The Power of PowerbridgeNY

Two Tandon teams to receive awards from the proof-of-concept center

PowerBridgeNY, a New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA)-sponsored proof-of-concept center, aims to leverage clean energy innovations emerging from institutional research labs to create more and stronger energy businesses in the state. Among the organization’s chief missions is to identify promising early stage technologies and invest funding in translational work to advance those technologies towards technical validation.

In early April, the group announced that among its newest award winners are two teams from the NYU Tandon School of Engineering. 

Associate Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering Francisco de Leon and his Ph.D. student Baris Kovan made the cut for a novel transformer design that mitigates harmonics to save energy and reduce electricity costs, thus qualifying building owners for rebates from the power utility. Other benefits of their design include minimizing flickering, equipment failures, false trips, and power quality issues.

Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Maurizio Porfiri and his post-doc Jeffrey Laut were tapped by PowerBridgeNY for their development of a small-scale solar-powered robotic vehicle able to autonomously collect aquatic data, making the process much less time-consuming, tedious, and expensive.

The teams will receive help assessing the competitive landscape, developing a business plan, prototyping, field testing, and securing additional investors.

“We envision that our customers will be other universities, government agencies, and private companies engaged in aquatic-based environmental monitoring and data collection,” Laut says, explaining that over the course of the next year, the awardees are required to conduct at least 100 customer interviews. “One of the mentors assigned to work with us is David Lefer, who directs the Innovation and Technology Forum here at Tandon, and the other is the respected business leader Govind Narayan, so we’re really working with knowledgeable, savvy people.”

“It’s a real boon to us to have the backing of PowerbridgeNY,” Kovan says. “Taking our technology to the marketplace would be much harder for us without them.”