Global Energy Institute
The independent, not-for-profit Global Energy Institute located at the BNMC , and the UB Power Center for Utility Explorations located at the University at Buffalo (which has research efforts and forthcoming facilities at BNMC), both comprehensively explore power and energy issues to develop innovative solutions to the complex challenges found in energy infrastructures such as electric, gas, and related transportation, water, and renewable power systems. The PCUE and GEI teams will train the next generation of energy professionals including students in elementary schools, high schools, colleges, universities, and existing professionals through educational programs relevant to the growing needs of the evolving energy industry. While the GEI is focused upon applied efforts, the PCUE will focus upon academic research, teaching, and service. Hence both organizations together will be able to address energy issues holistically and powerfully implement a range of energy efforts end-to-end from initial conception, theoretical studies, simulations, to pilot programs and working sites in the field, and business development and job creation to benefit the public.
Led by world-renowned power and energy expert Alexander Domijan, Jr., Ph.D., James Clerk Maxwell Professor in the UB School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and formerly Professor and Director of the Power Center for Utility Explorations (PCUE) at the University at South Florida and former deputy director of the PCUE, Arif Islam, Ph.D., who also relocated to Buffalo and joined UB, will help start this new institute as Chief Operating Officer and as a leader in smart grids and reliability, and have moved the PCUE from Florida to the University at Buffalo to expand academic research, teaching and service efforts to deal with energy issues holistically. Matt Enstice, BNMC CEO, also services as an officer of the GEI. The PCUE at the University at Buffalo, also lead by Prof. Domijan as Director, and Prof. Islam as Deputy Director, was funded at over $7M/year in numerous energy efforts, including smart grids, demand response, alternative energy such as solar PV, biomass, wind, weather and reliability, power quality, power system hardening and restoration of services, and the range of transmission, distribution, and generation systems, and including educational efforts. The PCUE and GEI working in tandem will produce an energy hub of excellence for the community, state and nation.
End-to End Capabilities and Multiple Test Beds: A current major effort is the development of a 120 acre smart grid enabled 9 major institutions and 50+ tech/supporting firms on the BNMC and surrounding urban neighborhoods – a smart city.
The Global Energy Institute and some parts of the activities of the PCUE will be housed in the Thomas R. Beecher Innovation Center on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. The PCUE and GEI will also lead and support efforts to form energy-smart healthy sustainable community development. The major effort lead by the PCUE and GEI envisions forming a Clean Smart Energy City (CSEC) with the nexus being the BNMC. Creating flexible, reliable, intelligent energy delivery systems (FRIENDS) requires a holistic view of energy systems. FRIENDS has partly spawned into smart grids being planned today by utility firms worldwide. A higher level view of the systems the PCUE team of researchers are currently working upon is provided in the figure which illustrates the clean smart energy city (CSEC) concept, which is presently being formulated in Buffalo,New York to revitalize the urban city center around the 120 acre Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.
The PCUE and GEI will work to formulate research solutions for practical public benefit in energy infrastructures, smart grids, wind and solar, natural gas and electric vehicles, demand response, energy storage, gas systems, policy and regulatory issues, energy efficiency, bioenergy, and more, and carry out public works and installations for local communities nationwide as well as form collaborations and efforts globally. The PCUE and GEI will also serve as a spark of innovation to jump start new energy initiatives and businesses and create jobs in the energy and power areas.
Multiple capabilities are being implemented both in labs and in the field from basic to applied research, business development, control visualization of complex smart energy grids. These capabilities include installations of the following operated by the GEI and PCUE:
- Energy Control and Smart Grid Diagnostic Center located on the BNMC
- Wind Energy Production and Learning Lab on the BNMC
- Solar Energy Production and Learning Lab on the BNMC
- Energy Storage test bed on the BNMC
- Electric Vehicle transportation and Pilot Site on the BNMC
- Advanced LED Lighting and Learning Center
- Modern Home on the BNMC
- Energy Efficiency Pilot in Local Community
- Fracking and gas exploration learning facility
The intent is to provide an example for wide-scale, clean smart energy product replication nationally and internationally and to create new opportunities for product testing, manufacturing, education, application, and installation to supplying a vibrant campus and community. A showcase for vendors and manufactures will be created with utilities and energy interested partners to benefit the public.
All the above noted capabilities must be operated in synergy to be effective. Additional labs/field sites and demonstration facilities will be created or partnered within the community and nationally. Our aim is to make practical and cost effective implementation of clean technologies by leveraging benefits and tailoring needs holistically.