After years of construction and even more of planning, Stony Brook University's Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center is almost complete.
Outside construction is finished and designers are now working on furnishing the interior, which should be completed in time for the center to open at the end of this month, according to Yacov Shamash, vice president of economic development at Stony Brook.
AERTC will bring together academics, scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs and existing companies to build the clean energy sector on Long Island by developing new clean energy sources and perfecting existing ones. AERTC will also work with local utilities and Brookhaven National Laboratory.
Shamash said center members will work with solar and wind energy, fuel cells and batteries as well as existing fossil fuel systems, all toward the goal of improving clean energy efficiency.
"We're looking at the full gamut of energy generation and trying to develop new ways of developing new systems," he said, adding most other energy centers narrow their research to one type of energy generation.
Once new energies are discovered, developed and perfected, AERTC will provide an incubator to grow companies to offer the new technology. The goal, Shamash said, is to keep the developments, and companies that carry them, on Long Island to bolster the local economy.
"What we're trying to do is, when you come out with a new technology, instead of taking it somewhere else, you'll nurture it here," he said.
Once companies are established, Shamash said the university has the resources in place to help them with anything they need, from funding through the Long Island Angel Network to lawyers or accountants.
Stony Brook has already begun much of the research that will take place in the center, so Shamash said the new building will be almost fully staffed when it opens. Almost all the workers at AERTC will be local, and many will come from Stony Brook and other Long Island universities.
Shamash added Stony Brook has already won a lot of grant money for energy research and most of that will be transferred to AERTC.
For the local community and the Island as a whole, Shamash said the center could bring a new economic engine, capable of generating high-paying jobs, as well as partnerships between government, businesses and labs.
"It will also enable us to obtain a lot more research and development money from companies and the federal government because we have a concentrated resource of people," he said. "For Long Island, it will certainly lead to the startup of new companies and improving the competitiveness of existing companies."