Friday, June 29, 2012 - 7:06am

The Center for Computational Relativity and Gravitation's "Black Hole Lab" at Rochester Institute of Technology uses a supercomputer to simulate supermassive black-hole collisions at the center of galaxies. While the lab calculates the spectacular amounts of energy released by the collisions, RIT is taking great strides to ensure the lab's energy efficiency.

The lab installed an innovative energy efficient data center cooling solution developed by OptiCool Technologies, a company that recently graduated from RIT's Clean Energy Incubator. The incubator is made possible by an initiative sponsored by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

To recognize the university's commitment to energy efficiency, RG&E presented RIT with a commercial and industrial rebate program check totaling nearly $32,000 during a news conference on June 29.

"We are pleased to offer our customers an extensive menu of rebate and incentive programs to assist them in becoming more energy efficient," says Mark S. Lynch, president of NYSEG and RG&E. "And we are especially pleased to present RIT with a rebate for the installation of a homegrown, highly efficient data center cooling technology."

"It's been a win-win situation," says Manuela Campanelli, director of RIT's Center for Computational Relativity and Gravitation. "The OptiCool solution has allowed us to increase our computational power for our research while reducing energy use and noise levels."

The OptiCool Data Center Cooling Solution uses an oil-free, pumped refrigerant and a modular cooling-unit design that increases cooling capacity, decreases overall energy usage up to 95 percent and takes up significantly less floor space than traditional methods of cooling. OptiCool Technology joined the Clean Energy Incubator approximately two years ago. The company recently graduated from the incubator and moved to a new facility in Webster.

"We are delighted our OptiCool solution was selected to support world-class research efforts at RIT," says Jeff Burke, president of OptiCool Technologies.

James Watters, RIT senior vice president of finance and administration, initiated this project.

"This is just another example of how the university is collaborating with various companies and organizations in its pledge to move the campus toward climate neutrality through more sustainable practices," says Watters. "We thank RG&E for this recognition and thank OptiCool Technologies for its innovative solution."

Last fall, RIT announced the release of its initial Climate Action Plan, putting it on track to be carbon neutral by 2030. Completion of the Climate Action Plan is a result of RIT's participation in the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment.

"NYSERDA congratulates RIT and OptiCool Technologies on a partnership that has yielded great results. In a short amount of time, OptiCool Technologies has gone from a start-up company in RIT's Clean Energy Incubator program to a business whose product will help the university achieve energy cost savings," states Francis J. Murray Jr., president and CEO of NYSERDA. "Governor Cuomo has made innovation a driver of economic development. The state's clean energy incubator program is fostering ideas from concept to commercialization thereby supporting the growth of the clean energy industry in New York."

The Clean Energy Incubator is a NYSERDA-funded initiative that began in 2009 with a $1.5 million grant. The role of the Clean Energy Incubator at RIT is to assist early-stage clean energy companies in product development, business and marketing planning and technology commercialization. The incubator is one of six statewide and is a part of New York state's clean energy initiative. Currently, the incubator is helping nine start-up companies whose focus is in either clean energy production or clean energy efficiency. Since its inception at RIT, the Clean Energy Incubator has created 45 new jobs and has helped its client companies raise more than $22 million in private capital investment to support their early stage growth. To learn more, visit

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