughout New York State. Eligibility for Innovation Fund awards is open to all current members of the SyracuseCoE Partner Program. The next call for proposals is expected in February of 2020. Applicants submit a proposal online and then pitch their project to a panel of reviewers from the region. To learn more about joining the SyracuseCoE Partner Program, contact Tammy Rosanio at tlrosani@syr.edu.

Lessons Learned from Monitoring and Re-Commissioning New York State’s Portfolio of CHP Systems

Combined heat and power (CHP) systems, or cogeneration, provide on-site electric power and thermal energy from a single system, eliminating waste and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Conventional power plants use fuel to generate electricity but reject waste heat into the atmosphere. In contrast, CHP systems recover that waste heat and use it for industrial processes, to heat domestic hot water, and provide space heating and cooling.
 
This Research & Technology Forum featured fleet-level results for several CHP systems that have been installed under NYSERDA‘s CHP program. Specifically, Hugh Henderson, Principal Consultant at Frontier Energy, outlined the types of performance issues that have been found at specific sites, and shows how performance-monitoring and re-commissioning efforts have helped these CHP installations achieve their expected potential.

Presenter:

Hugh Henderson
Principal Consultant, Frontier Energy
 
Mr. Henderson is a Principal Consultant at Frontier Energy with more than 30 years of experience evaluating energy technologies through on-site evaluation, field monitoring, and energy simulations. His areas of expertise include innovative HVAC systems, CHP, industrial processes, and heat recovery. Mr. Henderson holds both Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Agricultural (Mechanical) Engineering from Cornell University. He is a professional engineer in Florida and New York State. He is an active member in several ASHRAE society-level committees.

Old School Meets New School: King + King Architects Transform an 1849 Schoolhouse into a High-Performance, Low-Carbon Residence

This Stone Schoolhouse lies on the outskirts of Syracuse, just off State Rt. 92 in Fayetteville, New York. Constructed in 1849 with 22” local limestone walls and heavy timber framing, the structure has stood the test of time through maintenance and neglect, hot humid summers and bitterly cold winters.
 
Looking forward through the 21st century, how do we shepherd buildings with historic character into the future using healthy, safe and comfortable design modifications… all the while with minimal energy use and net-zero aspirations? King + King Architects present their approach to transforming an 1849 stone schoolhouse into a high-performance, low-carbon residence. 
 
Designed to the guidelines of the Passive House EnerPHit standard, we strive to achieve all of the above! As a precedent to historical masonry deep energy retrofits in cold climates, join us as we embark on this endeavor of simultaneously incorporating high-quality historic building principles in practice with the analysis and scrutiny of Passive House building science. The new residence has systems in place for energy use monitoring, real-time wall system analysis and CO2 sensing to ensure this structure endures another 170 years, at least. 
 
Presenters:
Tom King, CPHD, LEED AP
Team Leader, King + King Architects
 
Tom is a Certified Passive House Designer and Tradesperson, trained in the construction, detailing and energy modeling of high-performance buildings. At King + King he lives in the details. Designing high performing envelope systems for all buildings, large and small. Whether it be Net Zero, Passive House, new construction or renovation, complying with limited budgets and Energy Codes, or striving toward the highest performance metrics; every building stands to benefit from airtight construction, continuous insulation and high quality detailing coupled with integrated mechanical system strategies. Tom pushes this boundary and challenges colleagues and consultants alike to think, design, and construct more holistically. 
 
Tom is a graduate of Stevens Institute of Technology, where he held a leading role in the research, design and construction of the SURE House’s resilient and sustainable components. The SURE House is a net-zero energy prototype for resilient residential construction targeting coastal neighborhoods increasingly affected by a changing climate. The Stevens SURE House team, led by six graduate students including Tom, won an unprecedented seven of ten competitions at the 2015 US Department of Energy Solar Decathlon competition. Tom holds a Master’s in Engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from Roger Williams University. 
 
