By Ariel Liu
The Global Climate and Energy Project (GCEP) has awarded a total $7.6 million to six research teams from Stanford and three other universities for solutions that address global energy deficiency in a sustainable manner, according to the Stanford News Report.
GCEP’s mission, according to its website, is to “conduct fundamental research on technologies that will permit the development of global energy systems with significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions.” The selected Stanford faculty members will receive funding to develop more efficient casing materials for vehicles, solar devices for electricity generation and more sustainable methods to produce biofuels.
“These new awards reflect the importance of a global approach to energy research,” said GCEP management committee member Peter Trelenberg, manager of environmental policy and planning at ExxonMobil. “To be truly transformative, new energy technologies must be made available to people in industrial and developing countries alike.”
Lightweight polymeric glazing and molding for vehicles
Investigator Reinhold Dauskardt, professor of materials science and engineering, leads researchers using a new glazing technique to create lightweight windows and metal frames for automobiles. The new polymer materials will increase aerodynamic efficiency and decrease vehicle weight.
Shanhui Fan and James S. Harris, professors of electrical engineering, and Mark Brongersma, professor of materials science and engineering, head a team to develop more efficient emitters and narrow band-gap photovoltaic cells. They aim to create solar technologies that produce clean energy by recycling waste heat into usable infrared light.
Electrocatalysts for the production of fuels
Investigators Alfred Spormann, professor of chemical engineering and civil and environmental engineering, and Thomas Jaramillo, professor of chemical engineering, are overseeing a project to use an electrochemical-biological system to improve the microbial production of biofuels by feeding microorganisms a supply of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and hydrogen.
Multi-carbon products from carbonate-catalyzed CO2
Investigators Matthew Kanan and Todd Martinez, professors of chemistry, forgo conventional solvents and catalysts to test whether carbon dioxide and water can be chemically converted into renewable fuels using naturally-abundant carbonate salts.
“The four Stanford projects funded this cycle could have a significant impact on the future development of solar energy, clean fuels and the automotive industry,” said GCEP Director Sally Benson, a professor of energy resources engineering.
When GCEP issued an international request for proposals on advanced energy technologies for developing countries in 2013, it received 18 full submissions from around the globe. Two other teams will receive funding alongside the four teams from Stanford.
Since its inception in 2002, GCEP has provided more than $177 million for energy research and activities.
Contact Ariel Liu at aliu15 ‘at’ stanford.edu.