Groundbreaking ceremony held for Energy Advancement and Innovation Center

Posted: November 15, 2021
Energy Advancement and Innovation Center groundbreaking

A special ceremony at The Ohio State University Friday marked the start of construction for a new hub of energy research and technology incubation.

Ohio State President Kristina M. Johnson joined National Science Foundation Director Sethuraman Panchanathan; Vice President and Head of Major Partnerships for ENGIE North America Serdar Tufekci and Representatives Joyce Beatty and Troy Balderson for the groundbreaking ceremony for the Energy Advancement and Innovation Center (EAIC).

“The Energy Advancement and Innovation Center will be the epicenter of convergent research,” Johnson said. “It will be an opportunity generator that provides the tools necessary for us to be effective global citizens of the 21st century who make the world a better, healthier and a more sustainable place to live.”

The facility will be a platform for Ohio State faculty members, students, alumni, ENGIE Buckeye Operations team members, local entrepreneurs and industry experts to work together on the next generation of smart energy systems, artificial intelligence, renewable energy and green mobility solutions. 

“The Energy Advancement and Innovation Center will provide the critical infrastructure needed for researchers and industry partners across Ohio and the entire United States to work together across disciplines to build a better, brighter, more sustainable future for us all,” said Panchanathan.

The new center is co-located with a five-story, 305,000 square foot Interdisciplinary Research Facility in the fast-growing Innovation District. A third building, the Wexner Medical Center Outpatient Care West Campus, is also under construction in the district with a total of more than 750,000 gross square feet being built through the three projects.

“Four years since the beginning of our partnership with Ohio State, we are well into our transformational journey of a zero-carbon campus in Columbus. Today marks a new milestone, as the innovations which will come from this new endeavor will push us further, and faster, towards a zero-carbon world,” said Tufekci, who is an Ohio State Engineering alumnus.

The total project budget is $48.4 million for the four-floor building. The project is a cornerstone of the university’s public-private partnership with Ohio State Energy Partners (OSEP), which has committed $50 million for the project, including $36.7 million toward design and construction costs.

Design for the 66,000-square-foot building will prioritize strategies to reduce energy usage. The project will include the installation of a direct current (DC) microgrid with future plans to install photovoltaics/solar panels on the roof.

The facility will include a 210-seat seminar room and a 96-seat cafe to serve the EAIC and nearby Interdisciplinary Research Facility. Additional building features include:

  • Approximately 8,000 square feet of dedicated lab space
  • 25,000 square feet for collaborative learning and gathering space
  • 1,500 square feet reserved for focused workspace
  • 3,000 square feet shelled for program expansion

OSEP, a consortium made up of ENGIE North America and Axium Infrastructure, was established in 2017 when the Board of Trustees approved a 50-year agreement and lease for comprehensive energy management to strengthen the university’s sustainability while providing new resources for the university’s academic mission, including space to expand work in research in artificial intelligence, energy and smart systems.

by Chris Booker, Ohio State News

Category: Research