Letter from the Director

Dear Students, Faculty, Alumni and Friends,

Hamid Arastoopour

It is a great pleasure and honor for me, as Henry R. Linden Professor of Engineering, to serve as founding director of the Wanger Institute for Sustainable Energy Research (WISER) at Illinois Institute of Technology.

WISER was established in 2008 with the financial support of Illinois Tech Trustee and benefactor Ralph Wanger to further enhance the scope of energy and sustainability research activities formerly administered under the auspices of the Illinois Tech Energy and Sustainability Institute. The financial support was enhanced by the establishment of an endowed chair professorship by the Rowe Family and the Galvin Family endowment to create the Galvin Center for Electricity Innovation within WISER.

The overall mission of WISER is to continue to improve the quality of life while preserving our natural resources and the environment for future generations. Probably the greatest challenge in meeting our goal revolves around the question of how we can provide and use energy and water in a sustainable way. WISER’s approach to this challenge is to use a least-cost strategy to reduce the negative impact of energy consumption on climate change, to follow a decarbonization path toward a net-zero carbon society and economy, and to provide reliable, secure, and affordable energy and water while improving energy efficiency use and preserving natural resources and the environment.

To achieve this, we are developing several interdisciplinary research teams in targeted research and educational areas consisting of faculty from all Illinois Tech academic units and other universities and researchers from national and research laboratories and industry. More than 85 Faculty Affiliates from all of the academic programs at Illinois Tech, along with their research groups, are presently involved in challenging WISER educational and research programs that demand not only advances in science and engineering, but also application in urban systems and changes in human behavior and economic and policy analyses.

Our faculty at WISER and its Galvin Center for Electricity Innovation are conducting research in several innovative areas that include new unconventional sources of natural gas, the evolving natural gas markets, and the interaction and connectivity between natural gas and electric power grids; microgrid; renewable energy and energy storage; carbon capture; integration of renewables in microgrids; concentrated solar energy; and innovative energy-efficient systems. WISER is also providing facilities to bring faculty research innovation from the laboratory to the marketplace.

To further expand our faculty’s innovative ideas in energy and sustainability, we have continued the WISER Cross-disciplinary Seed Funding Grants (CSFG) program to ensure that WISER will continuously have a number of large interdisciplinary research proposals in the pipeline. Since 2009, the WISER CSFG program has funded 31 projects led by well-established energy and sustainability faculty experts and by new faculty planning to get involved in sustainable energy research. The current ratio of income to investment for the program is close to 8:1.

Today, WISER is positioned to make key contributions to the advancement of energy and sustainability research and to help lead the way on a path toward sustainability and a net-zero carbon society and economy that includes continuing research and development in sustainable energy and sustainability-related issues, and educating our communities in sustainable energy, and preparing the next generation of leaders who will carry this path forward in the years ahead.

Hamid Arastoopour
Wanger Institute for Sustainable Energy Research (WISER)