Jim King, AIA, LEED AP
Partner, King + King Architects
 
Jim is partner-in-charge of the K-12 Education Design Studio, specializing in the K-12 education market and its intrinsic connection between space planning, teaching and learning. Carrying an excellent reputation among educators as a collaborator and instructional space specialist. As an employer in a STEM field, Jim understands the importance of partnering with education at all levels. He frequently serves as an in-class resource for project-based learning activities, provides opportunities for job shadowing, and hosts professional development sessions for educators. Jim frequently hosts students in his office for “problem-solving days.” Jim believes that engagement of students from diverse backgrounds with STEM businesses is critical to increasing the numbers who choose STEM-focused careers. 
 
Jim serves on the leadership teams of the Central NY and Northern NY STEM Hubs, the Empire State STEM Learning Network and the ESM and North Country STEM Learning Ecosystems. This involvement has helped fuel Jim’s passion to change the way education is delivered in NY State and thought the United States. Under Jim’s leadership, King + King is a founding partner in the Collaborative Educators Summit, a two-day cost-free professional development experience for school-based teams. Jim holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Syracuse University and has been a licensed architect since 1983.
 

Research & Technology Forum Series 

SyracuseCoE offers regularly scheduled forums and networking showcasing innovative research, technologies and other opportunities of interest to stakeholders and community members. Past topics have included groundbreaking industry projects to modernize the HVAC systems at the Sistine Chapel, workshops to help state agencies develop funding priorities, and research on the impact of “green” buildings on cognitive function. To receive notice of these events, sign up for email updates at the “Join our mailing list” tab at the bottom right corner of the website. Visit the Research & Technology Forum page to see the archive.

Research to Commercialization: Upstate Parts & Supply Teams with Syracuse University to Win $200,000 to Evaluate Next-generation HVAC Technology

Upstate Parts and Supply, Inc. from East Syracuse, NY leveraged assistance from TEC Innovates and a collaboration with Syracuse University to win a $200,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program to evaluate the feasibility of a next-generation residential HVAC air handler.

The project is intended to improve the energy efficiency of HVAC systems used in homes.  Upstate Parts & Supply, Inc. will collaborate with Syracuse University researchers to develop a next-generation Compact, High-Efficiency Air Handling Unit (CHE-AHU) for residential heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. The CHE-AHU will synergistically integrate the fan and heat exchanger, which is expected to reduce energy consumption of the air handler by at least 35%, improve the overall performance of the HVAC system by at least 7%, and reduce overall size by at least 30% compared to current technologies.

The TEC Innovates program identified the DOE funding opportunity and facilitated a collaboration between Upstate Parts & Supply and Professors Thong Dang and Mehmet Sarimurat of Syracuse University’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering to develop the project, which is based on technology developed previously by Prof. Dang and his students. TEC Innovates, which is supported with funding from the U.S. Department of Commerce, spurs innovation and entrepreneurial activity in the Central New York region to develop new and improved products for “Thermal and Environmental Controls (TEC)”.

“It is exciting for Upstate Parts and Supply to partner with Syracuse University faculty to commercialize a technology developed from research at the University,” said vice president, John DiMillo. “This project has the potential to both innovate and grow the economy and would not have happened without the support of SyracuseCoE’s TEC Innovates Program.”

Learn more about the U.S. Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.

Call for Proposals – 12 Awards of Up to $10,000 Available for Commercialization Activities

2019 Innovation Fund Call for Proposals Now Open to Partner Firms!

LEARN MORE AND APPLY

SyracuseCoE invites proposals to the Innovation Fund from current SyracuseCoE Partner companies for up to $10,000. It is anticipated that there will be twelve awards. The Innovation Fund is funded by SyracuseCoE Partner Program and is designed to help companies commercialize products and technologies that have the potential to transform and innovate the market. You must be a member to apply, but it’s not too late, you can join the SyracuseCoE Partner Program today! Projects must be aligned with one or more of SyracuseCoE’s three core areas:

  • Indoor Environmental Quality and Building Energy Efficiency
  • Clean & Renewable Energy
  • Water Resources

Previous successful companies who were Innovation Fund winners:

Visit the Innovation Fund Projects page to see how other Partners have used these funds. The application deadline is 5:00pm EST, Tuesday, September 24, 2019.

