In 2008 Cornell created the David R. Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future to respond to the growing need to treat problems related to energy, the environment, and economic development as interdependent, connected and transcendant of individual disciplines.
The ACSF Academic Venture Fund serves to further interdepartmental work in sustainability science.
Among the recipients of 2012 Academic Venture Funds is professor of physics Itai Cohen. Cohen’s proposal Improving Energy Cost and Scalability of Algal Biofuels joins Prof. Cohen with Beth Ahner (BEE), Susan Daniel (CHEME), and Roseanna Zia (CHEME).
An abstract of the proposal states: Liquid transportation fuel is a critical part of the world’s energy requirements, but most forms of alternative energy cannot meet this need. Biofuels can. Biodiesel derived from microalgae is an important alternative to plant-based biofuels, yet algal biofuel technology has a major limitation: current methods for removing water from the algae at harvest expend more energy than is harvested. Susan Daniel (CHEME), Roseanna Zia (CHEME), Beth Ahner (BEE), and Itai Cohen (PHYS) aim to solve the “dewatering” problem for an efficient and scalable algal energy harvest. This research promises a major advance in the search for sustainable transportation fuels.
Prof. Cohen is not the first physics faculty to receive Academic Venture funds. In 2009 Prof. Rob Thorne received funds for his proposal Micropowered Biomass Combustion.
To read a complete list of 2012 ACSF Academic Venture Fund recipients, click here.