Energy Dept. Commits $777 Million to Energy Frontier Research Centers
The United States Department of Energy recently announced that it will establish 46 Energy Frontier Research Centers through its Office of Science to "accelerate the scientific breakthroughs needed to build a new 21st-century energy economy." The department is committing $777 million over the next five years to the effort.
Of the 46 EFRCs, 31 will be led by universities. Three of them--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northwestern University, and the University of Texas at Austin--will lead two EFRCs each.
"As global energy demand grows over this century, there is an urgent need to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and imported oil and curtail greenhouse gas emissions," said Secretary of Energy Steven Chu in a prepared statement. "Meeting this challenge will require significant scientific advances. These Centers will mobilize the enormous talents and skills of our nation's scientific workforce in pursuit of the breakthroughs that are essential to make alternative and renewable energy truly viable as large-scale replacements for fossil fuels."
Individual EFRCs being led by higher education institutions include:
- Arizona State University, EFR Center for Bio-Inspired Solar Fuel Production;
- California Institute of Technology, Light-Material Interactions in Energy Conversion;
- Columbia University, Re-Defining Photovoltaic Efficiency Through Molecule-Scale Control;
- Cornell University, Nanostructured Interfaces for Energy Generation, Conversion, and Storage;
- Louisiana State University, Computational Catalysis and Atomic-Level Synthesis of Materials: Building Effective Catalysts from First Principles;
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Solid-State Solar-Thermal Energy Conversion Center;
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Center for Excitonics;
- Michigan State University, Revolutionary Materials for Solid State Energy Conversion: A DOE Energy Frontier Research Center;
- Northwestern University, Argonne-Northwestern Solar Energy Research Center;
- Northwestern University, Center for Integrated Training in Far-From-Equilibrium and Adaptive Materials;
- Pennsylvania State University, Center for Lignocellulose Structure and Function;
- Princeton University, Energy Frontier Research Center for Combustion Science;
- Purdue University, Center for Direct Catalytic Conversion of Biomass to Biofuels;
- Stanford University, Center on Nanostructuring for Efficient Energy Conversion;
- State University of New York, Stony Brook, Northeastern Chemical Energy Storage Center;
- University of Arizona, Center for Interface Science: Hybrid Solar-Electric Materials;
- University of California, Berkeley, Center for Gas Separations Relevant to Clean Energy Technologies;
- University of California, Los Angeles, Molecularly Assembled Material Architectures for Solar Energy Production, Storage, and Carbon Capture
- University of California, Santa Barbara, Center on Materials for Energy Efficiency Applications;
- University of Delaware, Rational Design of Innovative Catalytic Technologies for Biomass Derivative Utilization;
- University of Maryland, Science of Precision Multifunctional Nanostructures for Electrical Energy Storage;
- University of Massachusetts, Polymer-Based Materials for Harvesting Solar Energy;
- University of Michigan, Solar Energy Conversion in Complex Materials;
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Solar Fuels and Next Generation Photovoltaics;
- University of Notre Dame, Materials Science of Actinides;
- University of South Carolina, Science Based Nano-Structure Design and Synthesis of Heterogeneous Functional Materials for Energy Systems;
- University of Southern California, Emerging Materials for Solar Energy Conversion and Solid State Lighting;
- University of Texas at Austin, Frontiers of Subsurface Energy Security;
- University of Texas at Austin, Understanding Charge Separation and Transfer at Interfaces in Energy Materials and Devices;
- University of Virginia, Center for Catalytic Hydrocarbon Functionalization; and
- Washington University, St. Louis, Photosynthetic Antenna Research Center.
National laboratories and both for-profit and non-profit organizations will lead the remainder of the centers. Each will be funded at a level of $2 million to $5 million per year for a five-year period initially. All told, some 110 institutions will participate in the research efforts. Those involved hail from 36 states and the District of Columbia.
According to the Department of Energy, "In all, the EFRCs will involve nearly 700 senior investigators and employ, on a full- or part-time basis, over 1,100 postdoctoral associates, graduate students, undergraduate students, and technical staff. Roughly a third of these researchers will be supported by [American Recovery and Reinvestment Act] funding."
Further information on each of the EFRCs can be found in a PDF published by the Energy Department here.