The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that Stanford University has raised $100-million to finance a new energy research institute that will study and devise practical solutions to global energy problems. Stanford University president, John L. Hennessy says that the institute’s primary goal will be to help “make renewable energy cheaper than fossil fuel.” Franklin M. (Lynn) Orr, a petroleum-engineering professor and the new director of the institute, explains that energy research is crucial as the world struggles with rising energy costs and climate changes.
Funding for the institute is unique, since it does not rely on federal support. This will enable the university to determine exactly how it wants to spend the money — without constraints from industry interests. The start-up money, raised from a collection of gifts, will enable the university to hire five new professors and offer new graduate and post-doctorate fellowships. Mr. Hennessy said that without the private support, “it could have taken a decade or longer to see to the level of investment that we believe is necessary.”