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Innovating a Sustainable Future

St. Thomas Applied & Renewable Technologies Center

The St. Thomas Applied & Renewable Technologies (START) Center is a collaborative hub where university researchers, startups, established industries, and government research labs converge to translate fundamental energy research into applied and use-inspired solutions that drive innovation and advance clean energy technologies.

Through access to faculty experts, state-of-the-art equipment, specialized laboratories, advanced modeling and simulation tools, cutting-edge prototyping facilities, and rigorous validation and testing services, the Center empowers stakeholders to translate research into real-world solutions. Our collaboration with government research labs ensures our innovations address challenges of national significance and help shape a more secure and sustainable energy landscape.

Read more about the Center in recent publications and news media:



Dr. Kundan Nepal

Director, START Center
Dr. Kundan Nepal headshot
Phone Number
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Sponsors and Partners

Current work in the START Center is supported in part by funding received from the following industry and government partners:

  • Comprehensive Carbon Impact (CCI), Michigan
  • Energetics Technology Center (ETC), Maryland
  • US Army Ground Vehicle Systems Center (GVSC)
  • US Army Research Lab (ARL)

For Startups and Industry Partners

Get involved and make a real difference with the Center's sustainability, venture and industry-focused solutions.

Collaborate with our experts to tackle challenges and advance groundbreaking projects.

Leverage our state-of-the-art equipment, specialized laboratories, advanced modeling and simulation tools, cutting-edge prototyping facilities, and rigorous validation and testing services.

Empower the next generation of innovators with real-world project opportunities.

Enhance your team's skillset through specialized workshops tailored to your needs.

Navigate the grant process and strengthen your proposals with our collaborative support.

Innovate With Us

Graduate Certificate in Sustainability

Lead the future of sustainability.

The Graduate Certificate in Sustainability equips you with the knowledge and skills to drive transformational change. Master key principles, practical applications, and assessment tools to guide organizations towards a more sustainable future. Open to students from diverse academic backgrounds, including engineering, law, business, policy, and more.

Graduate Certificate in Sustainability

New Product Tech Ventures (NPTV) Fellowship

Translate ideas into impactful solutions.

The New Product Tech Ventures (NPTV) Fellowship empowers you to become a leader and innovator. This selective 15-month program, designed for graduate students in engineering, equips you with a powerful blend of technical mastery, business acumen, and entrepreneurial spirit. You will deepen your technical expertise while gaining insights into venture creation and market needs.

New Product Tech Ventures (NPTV) Fellowship

Associated Faculty

Dr. Kundan Nepal

Dr. Kundan Nepal

Dr. Kundan Nepal is the Director of the START Center and the NPTV Fellowship program. As a Professor in Electrical & Computer Engineering, Kundan’s research interests include sustainable energy systems, low power computing systems, power efficient testing, error detection and avoidance techniques in digital integrated circuits. In addition, his work also seeks the democratization of the exciting field of embedded computing and the Internet of Things by bringing these technologies to solve problems identified by traditionally under-served communities. Kundan is deeply passionate about leveraging engineering expertise to create impactful ventures.

Dr. Kundan Nepal
Dr. Don Weinkauf

Dr. Don Weinkauf

Dr. Don Weinkauf has served as the Dean of Engineering at the University of St Thomas in St. Paul, MN since 2008. He has been honored nationally for his teaching and research as a Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar. Prior to his career in academia, Dr. Weinkauf worked for Shell Oil Company as a Research Engineer. He is the inventor on 3 U.S. Patents and has been the Principal Investigator on over 5 million dollars in federal, state and corporate research grants.

Dr. Don Weinkauf
Dr. John Wentz

Dr. John Wentz

Dr. John Wentz is an associate professor in the mechanical engineering department and Director of the Center for Advanced Manufacturing. John’s research interests include sustainable manufacturing processes, metalworking fluid purification and life extension, microfiltration processes, micro-scale manufacturing processes and more. Before joining St. Thomas, John worked on various projects related to fluid dynamics and sustainable manufacturing.

Dr. John Wentz