Collaborative research awarded $750,000 IonE grant in sustainable energy

April 19, 2017 - After an extensive internal and external review of multiple research proposals, the Institute on the Environment today announced the winner of a three-year, $750,000 grant in the area of sustainable energy.

Professors R. Lee Penn (Department of Chemistry) and Eray S. Aydil (Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science) in the College of Science and Engineering (CSE) are the lead investigators on the project titled “Materials for Renewable Energy and for Carbon Dioxide Emission Reduction.” The team includes 16 investigators from across departments within CSE, the Law School and the Natural Resources Research Institute at the University of Minnesota Duluth.

The researchers will launch an expansive new energy program broadly focused on materials science and renewable energy. Specifically, they will work to improve solar photovoltaic cells, convert waste heat to electricity, use concentrated solar thermal to produce synthetic hydrocarbon fuels, accelerate green processing and advance thermal storage to build a more flexible electric grid.

The project will include research and educational opportunities for a cross-disciplinary group of graduate students and will build on previous success in securing U.S. patents, starting up new ventures and licensing technology to major corporations. The team’s ultimate goals are to develop new technologies that reduce carbon dioxide emissions and further a carbon-neutral economy.

This grant is the first in a series of major new investments by the Institute on the Environment in strategic areas that have a large impact on sustainability and quality of life for people and our planet. The next strategic research focus will be on water sustainability for a growing population in Minnesota and around the world.

Excerpt taken from "Investing in the future of energy" written by Todd Reubold (link below).

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