Carbon Standards Re-Examined: Syracuse Researcher Charles Driscoll Collaborates with Harvard and Boston University

SyracuseCoE Faculty Fellows News

What: SyracuseCoE Faculty Fellows Researcher Charles Driscoll joined researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Boston University School of Public Health, and Resources for the Future evaluated the cost-benefit analysis for the U.S EPA’s Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule, known as a Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA), to determine whether it incorporates the best available information and the conclusions are fully supported. The results are summarized in their working paper, Carbon Standards Re-Examined: An Analysis of Potential Emissions Outcomes for the Affordable Clean Energy Rule and the Clean Power Plan.

Context: On June 19, 2019, the EPA repealed the Obama-era Clean Power Plan (CPP) and finalized the ACE rule. The intent of the ACE rule is to establish the Best System of Emission Reduction for carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants, a requirement under the Clean Air Act. The research team evaluated the RIA by undertaking new energy modeling and conducting side-by-side comparisons of EPA’s findings and assumptions with those of other scenarios.

Key Take-Away: The results from this analysis call into question the assumptions and conclusions in EPA’s cost-benefit analysis. They demonstrate that the ACE rule does little to address climate change and is likely to have even greater adverse air quality and health effects in some states compared to no policy than EPA has projected.

Why It Matters

For the rule – By underestimating the magnitude of emissions rebound in the RIA, EPA may have overestimated the net economic benefits of the ACE rule, calling into question whether its benefits truly outweigh its costs. The effect of underestimating emissions rebound on the benefits calculation for the ACE rule depends on how large the actual emissions rebound is likely to be and where it would occur.

For health – Underestimating emissions rebound means that the ACE rule may result in more cases of respiratory illness, heart attacks, worsening asthma, and premature death in some states from exposure to higher fine particulate matter and ozone than EPA has estimated.

For states – In some states, the emissions rebound expected from the ACE rule would shift the burden of curbing CO2 emissions to the states and could undercut their ability to meet their greenhouse gas reduction goals. Emissions rebound may also impact the ability of some states to meet and maintain federal air quality standards.

For the nation – Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the U.S. increased approximately 3.5% in 2018. Our analysis suggests that ACE could drive emissions higher still, making it even more challenging for the U.S. to meet its previous commitments under the Paris climate agreement and to achieve emissions reductions needed by 2030 to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

Professor Charles DriscollUniversity Professor of Environmental Systems and Distinguished Professor, College of Engineering & Computer Science, Syracuse University is a SyracuseCoE Faculty Fellow. His research focus areas are:

  • Aquatic chemistry
  • Biogeochemistry
  • Climate change science and engineering
  • Environmental quality modeling
  • Ecosystem restoration
  • Ecosystem science
  • Stormwater management
  • Hydrology
  • Limnology
  • Soil chemistry

See a list of Professor Driscoll’s published research.

 

SyracuseCoE Chief Returns to Classroom to Inspire Next Generation of Energy and Environmental Innovators

For more than 15 years, Edward A. “Ed” Bogucz has helped put Syracuse University at the forefront of addressing global challenges for cleaner energy and healthier built environments. Now, the founding executive director of SyracuseCoE, New York State’s Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems, is returning to the classroom—to teach, research and mentor—to prepare the next generation of innovators.

Beginning Sept. 1, Laura J. Steinberg, professor of civil and environmental engineering and executive director of the Syracuse University Infrastructure Institute, will serve as interim executive director of SyracuseCoE while a national search takes place. A search committee will be appointed once the new dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science is announced.

