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Solar Cells, Batteries Research Receives $15 Million

Solar Cells, Batteries Research Receives $15 Million

AUSTIN, Texas--With a $15 million grant, scientists and engineers aim to revolutionize solar cells and energy storage technologies as one of two Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs) established at The University of Texas at Austin by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

The White House announced the creation of 46 new EFRCs nationally in conjunction with a speech delivered by President Barack Obama at the annual meeting of the National Academy of Sciences.

The EFRC, led by Paul Barbara, will focus on better understanding the molecular processes that underpin innovative nanomaterials that may be used in solar energy and batteries. The center, titled "Understanding Charge Separation and Transfer at Interfaces in Energy Materials and Devices," is one of 16 EFRCs to be funded by President Obama's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. DOE plans to fund the EFRC at $15 million for a five-year period.

"The current pace of industrial research and development for solar energy and battery technologies is not fast enough to address society's energy needs, which are growing more critical every day," said Barbara, holder of the Richard J. V. Johnson Welch Regents Chair in Chemistry and director of the Center for Nano and Molecular Science and Technology. "The EFRC will allow us to develop completely new paradigms that address key fundamental scientific roadblocks to achieving U.S. energy security, and will also promote education and technology transfer in alternative energy."

Barbara's team will be composed of 18 faculty members from the College of Natural Sciences and the Cockrell School of Engineering. They will work in partnership with Sandia National Laboratories.

"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 U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu. "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."

The university's second EFRC grant will support fundamental research on the movement or transport of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in geological systems. It will be led by Gary Pope in the Cockrell School of Engineering.

More information on the EFRCs can be found on the DOE's Web site at www.er.doe.gov/bes/EFRC.

For more information contact:Jennifer Lyon, Center for Nano and Molecular Science and Technology, 512-232-1494.

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Saturday, 11 July 2020

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