Pollution Prevention Institute Focuses on Green Manufacturing

A newly created Pollution Prevention Institute at Rochester Institute of Technology in New York will focus on the design and testing of green manufacturing methods.

The research-and-development center, announced by New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, will serve as a state and national source for new technologies in pollution prevention and sustainable design. The institute will give businesses technical support in decreasing the use of toxic chemicals, cutting waste generation, decreasing exposure risks to workers, and promoting more efficient use of raw materials and energy.

"There is a global shift occurring in how we produce, distribute, sell, and use goods and services," Spitzer says. "By creating the Pollution Prevention Institute, we are seizing an opportunity to help businesses become greener, while improving productivity and reducing environmental damage."

"We are delighted that RIT has been selected to host this significant research and development center that will benefit all New Yorkers," adds RIT President Bill Destler. "It will not only leverage the extensive expertise that RIT has accumulated in this important field, but it will enable us to collaborate with an extraordinary group of academic partners and technology organizations in the field."

RIT will receive $2 million in assistance to launch the institute, and Spitzer has called for another $4 million to be allocated to the center in the 2008-09 executive budget. Initial activities will include the identification and implementation of practical prevention methods, the development of professional education and training programs, and the creation of a communications pipeline for technical assistance.

The institute will also seek to create 16 research and development test beds, or technological laboratories, through partnerships with Clarkson University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and the State University of New York at Buffalo. Capabilities of these test beds will include environmental engineering of nanomaterials at RIT, biofuels testing at Clarkson, polymer testing at Rensselaer and sustainable chemical process development at the University of Buffalo. In addition, institute leaders plan on creating partnerships with New York's 10 Regional Technology Development Corporations to help disseminate data and strategy. These groups recently formed a green sustainability working group to bolster environmental opportunities across the state.

The new pollution prevention center will be housed in RIT's Golisano Institute for Sustainability, which was formed in 2007 following a $10-million commitment to the university from B. Thomas Golisano. The Golisano Institute also includes a number of applied research organizations dedicated to enhancing the implementation of sustainable processes in all levels of society.

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