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Millions Awarded to Northwestern for Energy Research

Department of Energy to fund projects that help enable advances in energy production

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June 19, 2014 | by Erin White

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Two Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs) at Northwestern University will continue to receive multimillion-dollar funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for projects designed to accelerate the scientific breakthroughs needed to build a new 21st-century energy economy.

In this second round of funding, $100 million will be awarded to 32 projects at EFRCs around the country, U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced. Northwestern’s projects were competitively selected for funding by the DOE from more than 200 proposals.

The Northwestern University Center for Bio-Inspired Energy Science (CBES) Center will receive $12 million over 4 years, and the Argonne-Northwestern Solar Energy Research (ANSER) Center will receive $15.2 million over 4 years.

Samuel I. Stupp, director of Northwestern’s CBES, said the center will use the funds to develop artificial materials, inspired by biological systems, that can change the way we convert and use energy. Stupp is the Board of Trustees Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Chemistry and Medicine at Northwestern.

The Argonne-Northwestern ANSER Center plans to revolutionize our understanding of the molecules, materials and physical phenomena necessary to create dramatically more efficient technologies for solar fuels and electricity production, said Michael Wasielewski, director of ANSER and a professor of chemistry at Northwestern.

Northwestern researchers also are playing vital roles in three other EFRCs. They are: Mark Hersam, professor of materials science and engineering with the Center for Electrochemical Energy Science at Argonne; Joseph T. Hupp, the Morrison Professor of Chemistry with the Inorganometallic Catalyst Design Center at the University of Minnesota; and Pamela S. Parkes-Loach, research assistant professor of molecular biosciences with the Photosynthesis Antenna Research Center at Washington University in St. Louis.

Since their establishment by the DOE’s Office of Science in 2009, EFRCs have produced 5,400 peer-reviewed scientific publications and hundreds of inventions at various stages of the patent process. EFRC research has also benefited a number of large and small firms, including start-up companies.

The goal of the centers is to help lay the scientific groundwork for fundamental advances in solar energy, electrical energy storage, carbon capture and sequestration, materials and chemistry by design, biosciences, and extreme environments, according to the DOE.

Additional information about the EFRCs can be found here.

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