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Turning Green Energy into Greenbacks

Rutgers Ecocomplex
Photo: David Specca, Tom Manning, and A.J. Both with the microturbine unit at Rutgers EcoComplex.
David Specca, Tom Manning, and A.J. Both with the microturbine unit at Rutgers EcoComplex.

Rutgers EcoComplex, an off-campus research institute in Bordentown, N.J., specializes in helping green-minded companies to commercialize and market their ideas. Laboratories, research institutes, and companies are able to call upon the EcoComplex to demonstrate and validate leading-edge environmental technologies. The center offers access to applied research and demonstration capabilities and facilitates the commercialization of new technologies that address the pressing environmental and energy issues facing New Jersey and the nation.

"Technology and innovation are the keys that open the door to new business development and economic growth," notes David Specca, assistant director for bioenergy technologies and controlled-environment agriculture at the EcoComplex. "By offering services and resources to entrepreneurs that are not available anywhere else, we are establishing New Jersey as 'the place to go' for clean energy firms in terms of access to environmental technology and entrepreneurial know-how."

Several companies are currently developing their clean energy technologies within the EcoComplex. They include Adsorptech, Inc., Carbozyme, Inc., Green Primate, Inc., Koach Energy, LLC, Metro Biofuels, LLC., and Specialties Group, Inc. Clean energy graduates of the business incubator program at the EcoComplex include Acrion Technologies, Inc., Garden State Ethanol, Inc., and PTC Organics, Inc. Headquarters for the New Jersey Corporation for Advanced Technology (NJCAT) are housed at the EcoComplex. NJCAT is a unique non-profit organization that validates the performance of new environmental technologies in order to ensure the technology works according to the manufacturer's claims and to streamline the environmental permitting process.

Photo: Rutgers EcoComplex in Bordentown, NJ.
Rutgers EcoComplex in Bordentown, NJ.

The EcoComplex also has a number of programs that are aimed at sustaining the viability of agricultural businesses within the state. Controlled-environment agriculture will play a significant role in New Jersey if it can be done in an environmentally sustainable manner. The EcoComplex greenhouse is being used to investigate new renewable energy technologies and crop production systems that conserve natural resources such as energy, water, and nutrients, which may give New Jersey growers a competitive edge. University researchers are working on microturbine co-generation of heat and electricity and on biogas production from food waste. These processes, tested in a real-world environment, can be easily duplicated at farming operations throughout the state while the greenhouse continues to serve as a research, demonstration, and business development facility.

With a mission to promote economic development in the environmental arena through the best in research, education, and economic development, the EcoComplex provides a distinctive focus and an array of capabilities unique in the nation.

  1. Rutgers
  2. Executive Dean of Agriculture and Natural Resources
  3. School of Environmental and Biological Sciences