Explore Energy Systems

Problems related to energy are known for their knottiness and interconnectivity. Impactful solutions demand systems approaches. Cornell Engineering brings together researchers working on components of these problems that span length scales: from a few atoms on the surface of a nanostructured catalyst particle; to the genes that direct metabolic pathways in a plant, to the electrochemical cells that comprise a battery pack; to the kilometers of heterogeneous rock formations that must be breached to recover geothermal energy for district-scale heating.

At Cornell Engineering, sustainable energy systems research is one of the strategic areas of significant research focus for the near future. “We’re not just interested in inventing gadgets,” says Jefferson Tester, a professor of sustainable energy systems, the director of the Energy Institute at Cornell and a fellow at the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future. Rather, engineers at the college want to help create a full, functioning system that integrates renewable energy supply from multiple sources with energy efficiency technologies so that the vision of a sustainable energy future can actually be realized.

We welcome corporate and foundation collaborators to share in and support the advancement energy systems through access to Cornell Engineering’s research, faculty and facilities. Some of the many ways to engage with us include collaborative research, curriculum support, student engagement, user facilities, technology transfer, and entrepreneurship.


Recent Energy Systems Research

Electric car being charged at a charging station

Cornell research drives NYSEG electric car charging pilot

NYSEG, in collaboration with Eilyan Bitar, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, is piloting a new approach to coordinate electric vehicle power use by encouraging owners to delay charging times in exchange for lower prices. 

From left, Cornell master’s student Eric Bachoo; building resident Lisa Harrison; Tom Sahagian, an energy-efficiency consultant and co-manager of the heat pump project; Cornell master’s student Daniel Liang; and doctoral student Zach Lee, standing, pore over the new heat pump plans for the Upper West Side apartment building.

Student engineers to ply their green skills in NYC

Cornell engineering students are working with an Ithaca, New York, engineering firm to help New York City lower its carbon footprint. Taitem Engineering has partnered with the students on a heating system retrofit project in an apartment building on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. 

Faculty and student researchers who participated in recent research into gallium nitride.

Discovery in gallium nitride a key enabler of energy efficient electronics

Gallium nitride, a semiconductor that revolutionized energy-efficient LED lighting, could also transform electronics and wireless communication, thanks to a discovery made by Cornell researchers. 

Featured Researchers

Professor Lynden Archer

Lynden Archer
Expertise: Electrokinetics; polymer physics; fluid dynamics

Professor Rebecca Barthelmie

Rebecca Barthelmie
Expertise: wind energy resources and wind turbine wakes within and downwind of large wind farms both on- and offshore

Professor Jeff Tester

Jeff Tester
Expertise: Energy systems analysis; geothermal energy extraction and conversion; hydrothermal and supercritical fluid processes with application to bioenergy; advanced drilling technology; energy storage; and waste treatment

Earth Source Heat: Cornell’s Innovative Transformation of Energy Systems

Currently, Cornell is exploring Earth Source Heat, which experts believe could create a new renewable energy industry capable of sustainably meeting heating challenges throughout the world. This creates an opportunity for education and engagement on a scale that demonstrates how research innovations might be deployed for regional, national or global benefit.