CCAT has many talented and dedicated staff members. Get to know our innovative team, what inspires them, and what they do to support the manufacturing industry here in Connecticut. Innovation is in the air and Joel Rinebold, Ph.D., Director of CCAT’s Energy Initiative, will never give up on helping Connecticut move forward with renewable and sustainable energy.
Describe your job function. What do you do?
I develop and advance energy technologies. This includes renewable energy, hydrogen, fuel cells, Lithium ion and Vanadium flow batteries, thermal energy recovery, onshore and offshore wind, and energy management systems for interconnection to the electric power grid and consumers.
Much of my work involves the study, analysis, and mitigation of energy problems. I focus on how to encourage the increased use of sustainable and renewable energy, improve energy efficiency, use of clean energy carriers, reduce waste with thermal energy recovery, and reduce air pollution emissions including carbon. This work is often tied to innovation, new technologies, and advanced manufacturing, which will reduce costs, increase durability, and prepare the workforce for the next generation of energy producers and consumers.
What do you love most about your job?
My work is challenging and rewarding. It gives me great satisfaction to help meet the global need for the protection of environmental resources, manage market requirements for reliable energy, and plan resource use to minimize cost and maximize value for consumers.
Did you attend college? What was your major course of study?
I attended Connecticut Central State University, the University of Rhode Island, and the University of Connecticut. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Urban Planning and Geology, a Master’s degree in Environmental Planning, and a Doctorate in Materials Science.
Have you ever worked as an intern or apprentice?
My first internship was in 1979 with the Connecticut State Department of Environmental Protection, before this agency became the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. My job was to design and develop an integrated hydrologic monitoring network system for improved management and protection of water resources used for drinking water supply, flood control, recreation, and environmental habitat.
How did you get here? Briefly describe your career history – where you have worked and how that led you to CCAT.
I have long been involved in various fields related to energy systems. After graduate school, I was employed as a District Manager for the USDA for the design of water diversions, irrigation systems, waste management systems, and water resource management for farmers. I left the USDA for the State of Connecticut Siting Council, which regulates power generation, electric transmission, natural gas transmission, hazardous waste, low-level radioactive waste, cellular and telecommunications in CT. After a short period as a siting analyst, I was promoted to Executive Director. Eventually, I took another Executive Director position at Eastern Connecticut State University, where I constructed plans to manage distributed energy, load management, and energy infrastructure that were used to develop policy and regulate siting in CT.
What do you love to do outside of work?
I spend considerable time outside hiking, biking, sailing, swimming, and skiing. I have backpacked through most of the US National Parks; biked roads throughout New England; sailed waters from the Northeast, Bermuda, Caribbean, and California; swim every day in the summer; and cross-country ski whenever there is snow on the ground in CT. I also cook, drive vintage cars and motorcycles, and tend to a small orchard.
What do you most love about Connecticut?
The four seasons in CT provide an outdoor environment that changes every two to four months. These changes afford an amazing difference in temperature, precipitation, foliage, viewshed, and allow me to pursue my favorite outside activities.
Share a favorite motto or quote that inspires you.
“Never give up; never surrender!” – Rev. Jesse Jackson
What book(s) are you reading right now?
What manufactured product can you not live without and recommend to others?
Eyeglasses, and a well-made Italian bicycle.
What TV shows are you currently watching?
What music have you been listing to lately?
Bob Dylan and 70’s folk music.
What advice would you give to your younger self or a young person just starting their career?
Plan, execute, and persist until you get there.