The need to balance energy demands, economic growth, climate change mitigation and access to affordable and clean water animated discussions at this year’s annual retreat for Princeton E-ffiliates Partnership, the corporate affiliates program administered by Princeton University’s Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment.

The E-ffiliates retreat attracted more than 75 participants and brought together University faculty, industrial representatives, postdoctoral fellows and students at the Chauncey Hotel and Conference Center in Princeton on Feb. 2. The day-long meeting also gave students an opportunity to network and exchange ideas on climate change and technological solutions with practitioners.

E-ffiliates seeks to enable transformational innovations in the fields of energy and environment through close collaborations between academic experts and industry leaders. It enhances interactions between teachers, students and practitioners and promotes technology transfer between Princeton University and its corporate partners.

“It’s important to bring together a variety of disciplines, professions and backgrounds,” said Lynn Loo, director of the Andlinger Center. “Open dialogue among different constituents is the key to solving our energy and environmental issues because these problems are complex and touch almost every aspect of human society,” said Loo, who also is the Theodora D. ’78 and William H. Walton III ’74 Professor in Engineering, and professor of chemical and biological engineering.

The event included two panel discussions and a session in which students and postdoctoral researchers presented posters conveying their ongoing research. Matthew Nordan, managing partner of MNL Partners, an international firm that develops energy and environmental projects in global markets with a focus on China, delivered the keynote.

Dan Steingart with microphoneDaniel Steingart, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and the Andlinger Center, led the retreat’s technical program. The morning panel, “Meeting Energy and Economic Needs While Reducing Carbon Footprints,” covered the challenges of realizing a carbon-neutral world, the growth of energy demand projected in the future, the hidden impact of energy efficiency, and emerging solutions, such as autonomous electric vehicles. Robert Socolow, senior research scholar and professor emeritus in mechanical and aerospace engineering, moderated the discussion.

The afternoon panel, “Air and Water Quality Preservation,” went in-depth into the issues surrounding clean air and water for personal and industrial use, provided a historical account of the development of regulations overseen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the transport of pollutants, and engine emissions. Claire White, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering and the Andlinger Center, moderated the discussion.

For the poster session in the evening, 27 postdoctoral fellows, graduate and undergraduate students presented research on a range of topics including building-integrated photovoltaics, electric motors, building shading, rammed-earth walls and battery diagnostics.

Researcher presenting during poster session

Concluding the event, Nordan discussed the energy and environmental challenges the world is facing, how existing clean energy technologies are insufficient in meeting projected demand, work by start-up companies to develop clean energy solutions and new financing models geared towards emerging technologies.

“The event showcases how industry and academia working together is most effective in addressing these challenges,” said Mark Zondlo, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering and the associate director of external partnerships, whose central task is to oversee Princeton E-ffiliates Partnership. “It was a great opportunity for students and postdocs to understand industrial practitioners’ real world challenges. And it was just as great for practitioners to see the research happening on campus.”

Claire White, seen here in profile, moderates panel discussion

For more information on the Princeton E-ffiliates Partnership and the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, contact Sharon Adarlo, communications specialist, at or (609) 258-9979.


  • Lynn Loo

  • Claire White


  • Energy and Environment

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  • Faculty member, seated at end of row of colleagues, leads panel discussion.

    Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment