Pecan Street Project Tops $3 Million in Direct Funding to University of Texas for Research and Education

Press Release • April 19, 2011

For Immediate Release

Total UT funding awards from Pecan Street Project involvement top $6 million

(AUSTIN – April 19, 2011) – Less than 16 months since beginning active operations, Pecan Street Project Inc. announced today that its direct funding of University of Texas at Austin research, education and technology commercialization has topped $3 million.

The latest UT research funding by Pecan Street Project – a $189,000, three-year award to fund smart grid water and natural gas research by Dr. Michael Webber – brings UT’s total funding from Pecan Street Project to $3,163,800. The funding covers the period 2010 through 2014.  Of this funding, more than $1.37 million will pay for research assistantships and tuition for graduate students. Pecan Street Project is providing direct research funding to eight UT faculty members from five departments and the Center for Electromechanics, led by principal investigator Dr. Tom Edgar.

“Our research team members from UT are carrying out cutting edge smart grid, building system and clean energy research,” said Pecan Street Project Inc. executive director Brewster McCracken.  “The talent, commitment and technical excellence of these students and faculty are making an enormous contribution to our customer-focused applied research.”

“This funding milestone reflects the significant contribution that University of Texas faculty are making to provide funding and educational opportunity to our students,” said Gregory L. Fenves, dean of the Cockrell School of Engineering. “Our faculty members and students working with Pecan Street Project are carrying out nationally important energy research that will have a strong impact on the energy situation in Texas. We are proud of UT’s role in founding Pecan Street Project and in guiding its research mission.”

The funding that Pecan Street Project uses to support UT faculty and students is made possible by the financial support of private sector companies on its Industry Advisory Council as well as from research grants from the U.S. Department of Energy and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Pecan Street Project receives no funding from state or local government sources.

In addition to its direct funding of UT students, researchers and technology commercialization efforts, Pecan Street Project also sponsors a one-year post-graduate fellowship for a recent UT graduate. The post-graduate fellow is one of Pecan Street Project’s seven employees and the student’s salary is not included in the $3.16 million figure. The first post-graduate fellow, Chris Holcomb, began full-time employment on April 1, 2011. His research focuses on disaggregation of home energy management systems data.

In addition to the direct funding from Pecan Street Project, UT has leveraged its leadership in Pecan Street Project to win an additional $3.07 million in funding from the National Science Foundation for UT students to participate in Pecan Street Project-focused smart grid research. This brings UT’s total funding awards arising from its involvement in Pecan Street Project to over $6 million.

 

About Pecan Street Project Inc.

Headquartered at The University of Texas, Pecan Street Project is modeled on the MCC and SEMATECH technology consortia. It carries out smart grid applied research in collaboration with private sector technology companies and numerous utilities operating in Texas, including Austin Energy (a board member), Texas Gas Service (a member of its Industry Advisory Council), and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), Bluebonnet Electric Coop, CPS Energy (San Antonio), Oncor and Pedernales Electric Coop (all of which are members of its Technology Review and Advisory Committee).

Pecan Street Project Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)(3) smart grid and clean energy research and development organization.  Incorporated in 2009, the organization began active operations on January 1, 2010. Its board includes representatives from The University of Texas, Austin Energy, Environmental Defense Fund, UT’s Austin Technology Incubator, the City of Austin and the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce.

 

Contact:  Colin Rowan, media@pecanstreetproject.org

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