Laboratory for Energy Reclamation and Innovation

The Laboratory for Energy Reclamation and Innovation [LERI] was established in 2006 at the Albert Nerken School of Engineering by Prof. Robert Dell. LERI, housed in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, is dedicated to addressing energy problems in the developed and the developing world through bold design.

LERI is a research and teaching venue for addressing our current energy problems through design and innovation, particularly by the cascade utilization using of waste energy. LERI has specialized in micro-green energy solutions and new uses for existing energy resources. We have produced many research papers for ASME and other venues, all with Cooper Union student and international faculty authors. Eleven patents have been awarded for our work that are owned by the Cooper Union.

We have developed and installed an innovative shallow system of heated green roofs using waste municipal steam and COGEN hot water in New York City and waste geothermal heat in Iceland. This intensive system has prolonged the growing seasons, enhanced plant growth, and enabled out of region plants from warmer climates while eliminating waste heat. We had an open air cotton harvest in our New York City test beds. Outdoors in Iceland we created a harvest of tomatoes, turnips, and oregano harvest Until this development, these plants were only successfully grown green houses. The Iceland test beds were also used for our patented thermoelectric generator that enabled the development of telemetry systems, thermoelectric powered robots, and what appears to be the world’s first thermoelectric powered security cameras.

We are continuing to find new applications for our innovative technologies and established technologies. We are looking for interested student  and additional institutional partners to join us for a cleaner, more holistic energy future.

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.