Stanford University is establishing the Precourt Institute for Energy, a $100 million research institute that will focus exclusively on energy issues. The new funds will enable the hiring of additional faculty and support new graduate students, in addition to the more than $30 million in yearly funding now spent on energy research.
Funding was led by founding donors Jay Precourt and the husband-and-wife team of Thomas Steyer and Kat Taylor. Precourt is an energy executive, Steyer is a Stanford trustee and managing partner of Farallon Capital Management, and Taylor is active in a variety of public benefit and philanthropic ventures.
In addition, a $40 million gift from Steyer and Taylor will create a new research center as part of the institute – the TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy.
‘The biggest renewable resource is the sun,’ says Lynn Orr, who has been named overall director of the new institute. ‘But we need to lower the cost of converting sunlight into electricity and supplying it through a much-improved electric grid.
‘The new center will allow us to expand significantly our effort to develop new nanostructured materials for solar energy and energy storage and to work on the host of social, market and policy issues involved in the needed transition to energy systems with significant fractions of renewables,’ he continues.