Florida State announces $6.5 million in energy research grants

IESES Director David Cartes

The Institute for Energy Systems, Economics and Sustainability, a research and policy group established earlier this year at The Florida State University to address sustainability and alternative power issues, has announced $6.5 million in grant awards for research in the areas of fuel cycles, governance and energy delivery systems.

IESES Director David Cartes

The 29 grants were selected from research proposals seeking nearly $14 million in funding and covering a variety of sustainable energy topics. Given the excellent quality of the proposals submitted and limited dollars available in this funding cycle, the IESES review and selection process was highly competitive.

"Florida has a critical need for new energy technologies and policies that will reduce our reliance on foreign oil, decrease our production of greenhouse gases and stimulate our economy," said Kirby Kemper, Florida State’s Vice President for Research. "The grants awarded today will support important research that will address all three of these pressing issues."

Three major research areas were defined during the review process:

  • Sustainable Energy Governance and Decision Making, to be led by Professor Richard Feiock of the Reubin O’D. Askew School of Public Administration and Policy
  • Excellence in Fuel Cycles, Including Bio-Fuels and Marine Bio-Energy, to be led by Joel Kostka, a professor in Florida State’s Department of Oceanography
  • Energy Delivery, to be led by Steinar Dale, director of the Center for Advanced Power Systems

In addition to the major awards, planning grants also were announced to provide resources to assist researchers in writing proposals for funding from outside agencies.

"The fundamental problem with sustainable energy technologies is that they rarely achieve market penetration and become successful ventures," said David Cartes, an associate professor of mechanical engineering in the Florida A&M University-Florida State University College of Engineering and director of IESES.

"This is true because we have a very expensive ‘technology push’ mindset in today’s local and federal energy policies — investing in economically non-competitive alternatives. There is a serious need for progressive governance and economic practices that provide pragmatic and affordable technologies, for which a public education plan can lead to ‘market pull’ — making investments and policy changes that overcome the primary risk factor, competition. Market pull will provide the right choices of sustainable energy investment in the future.

"IESES is all about governance and planning for a sustainable energy future, driven by market pull — one in which my grandchildren won’t have to compromise the quality of life I enjoy today," Cartes said.

IESES was formed in summer 2008 by The Florida State University to meet the challenges of Florida’s rapidly evolving sustainable energy economy. The institute is staffed by a new generation of engineers, scientists, policymakers and planners — those with a comprehensive understanding of complex sustainable energy systems who stand ready to tackle the challenges and opportunities related to an energy-based future.

IESES research focuses on new and more efficient sustainable technologies for generating electric power, and also on the new efficiencies in energy systems and consumption that will also be necessary to a sustainable energy economy.