Energy-saving Innovations from EE

Grant Currin
September 21, 2023

During Climate Week NYC, we’re spotlighting some of the ways Columbia Electrical Engineering, students, alumni and faculty are building a greener world. From energy-efficient radiators to renewable energy markets, these four technologies show how breakthroughs in the lab can have a concrete impact in the fight against climate change.

  • Driving Farther with Less Energy

    Matthias Preindl (right) and Wesley Pennington discuss software-defined power electronics in MPlab.

    Electric vehicles lose a lot of energy through inefficient power conversion. Associate Professor Matthias Preindl, has partnered with tech startup Tau Motors to develop next-generation power conversion technologies for the company’s revolutionary automotive platform. 

    Learn more about this exciting collaboration between researchers and an industry partner.

  • Slashing the Energy Needed to Keep Legacy Buildings Warm

    Marshall Cox PhD’13

    Alumnus Marshall Cox PhD’13 spent his first three winters at Columbia throwing open the window to cool down his boiler-heated dorm room. That experience inspired him to invent a series of products that make steam-powered radiators more energy efficient. The startup he founded on campus, now called Kelvin, recently closed $30 million in Series A funding. The company has retrofitted more than 15,000 buildings across the Northeast. 

    Read about the intelligent HVAC company and its growing roster of climate solutions.

  • High-performance Computing without Exponentially Higher Carbon Emissions

    Photonic transmitter chip mounted on a printed circuit board with electrical and fiber optic connections. Credit: Lightwave Research Laboratory/Columbia Engineering

    Professor Keren Bergman  led a team that developed an energy-efficient method for transferring massive quantities of data over fiber-optic cables inside the data centers and high-performance computers that run artificial intelligence programs. 

    “What this work shows is a viable path towards both dramatically reducing the system energy consumption while simultaneously increasing the computing power by orders of magnitude, allowing artificial intelligence applications to continue to grow at an exponential rate with minimal environmental impact,” Bergman said.

    Explore this groundbreaking achievement

  • Designing Energy Markets that Balance Low Emissions and Affordable Energy

    an electrical tower with power lines attached with the sun in the background

    With wind and solar providing an ever-growing percentage of electricity to the grid, utilities across the country are turning to private companies to store energy when it’s cheap and abundant and sell it when the demand for energy exceeds the supply. These complex and unpredictable energy markets must be designed with a high level of sophistication to benefit society.

    Bolun Xu, assistant professor of earth and environmental engineering and electrical engineering, is a leader in developing models to understand these markets and the underlying physical systems. 

    Dig deeper into this cutting-edge modeling research. 


    Check out the original article from Columbia Engineering.