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MITEI and Exelon collaborate on clean energy research through MITEI’s Low-Carbon Energy Centers

The MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI) announces that national energy provider Exelon is joining as a member company, with plans to focus its research support through MITEI’s Low-Carbon Energy Centers to advance key enabling technologies crucial to addressing climate change.

MITEI’s eight Low-Carbon Energy Centers — first called for in MIT’s Plan for Action on Climate Change in October 2015—bring together researchers from multiple disciplines at MIT to engage with companies, governmental agencies, and other stakeholders, including the philanthropic community, to develop deployable solutions through a uniquely inclusive model.

“Engagement with industry to accelerate deployment of clean energy technologies is a crucial component of MIT’s Plan for Climate Action, a driving force behind the development of the Low-Carbon Energy Centers, and an important strategy for academia and governments to pursue to meet the objectives of the Paris climate agreement,” said MITEI director Robert Armstrong. “By joining the MIT Energy Initiative to support research through the Centers, Exelon demonstrates a strong commitment to advancing the affordability, scalability, and rapid deployment of low- and zero-carbon energy technologies.”

“By collaborating with world-renowned research university MIT, Exelon is taking a leadership role in creating a clean energy future,” said Exelon President and CEO Chris Crane. “We know the energy system of the future will need new technologies such as energy storage, smarter grids, advanced nuclear generation, solar energy, and more. Together with the MIT Energy Initiative, we will actively identify and develop the most promising innovations in our sector, as the Centers bring together a perfect trifecta of academia, government agencies, and private organizations to tackle long-term challenges in reducing our carbon footprint and evolving our energy system.”

“Conducting research into promising low-carbon technologies is a major part of MIT’s overall effort to address the urgent problem of climate change,” said Maria T. Zuber, Vice President for Research and the E. A. Griswold Professor of Geophysics at MIT. “Exelon’s collaboration not only enables us to expand this important research but also provides the expertise to help ensure that breakthroughs can move quickly and successfully from the lab to the marketplace.”

“We are proud that Exelon is the first company to sign up for the new center. Exelon is the largest nuclear utility in the US, however, it currently faces significant challenges in maintaining profitability at some of their nuclear power plants. Their investment in nuclear innovation at this time represents a vote of confidence in the future of nuclear energy in the US as well as MIT’s ability to lead the development of new nuclear technology.” said Jacopo Buongiorno, Professor and Associate Department head of Nuclear Science and Engineering, and co-director of the Center for Advanced Nuclear Energy Systerms (CANES) — a MITEI Low-Carbon Energy Center.

Each Center aims to advance research on solutions in a specific technology area: solar energy; energy storage; materials for energy and extreme environments; carbon capture, utilization, and storage; nuclear fission; energy bioscience; and electric power systems. Centers are led by MIT faculty directors, with broad involvement from researchers across schools and departments. Members can join one or more Centers, based on their research needs and interests, and engage by providing financial support as well as offering technical and market expertise.

Exelon and other members of the Centers participate through activities including semi-annual research development workshops for leadership and staff with MIT principal investigators to identify priority research areas, and participation in MITEI’s Annual Research Conference and Spring Symposium. Each member also has one seat on the Advisory Committee for the Centers. Membership fees will not only fund ongoing research and techno-economic analysis, but will also provide seed funding for early-stage research projects and commission white papers in areas of interest to Center members.

“The purpose of MITEI’s Low-Carbon Energy Centers is to promote collaboration among members in specific technology areas and speed the scale-up from the laboratory to commercial use by leveraging the expertise of Center members. The research coming out of the Centers will also help inform public policy and further public understanding,” said Louis Carranza, Associate Director of MITEI, who is spearheading the development of the Centers in collaboration with each Center’s directors and members.

For more information on the Centers, including how to join, visit mitei.mit.edu/research/low-carbon-energy-centers.

Department of Nuclear Science & Engineering

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