Carnegie Mellon University has launched the Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation, a major research and education initiative focused on improving energy efficiency and developing new, clean, affordable and sustainable energy sources. The institute was made possible by a lead gift from CMU alumni Sherman Scott (E’66), president and founder of Delmar Systems, and his wife, Joyce Bowie Scott (A’65), a trustee of the university. The institute is named for Sherman’s father, Wilton E. Scott.
Energy is a crucial sector of the economy, and, if anything, it will be even more important in the future. A report issued this week by the Allegheny Conference on Community Development highlighted an acute need for energy-related workers before the end of this decade. Through its research and education programs, the institute will develop new innovative energy technologies and create an improved understanding of how to promote their wide adoption through better regulation and public policy.
“The Scott Institute is a university-wide effort that brings together more than 100 CMU professors and researchers to solve some of our toughest energy challenges,” said CMU President Jared L. Cohon. “I thank Sherman and Joyce Bowie Scott not only for their generous gift, but also for their vision in helping to create this institute. They realize the fundamental importance of developing sustainable energy solutions for America and the world.”
The institute will support teams of CMU engineers, scientists, economists, architects, policy specialists and others to tackle a range of issues, including developing more efficient energy solutions that reduce carbon emissions; smart grid technology to enable the use of large amounts of variable wind and solar power; and new advanced materials and processes to produce and store energy, increase efficiency and reduce waste.
“By bringing together experts from a range of disciplines, Carnegie Mellon is the perfect place to help meet the energy challenges of the future,” said Scott, who founded Delmar Systems in 1968 and built it into one of the world’s leaders in mooring systems for the offshore oil and gas industry. “Energy is a precious resource, and Carnegie Mellon’s systems approach can create solutions that ensure we produce and use energy more efficiently.”
CMU faculty and researchers have a successful history in creating innovations in the energy sector. Forexample, its faculty’s research on carbon capture and sequestration has helped California provide electricity without greenhouse gas emissions and helped protect the U.S. electric system from cyber attacks. Jay Whitacre, an associate professor of materials science and engineering, andengineering and public policy, developed a novel sodium-ion battery capable of storing power for later use in the electrical grid. He founded Aquion Energy based on that technology and will be opening a manufacturing plant near Pittsburgh next year.
Granger Morgan, the Thomas Lord Professor of Engineering and head of CMU’s Department of Engineering and Public Policy, will serve as director of the Scott Institute and AndrewGellman, head of Carnegie Mellon’s Department of Chemical Engineering, will serve as associate director.
“In energy, Carnegie Mellon is one of the world’s leaders in smoothly combining technology and policy-focused research,” Morgan said. “This allows us to avoid abstract policy discussions and focus on creating strategies that give the private energy sector the right incentives to advance secure, reliable and low-environmental impact energy sources.”
Located in the resource-rich Western Pennsylvania region, the institute will be based in Sherman and Joyce Bowie Scott Hall, which is being built near Hamerschlag Hall on CMU’s Pittsburgh campus. The building also will house CMU’s Biomedical Engineering Department and a new nanotechnology research facility. A groundbreaking ceremony will be held at 1:45 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 22 at the site.
Like Carnegie Mellon, the Scotts epitomize the marriage of technology and the arts. The couple met at CMU, with Sherman earning his undergraduate degree in chemical engineering, while Joyce earned a fine arts degree.
In addition to the Scotts, CMU has received support for Scott Hall from CMU alumni John Bertucci (E’63, TPR’65) and his wife, Claire Ruge Bertucci (MM’65); CMU alumnus Jonathan Rothberg (E’85) and his wife, Bonnie Gould Rothberg;and the Eden Hall Foundation.
The Scotts’ gift continues a history of alumni support for CMU’s energy and environmental initiatives. In 2004, Carnegie Mellon Trustee W. Lowell Steinbrenner (E’55,’60) and his wife, Jan, made a gift to establish the Steinbrenner Institute, which develops and enhances the impact of environmental research and education through graduate student fellowships and grants to fund innovative sustainability projects.
CMU has also benefitted significantly from its collaboration with the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), a part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s nationallaboratory system. As a member of the NETL Regional University Alliance, Carnegie Mellon has partnered with NETL in research, substantially strengthening its energy programs.