Fluid Mechanics for Sustainability
One of the Center's first Faculty Fellows, a past chair of the Faculty Advisory Board, and a member of the Sustainability Steering Group that established the Center, Edwin "Todd" Cowen (CEE) will join ACSF as associate director of energy on July 1. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to help shape and expand Cornell’s efforts in sustainable energy,” Cowen remarked. “I am particularly excited about working with Cornell faculty and staff to create significant partnerships and large multi-investigator proposals in this area, and forging connections to the NYC Tech campus.”
Cowen, in collaboration with Pliant Energy Systems, leads a research team that developed a pump that transports water using only the energy from a flowing water source, such as a stream, river, or irrigation channel. The device is ideally suited to rural and developing regions of the world. It will significantly reduce the time that people—primarily women—must spend to secure household and agricultural water, potentially improving the economic outlook for countless families. The project, launched with funding from ACSF’s Rapid Response Fund, won first place in the 2012 Trustee Council sustainability poster competition.
Cowen’s research program in environmental fluid mechanics has led him in recent years into the field of wind and hydrokinetic energy, a growing strength at Cornell. Cowen is currently designing and testing small-scale wind turbines for urban use, a project funded by a 2012 ACSF Academic Venture Fund award. He contributed to University Collaboration on Wind Energy, a major white paper supported by the Atkinson Center that served as a first step toward building a world-class national research and development program on wind energy. Cowen has also been an influential voice in local debates over Cornell’s lake source cooling system and serves on the lake source cooling technical advisory committee.