Tech Transfer

Hands on Engineering for Sustainability
NYU Students Compete in US Department of Energy Biennial Solar Decathlon

August 2013 saw participants in the US Department of Energy’s biennial Solar Decathlon, a program that challenges college students around the world to design, build and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, attractive and energy efficient.

The competition aims to promote cross-disciplinary collaboration between institutions and facilitate innovation in energy efficient design and solar power. The resulting homes, built solely by students, demonstrated that solar-powered houses can be fully functional, comfortable and sustainable living spaces. During the competition, homes were judged by their ability to conserve resources, control the physical environment and be fully energy efficient, running only on solar energy. New York University students were awarded a grant by the USDOE to participate in partnership with Ghent University in Belgium and with Worcester Polytechnic Institute, MA, in a joint effort to design and construct an energy-efficient house. Each school has been assigned specific responsibilities. NYU-Poly has been charged with the structural design of the home and the effective use of building materials to increase its energy efficiency. The students from Ghent are in charge of the architectural design and detailing; the WPI students are in charge of heating ventilation and cooling, including photovoltaic power generation. Students from the three universities work closely together and with industry partners in the U.S. “The idea of working on a house that’s kind of futuristic and [uses] zero energy really appealed to me,” said NYU team member Javed Narain a civil engineering undergraduate student.


Chromosense LLC is a technology company focused on the development and production of the next generation optical environmental sensing and monitoring systems. The current (patented) technology is a long-term oxygen level monitoring system with application to contaminated soil and groundwater environments. The product is now being prepared for field testing. The company is supported by the National Institute of Health and New York State. Chromosense was launched by Masoud and students in 2009.

Masoud Ghandehari, Alexey Sidelev (former doctoral student), Filip Mlekicki (former undergraduate student), and Mohsen Hossein Industry Professor

The company was showcased during visit by NYC Senator Gillibrand to the Urban Future Lab, one of the school’s newest business incubator. The senator was also visiting to promote Technology and Research Accelerating National Security and Future Economic Resiliency (TRANSFER) Act, which she is sponsoring. The bipartisan bill is aimed at helping universities, colleges, federal laboratories, and non-profit research institutions throughout the state to secure the resources needed to bring their discoveries to the marketplace, thus spurring the growth of new science and technology jobs.


Social Entrepreneurship

Post Earthquake Relief, Haiti January 2010

Six months after an earthquake measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale devastated Haiti, only 28,000 of the 1.5 million Haitians displaced by the catastrophe had found new homes. Nine months after the January 2010 earthquake, conditions in Haiti had not improved with widespread water contamination and nearly 2 million people living in tents.

Working with the Clinton Bush Fund and groups within the international community, NYU Researchers and students worked with local engineering companies to introduce innovative cellular concrete materials for lightweight earthquake-resistant building construction. The product is currently in production in Port au Prince.

“So how do you reconfigure your innovation so that it can be applied in different environments? That’s where engineering comes in. We know how to make a difference,” Ghandehari says about the effort, “we” being a reference to engineers. “That’s part of the engineering curriculum: how to bring teams together to solve problems.”

Huffington Post: Huffington Post 05/30/2010 09:04 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
Graduate Student: Student Vincenzo Ucciero on the work in Haiti