The White House announced that the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science will invest $777 million in Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs) over the next five years. In a national effort to accelerate scientific advances in critical areas of the new energy economy the United States Department of Energy (DOE) will establish 46 new multi-million dollar Energy Frontier Research Centers (or EFRCs) across the nation.

Supported in part by funds made available under President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act), the various EFRCs will be established at universities, national laboratories, nonprofit organizations, and private firms around the nation. They bring together groups of leading scientists to address fundamental issues in fields ranging from solar energy and electricity storage to materials sciences, biofuels, advanced nuclear systems, and carbon capture and sequestration. The 46 EFRCs, which are to be funded at $2–5 million per year each for a planned initial five-year period, were selected from a pool of some 260 applications. Over 110 institutions from 36 states plus the District of Columbia will be participating in the EFRC research.

“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.”

Principle Areas of Research and Development

Renewable and carbon-neutral energy, which include solar energy, advanced 4rth generation nuclear energy systems, biofuels, and long term geological sequestration of CO2 – 20 EFRCs

Achieving greater energy efficiency focusing on advances in clean and efficient combustion, solid state lighting and superconductivity – 6 ERFCs

Advanced energy storage such as hydrogen and electrical energy storage systems — 6 EFRCs

Crosscutting science focusing on advanced catalysis, materials under extreme environments and other — 14 ERFCs

List of the 46 Selected Energy Frontier Research Centers

The Center for Bio-Inspired Solar Fuel Production at the Arizona State University, Tempe AZ and directed by Gust, J. Devens has the objective to adapt the fundamental principles of natural photosynthesis to the man-made production of hydrogen or other fuels from sunlight.

The Center for Interface Science: Hybrid Solar-Electric Materials (CIS:HSEM) at the University of Arizona, Tuscon AZ and directed by Armstrong, Neal R. has the objective to enhance the conversion of solar energy to electricity using hybrid inorganic-organic materials.

The Center for Light-Material Interactions in Energy Conversion at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena CA and directed by Atwater, Harry has the goal of tailoring the properties of advanced materials to control the flow of solar energy and heat.

The Center for Nanoscale Control of Geologic CO2 at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley CA and directed by DePaolo, Donald has the objective to establish the scientific foundations for the geological storage of carbon dioxide.

The Center on Nanostructuring for Efficient Energy Conversion at Stanford University, Stanford CA and directed by Prinz, Fritz has the objective to design, create, and characterize materials at the nanoscale for a wide variety of energy applications.

The Center for Gas Separations Relevant to Clean Energy Technologies at the University of California, Berkeley in Berkeley CA and directed by Smit, Berend has the objective to design and synthesize new forms of matter with tailored properties for gas separations in applications including carbon capture and sequestration.

The Center for Molecularly Assembled Material Architectures for Solar Energy Production, Storage, and Carbon Capture at the University of California, Los Angeles in Los Angeles CA and directed by Ozolins, Vidvuds has the objective to acquire a fundamental understanding and control of nanoscale material architectures for conversion of solar energy to electricity, electrical energy storage, and separating/capturing greenhouse gases.

The Center on Materials for Energy Efficiency Applications at the University of California, Santa Barbara in Santa Barbara CA and directed by Bowers, John has the objective to discover and develop materials that control the interactions between light, electricity, and head at the nanoscale for improved solar energy conversion, solid-state lighting, and conversion of heat into electricity.

The Center for Emerging Materials for Solar Energy Conversion and Solid State Lighting at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles CA and directed by Dapkus, Paul Daniel has the objective to simultaneously explore the light absorbing and emitting properties of hybrid inorganic-organic materials for solar energy conversion and solidstate lighting.

The Center for Inverse Design at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden CO and directed by Zunger, Alex has the objective to replace trial-and-error methods used in the development of materials for solar energy conversion with an inverse design approach powered by theory and computation.

The Center for Energy Frontier Research in Extreme Environments (Efree) at the Carnegie Institute of Washington in Washington DC and directed by Mao, Ho-Kwang has the objective to accelerate the discovery of energy-relevant materials that can tolerate transient extremes in pressure and temperature.

The Center for Rational Design of Innovative Catalytic Technologies for Biomass Derivative Utilization at the University of Delaware, Newark DE and directed by Vlachos, Dionisios has the objective to design and characterize novel catalysts for the efficient conversion of the complex molecules comprising biomass into chemicals and fuels.

The Center for Materials Science of Nuclear Fuel at the Idaho National Laboratory in Idaho Falls ID and directed by Wolf, Dieter has the objective to develop predictive computational models, validated by experiments, for the thermal and mechanical behavior of analogues to nuclear fuel.

The Institute for Atom-Efficient Chemical Transformations (IACT) at the Argonne National Laboratory in Argonne IL and directed by Marshall, Christopher has the objective to discover, understand, and control efficient chemical pathways for the conversion of coal and biomass into chemicals and fuels.

