Energy Institute Launches Sam L. Clowney Memorial for Student Research Endowment

Greetings from the Energy Institute’s Executive Director Bryan Willson!

As I look out from my office at the Powerhouse, I can’t help but reflect over the past 30 years and think of all the students who have worked in this space. In Spring 1992, I established the Engines and Energy Conversion Laboratory in an abandoned building that had previously housed the Fort Collins Municipal Power Plant. At the time, it was a shell of a building without heat, power, bathrooms, or windows; most of its wiring had been stripped out, and most of its windows had been shot out. Fast forward 30 years, and the EECL has been expanded and transformed into Colorado State University’s Powerhouse Energy Campus, a 100,000-square-foot internationally recognized center for clean energy research, education, and innovation. Powerhouse now houses a unique ecosystem where CSU faculty, research scientists, and students work together with industry partners to translate energy science into solutions that can be implemented at a national and global scale; this is our North Star of Science-to-Solutions-to-Scale.

Our work isn’t finished. In fact, the goals we’ve mapped out for the next 30 years are even more urgent than the last 30 years, and investment in students is critical to our transition to a zero-carbon future. 

We have a new opportunity to support students who work at the Powerhouse on decarbonization projects, providing critical research for climate change solutions as well as hands-on experience. Thanks to a generous donor, all donations to the Sam L. Clowney Memorial for Student Research endowment are doubled, up to $100,000.


We established the Sam L. Clowney Memorial for Student Research endowment to honor Sam Clowney’s legacy. Clowney was a longtime leader in the natural gas pipeline industry who helped to create a collective vision that rapid development and implementation of new technology solutions could meaningfully reduce the environmental impact from the natural gas industry. Clowney played a huge role in nurturing the EECL in its earliest years, always pushing us to operate at the speed and scale required to work effectively with industry. He was also a champion for our students, powerfully articulating the role that our students would play in helping to bring an innovation worldview to the industry. That vision has been realized. A contemporary example is that students who have worked at the EECL are now helping to create the future where clean energy fuels, such as hydrogen, will be moved through the same pipeline system that previously transported only natural gas.

The Sam L. Clowney Memorial for Student Research endowment provides financial support to students working at Powerhouse. As we look forward to the next 30 years, we are asking those who have benefited from – or just appreciate – the lab’s work to help support the Sam L. Clowney Memorial for Student Research fund. Our goal over the next few months is to significantly grow this endowment so it will continually support students at the Powerhouse who are working for a better future. An industry leader who was mentored by Clowney early in his career has generously provided a challenge to match the first $100,000 in contributions. Donations can be made by clicking the give buttons. If you have any questions or would like to hear more about this fund and our research, you can reach out to me directly at [email protected].

Thanks to all; I wish you a healthy and happy 2023.


Sam Clowney Scholarship Application for Students

Up to $3,000 available in scholarship to Powerhouse student researchers!
Available to undergraduate, MS and PhD students