Tuesday, May 5, 2009
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
New research center at the 'U'
Federal funds will
enhance study of
By STEPHANIE STEINBERG
Daily News Editor
Thanks to the United States
Department of Energy funding
a $19.5 million Energy Frontier
Research Center at the Univer-
sity, researchers will be better
equipped to harness alternative
President Barack Obama's
American Recovery and Reinvest-
ment Act will provide funding for
the research at the University over
the next five years.
Obama announced Monday at
the annual meeting of the National
Academy of Sciences that the EFRC
at the University will be one of 46
research centers in the country.
Two of these centers will be locat-
ed in Michigan, with the other at
Michigan State University.
The EFRC will include a team of
22 researchers from the College of
Engineering and the departments
of Chemistry and Physics in the
College of Literature, Science and
Thnwia teanter Ax. m1not Iii- n
new building on campus, re
ers will continue studies
The center, titled Solar
Conversion in Complex M
will focus on developing n
to convert energy more eff
Project Director Peter
chair of the Materials
and Engineering departs
the College of Engineeri
the team of researchers w
the conversion of sunlig
electricity using thermal
He said common devices
capture energy are not as,
as they could be, and th
energy is dissipated than w
converted into electricity.
"In the end, the idea is
up with some design pri
that will allow us to crea
materials that can now beu
another generation of devi
have very high efficiency,"
Stephen Forrest, Un
vice president for research
rently developing low-cos
ic solar cells made out of
materials. He said solar
has the potential to reduc
dence on power primar
plied by coal.
A few University scient
NP nnr.nor.noxx:i*h nth
s used to
In total, the solar panels atop the Dana building can generate 30 kilowatts of electric
energy for the building.
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he said. across the nation. Udo Becker, like uranium, in a safe manner.
iversity associate professor of geological "There are a lot of things you do
h, is cur- sciences, is a senior researcher for not want to do in an experiment
t organ- the EFRC at the University ofNotre - especially one that involves ele-
f carbon Dame in Lafayette, Ind. He will be ments like plutonium and some-
energy working to develop newstructures times neptunium - because it's
e depen- that can be used as nuclear fuels potentially dangerous," he said.
ily sup- and employed in. nuclear power "So if we calculate properties of
plants. these then it's less dangerous."
ists will Becker said the goal is to create Becker said the centers will be
EFRCs new ways ofsynthesizing elements, beneficial for students interested
in studying energy.
"We will do a lot of educating
r m b oundergraduate and graduate stu-
dents to become knowledgeable in
*wo ' Fthe field of actinide science, which
niay actually be very important in
* *nd g/ g *Ifuture employments," he said.
Green said he hopes the
researchers will accomplish much
by the end of the fifth year and that
the projects will lead to start-up
companies as well as other propos-
als to initiate new research. .
He added that the economicben-
efits from the center will be quite
significant because the center will
generate jobs for researchers and
attract business from energy com-
"We anticipate having interac-
8:30 a.m. to Noon; tions with some of the solar com-
panies around that have a very
Thursday, May,, 2009; direct interest in advances that we
Great Lakes Room, make," he said.
While the EFRC may provide
4th Floor, Palmer economic gains, Becker said the
ultimate purpose is to help solve
Commons. the country's energy problems.
"We need to think about how
to come up with solutions to our
future energy needs and also with
solutions to get rid of. some of
friat *the problems of our past energy
usage," he said.
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