The Center for Electrical Energy Storage: Tailored Interfaces at the Argonne National Laboratory in Argonne IL and directed by Thackeray, Michael has the objective to understand complex phenomena in electrochemical reactions critical to advanced electrical energy storage.

The Argonne-Northwestern Solar Energy Research (ANSER) Center at the Northwestern University in Evanston IL and directed by Wasielewski, Michael has the objective to revolutionize the design, synthesis, and control of molecules, materials, and processes in order to dramatically improve conversion of sunlight into electricity and fuels.

The Center for Integrated Training in Far-From-Equilibrium and Adaptive Materials (CITFAM) at the Northwestern University in Evanston IL and directed by Grzybowski, Bartosz has the objective to synthesize, characterize, and understand new classes of materials under conditions far from equilibrium relevant to solar energy conversion, storage of electricity and hydrogen, and catalysis.

The Center for Direct Catalytic Conversion of Biomass to Biofuels (C3Bio) at the Purdue University in West Lafayette IN and directed by McCann, Maureen has the objective to use fundamental knowledge about the interactions between catalysts and plant cell walls to design improved processes for the conversion of biomass to energy, fuels, or chemicals.

The center for Materials Science of Actinides at the University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame IN and directed by Burns, Peter C. has the objective to understand and control, at the nanoscale, materials that contain actinides (radioactive heavy elements such as uranium and plutonium) to lay the scientific foundation for advanced nuclear energy systems.

The center for Computational Catalysis and Atomic-Level Synthesis of Materials: Building Effective Catalysts from First Principles at the Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge LA and directed by Spivey, James has the objective to develop computational tools to accurately model catalytic reactions and thereby provide the basis for the design of new catalysts.

The Solid-State Solar-thermal Energy Conversion Center (S3TEC CENTER) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge MA and directed by Chen, Gang has the objective to create novel, solid-state materials for the conversion of sunlight and heat into electricity.

The Center for Excitonics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge MA and directed by Baldo, Marc has the objective to understand the transport of charge carriers in synthetic disordered systems, which hold promise as new materials for conversion of solar energy to electricity and electrical energy storage.

The center for Polymer-Based Materials for Harvesting Solar Energy at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst MA and directed by Russell, Thomas has the objective to use novel, self-assembled polymer materials in systems for the conversion of sunlight into electricity.

The center for Science of Precision Multifunctional Nanostructures for Electrical Energy Storage at the University of Maryland in College Park MD and directed by Rubloff, Gary has the objective to understand and build nano-structured electrode components as the foundation for new electrical energy storage technologies.

The center for Revolutionary Materials for Solid State Energy Conversion at the Michigan State University in East Lansing MI and directed by Morelli, Donald has the objective to investigate the underlying physical and chemical principles of advanced materials for the conversion of heat into electricity.

The Center for Solar Energy Conversion in Complex Materials (SECCM) at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor MI and directed by Green, Peter has the objective to study complex material structures on the nanoscale to identify key features for their potential use as materials to convert solar energy and heat to electricity.

The Center for Advanced Biofuels Systems at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis MO and directed by Sayre, Richard has the objective to generate the fundamental knowledge required to increase the efficiency of photosynthesis and production of energy-rich molecules in plants.

The Photosynthetic Antenna Research Center at the Washington University, St. Louis in St. Louis MO and directed by Blankenship, Robert has the objective to understand the basic scientific principles that underlie the efficient functioning of the natural photosynthetic antenna system as a basis for manmade systems to convert sunlight into fuels.

The Center for Solar Fuels and Next Generation Photovoltaics at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill NC and directed by Meyer, Thomas has the objective to synthesize new molecular catalysts and light absorbers and integrate them into nanoscale architectures for improved generation of fuels and electricity from sunlight.

The Energy Frontier Research Center for Combustion Science at the Princeton University in Princeton NJ and directed by Law, Chung K. has the objective to develop a suite of predictive combustion modeling capabilities for the chemical design and utilization of non-petroleum based fuels in transportation.

The Center for Advanced Solar Photophysics at at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los Alamos NM and directed by Klimov, Victor has the objective to capitalize on recent advances in the science of how nanoparticles interact with light to design materials that have vastly greater efficiencies for the conversion of sunlight into electricity.

The Center for Extreme Environment-Tolerant Materials via Atomic Scale Design of Interfaces at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los Alamos NM and directed by Nastasi, Michael has the objective to understand, at the atomic scale, the behavior of materials subject to extreme radiation doses and mechanical stress in order to synthesize new materials that maintain their desired properties under such conditions.

The EFRC for Solid State Lighting Science at the Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque NM and directed by Simmons, Jerry has the objective to study energy conversion in tailored nanostructures as a basis for dramatically improved solid-state lighting.

