Climate and Energy Challenge Research
Productivity of Marine SystemsHigh latitude oceans are major contributors to global primary production providing substantive food webs and a high degree of carbon sequestration. However, there is a need to better understand the mechanisms responsible for this productivity. Therefore, Morel and his team are researching phytoplankton blooms in these oceans and their response to global change. more>>
Film Injected BatteryBatteries provide excellent storage capabilities, but have always had limitations within couplings of lifetime stability, energy and power. Dan Steingart and his team believe they can break this coupling with a new fuel cell design that leverages traditional battery materials. In their new design they are trying to minimize the reactor volume to maximize power through thin film assembly and disassembly. more>>
Climate SyndromesThis project seeks to understand climate syndromes of seasonality from both ecological and atmospheric perspectives. Initial research by David Medvigy and his team is focusing on seasonally dry tropical forests in Costa Rica, Mexico, Colombia, and Brazil. These particular forests are expected to be strongly impacted by climate change. more>>
Urban SolutionsIn an effort to bridge the environmental sciences, architecture, and the humanities, Mario Gandelsonas and Bruno Carvalho explore how scientists, writers, planners, and designers have attempted to rethink traditional city/nature dichotomies. Their goal is to reassess and better understand the role of cities in the environment as part of the search for solutions to climate and energy challenges. more>>
The Role of the Southern OceanThere is a growing consensus in Earth System research that the Southern Ocean is a critical and under-measured gateway between the deep ocean and the surface ocean and the atmosphere. Jorge Sarmiento is spearheading a team to revolutionize Southern Ocean observations and modeling in this remote and inhospitable region of the world. more>>
Solar FuelsBruce Koel’s group is conducting basic research on the synthesis and characterization of novel photocatalysis for solar water splitting and carbon dioxide reduction to fuels. Improved utilization of solar energy particularly the development of solar fuels is key to addressing future energy needs. more>>
Sargasso Sea StudyDaniel Sigman and his team are researching ocean productivity in the Sargasso Sea under conditions of rising CO2 in the atmosphere and increased warming of ocean surface waters. Field research will provide students with a hands-on introduction to oceanography and research methodology. more>>
Drought and the Carbon CycleForest mortality can lead to a large release of CO2, which can impact climate, as well as changes in species dominance. Steve Pacala, Kelly Caylor, and Adam Wolf aim to develop a predictive model of plant water use and drought mortality that hinges on knowing the competition among plants for water below ground. more>>
Rainforest Research InstituteDavid Medvigy and Lars Hedin are creating the PIRANHA Consortium, a tropical rainforest research community of Princeton faculty, undergraduates, and GFDL researchers to conduct integrated biological, biogeochemical, and atmospheric investigations of rainforests and impacts from large-scale deforestation. more>>
Biofuels & Combustion SensingGerard Wysocki and Yiguang Ju are developing a novel in-situ sensing method to detect key species in biofuel combustion and creating a new course on cleaner transport fuels, combustion sensing, and emission control. more >>
Water-Rock InteractionsJohn Higgins is using an experimental rock autoclave system to study how weathering reactions at Earth’s surface and in deep-sea hydrothermal systems impact global climate on geologic timescales. Higgins is developing a new lab-based undergraduate course on analytical techniques in the environmental and engineering sciences. more >>
Vertical Axis Wind FarmsWind is an abundant and increasingly adopted source of clean, renewable energy. Elie Bou-Zeid and Alexander Smits are working on the optimization of vertical axis wind turbines from the scale of the individual-blade to the scale of large wind farms. more >>
Plant Metabolic Rate ProcessesMichael Bender is studying the processes of photosynthesis and respiration in land plants. With the acquisition of a cavity ringdown spectrometer, Bender is developing education materials centered around variations in the CO2 concentration of local air and isotopic composition.
Microbial Fuel CellsHoward Stone is conducting research on microbial fuel cells using methods of microfluidics. Stone is also creating interdisciplinary modules for mathematical modeling to enhance an applied mathematics course required of all engineering undergraduates. more >>
DesalinationDesalination is a core technology in the quest for providing humankind with access to fresh water. Sankaran Sundaresan and colleagues are exploring the feasibility of desalination via formation of clathrate hydrates to address the water challenge, while also lowering energy demand.
Accessible Climate ComputingJaswinder Singh and Venkatramani Balaji are integrating the leading climate research being done at GFDL with the scalable computing expertise on the Princeton campus. A new upper-level application-driven course on parallel computing is being developed, with climate modeling being a driving application area. more >>
Alternative Energy StorageCraig Arnold is developing high-capacity, extended-life energy storage devices for use with solar and wind technologies. Undergraduates in Arnold’s new freshman seminar course examine how energy is used, generated, stored and converted, and explore emerging energy alternatives.