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Stony Brook University Receives 4th ARPA-E Grant in Six Months
Mechanical Engineering’s Sotirios Mamalis, PhD, and industry partner to create novel natural gas generator for home use
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Sotirios Mamalis, PhD

Stony Brook, NY – July 9, 2015 – Stony Brook University has received a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) to develop a small, highly efficient and clean natural gas generator designed for use in homes to provide electric and heating. Sotirios Mamalis, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering in the College of Engineering and Applied Science, will lead the research, which is the fourth Stony Brook University energy-related research project this year to receive a prestigious ARPA-E award from the DOE.

“This is excellent news for Sotirios Mamalis and everyone involved in this project, all of whom now have a career-changing opportunity to impact manufacturing clean energy,” said Samuel L. Stanley Jr., MD, President of Stony Brook University. “This grant and our three other newly funded ARPA-E projects showcase how Stony Brook combines academic expertise in science with collaborative research and industry partnerships to address society’s most important clean energy challenges.”

The three-year $750,000 ARPA-E grant is categorized as one that supports the creation and development small energy-efficient generators;  Dr. Mamalis and his team are working with Aerodyne Research, Inc. as the industry partner to develop the technology. The goal is to create a natural gas generator that doubles the efficiency of current petroleum-based systems and could potentially replace those for home power use.

“This technology of low-temperature natural gas combustion is a paradigm shift from high-temperature combustion that could lead to the next wave of generator technology,” said Dr. Mamalis. “We plan to create a prototype that can be built, tested, and ultimately suited for residential and light commercial use.”

ARPA-E awards are selected nationally based on a peer-review process from academic and industry leaders. The DOE states that ARPA-E funded projects have the potential to radically improve U.S. economic prosperity, national security and environmental sustainability. Stony Brook faculty applied four times this year for an ARPA-E grant, and each proposal led to an award.

"Stony Brook University is indeed privileged to have recruited Dr. Sotirios Mamalis as an Assistant Professor to our Department of Mechanical Engineering in 2013," said Dennis N. Assanis, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at Stony Brook University. "His research expertise in thermodynamic analysis of propulsion systems using energy concepts for identifying processes that promote efficient energy conversion make him an excellent research leader in projects aimed at addressing manufacturing clean energy and well-deserving of a prestigious ARPA-E award from the DOE.”

Dr. Mamalis explains that the small generator will be based on a free piston linear alternator, which will increase efficiency, cost less than $3,000 to build, and have significantly lower nitrogen oxide emissions than petroleum generators. It would also be a low-noise, low-vibration combustion engine. The project is anticipated to commence in September.

About Stony Brook University’s 2015 ARPA-E Awards

Innovation in energy research has taken a leap at Stony Brook University. In just the past six months, Stony Brook has received four prestigious awards from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-E). The grants, totaling nearly $5.7 million in funding, enable faculty from the Department of Mechanical Engineering to conduct research on new and innovative ways to improve energy efficiency and create cleaner energy systems, with a path in place for collaborative research, industry partnerships, and commercialization. Collectively, these awards – which the DOE issues only when the research has significant potential to lead to usable technologies that will help improve U.S. economic prosperity, national security and environmental well-being – will bring scientists at Stony Brook and Brookhaven National Laboratory together with industry partners to create prototype energy systems to be incorporated into 21st Century cleaner energy practices. The endeavors broaden Stony Brook’s focus on research and discovery and are geared to impact the economy by creating jobs within the University and beyond by leading to new product development.

About Stony Brook University

Part of the State University of New York system, Stony Brook University encompasses 200 buildings on 1,450 acres. Since welcoming its first incoming class in 1957, the University has grown tremendously, now with more than 24,600 students, 2,500 faculty and 20 NCAA Division I athletic programs. Its membership in the prestigious Association of American Universities (AAU) places Stony Brook among the top 62 research institutions in North America. U.S.News & World Report ranks Stony Brook among the top 40 public universities in the nation and Kiplinger named it the 33rd best value in public colleges for in-state students and 26th for out-of-state students. One of four University Center campuses in the SUNY system, Stony Brook University co-manages Brookhaven National Laboratory, putting it in an elite group of universities that run federal research and development laboratories. As the largest single-site employer on Long Island, Stony Brook is a driving force of the regional economy, with an annual economic impact of $4.65 billion, generating nearly 60,000 jobs and accounting for nearly 4 percent of all economic activity in Nassau and Suffolk counties and roughly 7.5 percent of total jobs in Suffolk County.