The Center for Emergent Superconductivity at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton NY and directed by Davis, J.C. Seamus has the objective by understanding the fundamental physics of superconductivity, to discover new high-temperature superconductors and improve the performance of known superconductors.

The Center for Re-Defining Photovoltaic Efficiency Through Molecule-Scale Control at Columbia University in New York NY and directed by Yardley, James has the objective to develop the enabling science needed to realize breakthroughs in the efficient conversion of sunlight into electricity in nanometer sized thin films.

The Center for Nanostructured Interfaces for Energy Generation, Conversion, and Storage at Cornell University in Ithaca NY and directed by Abruna, Hector has the objective to understand and control the nature, structure, and dynamics of reactions at electrodes in fuel cells, batteries, solar photovolataics, and catalysts.

The Center for Electrocatalysis, Transport Phenomena and Materials for Innovative Energy Storage at the General Electric Global Research in Niskayuna NY and directed by Soloveichik, Grigorii has the objective to explore the fundamental chemistry needed for an entirely new approach to energy storage that combines the best properties of a fuel cell and a flow battery.

The Northeastern Chemical Energy Storage Center (NOCESC) at the State University of New York, Stony Brook in Stony Brook NY and directed by Grey, Clare P. has the objective to understand how fundamental chemical reactions occur at electrodes and use that knowledge to tailor new electrodes to improve the performance of existing batteries or to design entirely new ones.

The Center for Lignocellulose Structure and Formation at the Pennsylvania State University in University Park PA and directed by Cosgrove, Daniel has the objective to dramatically increase our fundamental knowledge of the physical structure of bio-polymers in plant cell walls to provide a basis for improved methods for converting biomass into fuels.

The Center for Science Based Nano-Structure Design and Synthesis of Heterogeneous Functional Materials for Energy Systems at the University of South Carolina in Columbia SC and directed by Reifsnider, Kenneth has the objective to build a scientific basis for bridging the gap between making nano-structured materials and understanding how they function in a variety of energy applications.

The Energy Frontier Center for Defect Physics in Structural Materials (CDP) at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge TN and directed by Stocks, G. Malcolm has the objective to enhance our fundamental understanding of defects, defect interactions, and defect dynamics that determine the performance of structural alloys in extreme radiation environments.

The Fluid Interface Reactions, Structures and Transport (FIRST) Center at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge TN and directed by Wesolowski, David has the objective to provide basic scientific understanding of phenomena that occur at interfaces in electrical energy storage, conversion of sunlight into fuels, geological sequestration of carbon dioxide, and other advanced energy systems.

The Center for Frontiers of Subsurface Energy Security at the University of Texas, Austin in Austin TX and directed by Pope, Gary A. has the objective to harness recent theoretical and experimental advances to explain the transport of native and injected fluids, particularly carbon dioxide, in geological systems over multiple length scales.

The Center for Understanding Charge Separation and Transfer at Interfaces in Energy Materials and Devices (CST) at the University of Texas, Austin in Austin TX and directed by Barbara, Paul has the objective to pursue fundamental research on charge transfer processes that underpin the function of highly promising molecular materials for photovoltaic and electrical energy storage applications.

The Center for Catalytic Hydrocarbon Functionalization at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville VA and directed by Gunnoe, T. Brent has the objective to develop novel catalysts and manipulate their reactivity for the efficient conversion of hydrocarbon gases into liquid fuels.

The Center for Molecular Electrocatalysis at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Richland WA and directed by Bullock, R. Morris has the objective to develop a comprehensive understanding of how chemical and electrical energy contained in fuels is exchanged, stored and released.

© 2009, Chris de Morsella. All rights reserved. Do not republish.

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Author: Chris de Morsella (146 Articles)

After a decade performing as a lead guitarist for rock bands, Chris de Morsella decided to return to the career his uncle mentored him in as a youth....Software Engineering. Since that time he has thrown himself into his work. He has designed a compound document publishing architecture for regulatory submissions capable of handling very large multi-document FDA regulatory drug approval submissions, for Liquent, a division of Thompson Publishing. At the Associated Press, Chris worked with senior editors at facilities around the world, to develop a solution for replacing existing editorial systems with an integrated international content management solution. He lead the design effort at Microsoft for a help system for mobile devices designed to provide contextual help for users. Chris also helped to develop the web assisted installer for LifeCam2.0, the software for Microsoft’s web cam and developed late breaking features for the product He also served with the Rhapsody client team to redesign and build a major new release of Real Networks Rhapsody client product. His most recent assignment has been Working with the Outlook Mobile Time Management team for the next release of Outlook Mobile for the SmartPhone. Chris' interests are in green building and architecture, smart grid, the cloud, geo-thermal energy, solar energy, smart growth, organic farming and permaculture. Follow Chris on Twitter.