Rutgers University | NJAES | SEBS     New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station


Our Mission

The mission of NJCERN is to attract and retain renewable energy and energy efficiency firms, create green jobs, assist the State in meeting its renewable energy and greenhouse gas reduction goals, and cultivate an atmosphere of innovation among New Jersey based businesses and universities.

Our Team

Margaret Brennan-Tonetta, Ph.D.

Margaret is Associate Vice President for Economic Development at Rutgers University and Associate Director of the Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES). She is responsible for the development and implementation of new economic growth initiatives at Rutgers. Margaret was the project director for an assessment of the biomass energy potential for New Jersey, commissioned by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities. The results of this assessment formed the basis of the bioenergy component of the New Jersey State Energy Master Plan. Margaret is also responsible for administrative oversight for several NJAES centers including the Rutgers EcoComplex. She is currently project director for the development of the Rutgers Innovation Park on the Rutgers New Brunswick campus. She is an economist with expertise in economic development strategies, bioenergy economics and policy, and agricultural biotechnology markets. Margaret sits on the board of the State Energy Sector Partnership and the Rutgers Energy Institute, and is a member of the New Jersey Business Incubation Network and the State Bioenergy Working Group.

Serpil Guran, Director – Rutgers EcoComplex

Dr. Serpil Guran is the Director of the Rutgers EcoComplex. Her responsibilities include management of the EcoComplex operations, programs, business incubator and facilities, as well as providing vision and leadership in establishing the EcoComplex as a nationally recognized center for the commercialization of environmental and alternative energy technologies. Additionally, Dr. Guran serves as liaison to the regional environmental and alternative energy business communities, government agencies, and related organizations.

Dr. Guran was formerly a Research Scientist at the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection for 13 years, most recently with the Office Economic Growth and Green Energy. Prior to that she was a Research Scientist at Princeton University in the Mechanical-Aerospace Engineering Dept. and at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, CO. Dr. Guran specializes in research, development and assessment of sustainable biofuel and recycling technologies, and life cycle analysis of alternative fuel production systems. She has authored more than 25 scientific articles and holds a U.S. patent and patent disclosure. Dr. Guran has a M.S. in Chemical Engineering from Anadolu University in Turkey and a PhD in Chemical Engineering, with a specialization in Fuel and Energy Technology, from the University of Leeds, UK

David Specca

David is the Assistant Director for Bioenergy Technologies at the Rutgers EcoComplex. He has worked for the past fifteen years on small and large-scale bioenergy projects at the Center. His activities include identifying, demonstrating and promoting appropriate renewable energy technologies. Currently, his projects include working with small businesses on technologies in landfill gas cleanup and utilization, microturbine co-generation, anaerobic digestion, ethanol production, biodiesel, and biomass pyrolysis.

As part of the business development activities of the EcoComplex, Dave is a member of the NJ Business Incubator Network, State Bioenergy Working Group, Board member of the Rutgers Energy Institute, the Solid Waste Association of North America – NJ Chapter, and the NJ Economic Development Authority Clean Technology Advisory Committee, and Co-chair of the Clean Energy Alliance, a nationwide network of clean energy incubator facilities. He also directs the activities of a one-acre hydroponic vegetable and aquaculture greenhouse facility powered by two landfill gas-to-energy technologies. This facility provides commercialization space and services for start-up energy from waste companies.

He was also a member of the NJAES team that produced the “Assessment of Biomass Energy Potential in NJ” and has written a paper looking at crop-based bioenergy in NJ, “Opportunities for Agricultural-based Bioenergy in New Jersey, a case study of switchgrass and field corn”.

Our Partners

DEP_sizeable The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) assist clean energy companies with technical assistance activities related to verification of technology performance, demonstration of regulatory compliance, and identification and acquisition of the appropriate permits for the preconstruction and operation of energy projects in the State. Through a collaborative arrangement with the respective NJDEP regulatory programs, the Bureau of Energy and Sustainability (BES) provides companies with the necessary guidance to demonstrate (through relevant performance data and independently verified performance claims) regulatory compliance, and the Office of Permit Coordination and Environmental Review (OPCER) helps companies navigate the permitting process to acquire the necessary permits for conducting business in New Jersey.
homepage2_03-02 New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program is a statewide program that offers financial incentives, programs and services for New Jersey residents, business owners and local governments to help them save energy, money and the environment.
homepage2_05 The New Jersey Department of Agriculture encourages the incorporation of clean energy into farming and food operations throughout the state. With help in crafting regulations from the Department and the State Agriculture Development Committee, farmers on both preserved and non-preserved farms have been encouraged to include solar, wind and biomass energy generation into their businesses. Additionally, the Department took the lead in securing a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to rebuild an anaerobic digester at the Landis Sewerage Authority in Vineland to accept manure from nearby dairy farms and waste from local food processors to create energy that runs the sewerage operation.
partners-logos_12 EDA’s clean energy programs assist clean technology companies with funding support to develop their businesses and support the manufacture of energy efficient and renewable energy products serving Class I renewable energy technologies. Program benefits include encouraging the expansion and development of clean technology products and increasing renewable energy and energy efficiency manufacturing jobs in New Jersey.
partners-logos_13 As part of New Jersey’s ongoing efforts to minimize the potential impacts of future major power outages and increase energy resiliency, the State has established the New Jersey Energy Resilience Bank, a first-of-its-kind in the nation energy recovery and resilience financing initiative. The Bank is a new, direct and innovative approach to addressing significant energy infrastructure vulnerabilities arising in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.
partners-logos_14 The Rutgers EcoComplex “Clean Energy Innovation Center” serves as the University’s hub for multidisciplinary activities related to clean energy research, education, and business development. With a focus on clean energy innovations from the university and industry, we are here to test, verify, demonstrate and deploy new technologies and to educate the public about the environmental benefits and economic opportunities of clean energy development.