Kathy Dwyer Marble and Curt Marble Faculty Director of Energy at the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future at Cornell University
Edwin “Todd” Cowen is a professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, director of the DeFrees Hydraulics Laboratory, and Kathy Dwyer Marble and Curt Marble Faculty Director of Energy at the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future at Cornell University. As one of three faculty directors at the Atkinson Center, Cowen nurtures multidisciplinary, cross-university collaborative research on sustainable energy.
Cowen has a particular interest in collaborating with external partners for real-world impact, such as his work with Avangrid (parent company of New York State Electric and Gas Corporation) to create, test, and optimize new residential electric storage systems as part of the Energy Smart Community initiative. This cutting-edge Atkinson Center–private industry National Science Foundation sponsored collaboration will test whether adding rechargeable batteries to residential smart meters can increase benefits, including bolstering power grid flexibility, integrating renewable energy sources, reducing household electricity costs, and empowering homeowners to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
Cowen’s research interests are in environmental fluid mechanics and energy harvesting. He pairs lab-based research with full-scale observational field campaigns to understand the physics of natural and man-made perturbed flows in the environment. His current projects include remotely monitoring surface turbulence to understand how juvenile fish are transported through the San Francisco Bay Delta system, optimizing strategies for energy harvesting from arrays of turbines, directly harvesting mechanical energy from pre-tensioned wave-like ribbons, and direct air capture of carbon dioxide for biofuel and ancillary product production.
Cowen has been a member since 1999 of the Technical Advisory Committee on Cornell’s Lake Source Cooling, an award-winning district cooling system, and is a member of the executive steering team for Cornell’s innovative Earth Source Heat project. He is a member of Cornell’s Senior Leadership Climate Action Group, which recently issued the report “Options for Achieving a Carbon Neutral Campus by 2035”.