READ MORE

 

Faculty Fellows Research: Using Virtual Reality for Data Simulation

Syracuse University Professors Melissa Green and Amber Bartosh are collaborating on a project that attempts to use virtual reality software to create immersive data visualizations for architecture and engineering purposes.

Project Developing a platform to communicate quantified data using a virtual reality (VR)-enabled immersive and interactive environment.

Amber Bartosh

Assistant Professor, Syracuse Architecture, Syracuse University

See a list of Professor Amber Bartosh’s published research

 

Melissa Green

Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, College of Engineering and Computer Science, Syracuse University

See a list of Professor Melissa Green’s published research

 
We see alignments between what we’re trying to do in terms of data visualization. It’s not that crazy a pairing when you think about it from that standpoint.AMBER BARTOSH

Intellectual Collision Bartosh is an architect who uses virtual reality to visualize things like energy flows around people in a building. Green, a mechanical and aerospace engineer, seeks to use the same technology to visualize fluid flows, such as around fins in water. “We see alignments between what we’re trying to do in terms of data visualization,” says Bartosh. “It’s not that crazy a pairing when you think about it from that standpoint.”

Nuts and Bolts Advancements in digital modeling tools have dramatically increased the amount of spatial data relating to fluid dynamics flow visualization, and building energy systems. However, the two-dimensional systems typically used to represent this data usually oversimplify complex three-dimensional conditions. With initial funding from SyracuseCoE as part of the Faculty Fellows Program, followed by a CUSE Innovation Grant from Syracuse University, Bartosh and Green are working to make links among traditional architecture, engineering software, and virtual reality software to create immersive data visualizations.

Challenges It’s a difficult process. While it’s easy to represent a building visually, it’s more challenging to show how a building is going to perform in terms of thermal control or daylighting. “Those things are more difficult to convey because we’re not used to seeing that data in 3-D,” says Bartosh. “We can measure it and record it in charts or spreadsheets, but what we’re trying to do is bring that into this virtual environment, feeling like you’re walking through the real space with the temporal qualities specifically related to energy and flow that we are trying to visualize.”

Real-World Collaboration Bartosh is using projects from SyracuseCoE Partner firm Ashley McGraw Architects as test cases for data visualization methods to see if they help with communication. In turn, Ashley McGraw has integrated VR into its practice after seeing how the technology was being used by architecture faculty working at the SyracuseCoE Interactive Design and Visualization Lab (IDVL).

SyracuseCoE Impact Bartosh and Green are both SyracuseCoE Faculty Fellows working out of labs at SyracuseCoE headquarters. Green directs the Flow Visualization Lab, while Bartosh works out of the IDVL. SyracuseCoE funding allowed for the purchase of VR equipment used for their current project. “The space and resources we have here are fundamental to what we do,” Bartosh says.

Bottom Line The collaboration is an attempt to make data visualization a more streamlined process for each of their own labs and, ultimately, a feasible product transferable to other STEM and design disciplines.

Status and Trends of Harmful Algal Blooms in Skaneateles Lake

The Skaneateles Lake Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) Action Plan was published in 2017 in order to lay out a comprehensive approach to minimize the frequency and intensity of HABs in Skaneateles Lake. One recommendation of the HAB Action Plan was to perform a modelling effort to better understand the sources of nutrients potentially contributing to HABs, the lake dynamics, and to inform the development of a Nine Elements Watershed Plan.

As a run-up to that modelling effort, a data gap and trend analysis have been conducted to understand what data are available now to support modelling, what those data say about the status and trends of the lake, and what data are needed to conduct the recommended modelling. The findings of this analysis suggest that the lake is responding in complex and unexpected ways to a variety of stressors including invasive species and climate change.

During the forum, we discussed the findings of the analysis in detail and actions for next steps.

