Trustees approve $3M for design of the Energy Advancement and Innovation Center


The Ohio State University Board of Trustees approved on Friday $3 million for design of a building that will help anchor an envisioned innovation district in the university’s west campus.


The Energy Advancement and Innovation Center will be a hub where Ohio State faculty members, students, alumni, ENGIE researchers, local entrepreneurs and industry experts work together on the next generation of smart energy systems, renewable energy and green mobility solutions.


The university was granted approval for $3 million for professional services for the Energy Advancement and Innovation Center, which will serve as a hub for technology commercialization first outlined in the university’s comprehensive energy management partnership.


The project is a cornerstone of the university’s public-private partnership with Ohio State Energy Partners (OSEP). As part of the agreement, OSEP committed $50 million for the project, including $35 million in design and construction costs.


“We are very excited to be moving into the design phase of this watershed project which is one of the cornerstones of our long-term partnership with Ohio State, and as a fellow Buckeye, I feel very lucky to be a part of the development of the innovation district,” said Serdar Tufekci, CEO of OSEP.


The Visionary Project Advisory Committee was formed early in the conceptual stages to guide the university in the governance of center. Jay Sayre, who serves as Assistant Vice President in the Office of Research and Director of Innovation in the Institute for Materials Research, chairs the committee, which is comprised of Ohio State, OSEP, and Columbus community members.


“We envision the Energy Advancement and Innovation Center as a vehicle to propel innovation beyond the R&D stage to commercial successes in the market where everyone can benefit,” Sayre said. “This will be a place where our students will benefit by connecting with the creativity of faculty, staff, ENGIE researchers, and our local community to leave a lasting, impactful legacy on our academic mission.”


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Student collaboration connects with Discovery Themes at INNOVATE-O-thon

The Institute for Materials Research (IMR) cast a wide net to land the diverse collection of students and faculty taking aim during the most recent INNOVATE-O-thon at improving energy efficiency at the Columbus campus of The Ohio State University.


Faculty members hired through different focus areas of the Ohio State’s Discovery Themes Initiative joined nearly 50 students from across colleges to try their hands in helping shape the future of energy consumption at the land-grant university.


The students’ challenge: Develop a strategy to inspire nearly 60,000 students at the 485-building campus to alter their day-to-day, energy-use habits and, ultimately, push the Columbus campus toward its lofty goal to improve energy efficiency by at least 25 percent over 10 years.


“INNOVATE-O-thon, I’ve done it twice in the past, and it’s always kind of fun to interact with people from different backgrounds,” said Muhammad Shao, a major in mechanical engineering. “It’s good to hear different perspectives. I’ve realized, from the past, that design majors are just as important as engineering majors.”


The students’ strategies were pitched to a panel of representatives from ENGIE, which makes up half of a joint venture with Axium Infrastructure called Ohio State Energy Partners, responsible for the operation and maintenance of the central utility systems that heat, cool and power the Columbus campus.


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Sustainability and student engagement intersect at INNOVATE-O-thon


The Ohio State University’s energy partner ENGIE challenged students to help achieve one goal: improve energy efficiency through positive behavioral changes on campus.


The students accepted.


During the latest INNOVATE-O-thon event, nearly 50 undergraduate students from varying disciplines came together, from Feb. 9 to 11 at the Institute for Materials Research (IMR) Innovation Lab on Kinnear Road, to work with representatives from ENGIE and IMR.


There, students formed strategies aimed to inspire fellow classmates to alter their energy consumption habits and, in turn, improve energy efficiency at the Columbus campus.


IMR hosted the three-day externship program in collaboration with Ohio State’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.


Throughout the course of the event, students developed a myriad of concepts that were ultimately pitched to ENGIE, including mobile app and technology-based engagement efforts, education and training programs, awareness campaigns and cross-campus partnerships.


“I am really glad that ENGIE reached out to students to help with this,” said winning-group member Lauren Trapani, a second-year student in environment, economy, development and sustainability. “We know what is feasible to change in our behavior, and what is infeasible.”

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