 

Presenter: 

Anthony Eallonardo Jr., PhD, PWS

Technical Manager, OBG, Part of Ramboll
 
Tony is OBG’s applied ecology lead focusing on ecological restoration and clean water planning efforts. Dr. Eallonardo has managed a wide range of ecological restoration design and implementation projects, phytotechnology applications, multi-agency planning efforts, as well as ecological assessments and mapping projects. He is a co-lead of the Prevention committee within ITRC’s (Interstate Technology & Regulatory Council’s) Strategies for Preventing and Managing Harmful Cyanobacterial Blooms team.
 

Dave Matthews, PhD

Director, Upstate Freshwater Institute
 
Dave serves as Director of the Upstate Freshwater Institute. He has conducted fundamental and applied research on over 100 lakes, reservoirs, and rivers in New York. His research interests include nutrient loading and cycling in lakes, the eutrophication and recovery of lakes, harmful algal blooms, mercury cycling, ammonia toxicity, and the influence of sediment processes on water quality. Dr. Matthews has co-authored over 60 peer-reviewed journal articles on these topics.
 

Elizabeth Moran, PhD

President, EcoLogic
 
Liz has over 30 years of experience in water resources management, with a focus on limnology and water quality. As President of EcoLogic, she has led many projects addressing emerging water quality challenges to lakes, rivers, and watersheds.
 
 

 

Research & Technology Forum Series 

SyracuseCoE offers regularly scheduled forums and networking showcasing innovative research, technologies and other opportunities of interest to stakeholders and community members. Past topics have included groundbreaking industry projects to modernize the HVAC systems at the Sistine Chapel, workshops to help state agencies develop funding priorities, and research on the impact of “green” buildings on cognitive function. To receive notice of these events, sign up for email updates at the “Join our mailing list” tab at the bottom right corner of the website. Visit the Research & Technology Forum page to see the archive.

SyracuseCoE Partners Present: Bringing Hyperspectral Imaging Into the Mainstream, by Corning

Spectroscopy is the branch of science concerned with the investigation and measurement of spectra when matter reflects electromagnetic radiation. Hyperspectral imaging (HSI) sensors and systems cover many dozens to hundreds of spectral bands contiguously.
 
New energy and environmental research potential for UAVs within Corning’s HSI sensors. Over the past ten years, the size, weight and cost of HSI Sensors have come down dramatically and enabled integration with small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) now FAA-approved for use in a wide range of commercial applications. This, combined with user-friendly image processing software and the development of many software applications leveraging HSI is fueling a rapidly growing market for HSI sensors and applications, notably in agriculture, environmental and food quality and safety applications. 
 
In this Research & Technology Forum, Richard Zacaroli, Business Development Manager, Commercial Hyperspectral Products with Corning, introduced the background and expertise of Corning and how its innovations of the HSI sensors are exploring research potentials in agriculture, food quality and safety, and other new energy and environmental applications. 
 

Presenter: 

Richard Zacaroli

Business Development Manager, Commercial Hyperspectral Products with Corning, Inc.
 
Richard (Rich) Zacaroli is Business Development Manager, Commercial Hyperspectral Products with Corning, Inc., has over 40 years of experience in the Electro-Optics industry, primarily in the airborne reconnaissance, surveillance and remote sensing sectors.
 
Rich has an MBA from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management with a certificate in Change Management, and a BS in Business Administration from Wichita State University.
 
Rich’s current focus is developing strategies, market channels and partnerships to grow Corning’s share of commercial and industrial markets for hyperspectral imaging technology and products, notably in agriculture, environmental and quality assurance applications. 
 
 

Research & Technology Forum Series 

SyracuseCoE offers regularly scheduled forums and networking showcasing innovative research, technologies and other opportunities of interest to stakeholders and community members. Past topics have included groundbreaking industry projects to modernize the HVAC systems at the Sistine Chapel, workshops to help state agencies develop funding priorities, and research on the impact of “green” buildings on cognitive function. To receive notice of these events, sign up for email updates at the “Join our mailing list” tab at the bottom right corner of the website. Visit the Research & Technology Forum page to see the archive.