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Images of particles made from a promising battery cathode material called NMC

Seed Grants and Exploratory Energy Research

Faculty seed grants are awarded for research proposals with a strong potential for high impact on energy supply and use. These “proof of concept” awards bridge theory to early experiments and analysis. Seed grants are awarded each year by the Precourt Institute for Energy (PIE), the Precourt Energy Efficiency Center (PEEC), the TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy and the Natural Gas Initiative. The Global Climate and Energy Project (GCEP) also provides funding for exploratory research. The Bay Area Photovoltaic Consortium (BAPVC) awards grants for research that will reduce the cost of utility-scale solar modules.

Year Topic Principal Investigators Organization
2017

Dry reforming methane with CO2 would directly transform two greenhouse gases into...

PI: Xiaolin Zheng, Mechanical Engineering; Co-PI: Dimosthenis Sokaras, SLAC  

Precourt Institute for Energy
2017

Long-term investors, such as pensions and endowments, are massive pools of capital that could...

PI: Raymond Levitt, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Precourt Institute for Energy
2017

This team comprises faculty from SLAC, the School of Medicine, the School of Engineering and the...

PI: Soichi Wakatsuki, Structural Biology, Stanford, and Photon Sciences, SLAC; Co-PIs: Christopher Francis, Earth System Science, and Polly Fordyce, Genetics and Bioengineering; Collaborators: Hasan DeMirci, SLAC, and Marc Deller, ChEM-H Macromolecular Structure Knowledge Center

Precourt Institute for Energy
2017

In an electricity system dependent on resources that cannot be fully controlled—wind and solar...

PI: Adam R. Brandt, Energy Resources Engineering: Co-PIs: John Weyant, Management Science and Engineering, and Lou Durlofsky, Energy Resources Engineering

Precourt Institute for Energy
2017

Olefins are a very important kind of hydrocarbon, needed to make many compounds, like plastics....

PI: Matteo Cargnello, Chemical Engineering

Precourt Institute for Energy
2017

People will increasingly depend on high-energy battery packs, from electric cars to storing...

PI: Fu-Kuo Chang, Aeronautics and Astronautics

Precourt Institute for Energy
2017

One way to store energy from intermittent solar and wind power is to use the electricity to...

PI: Robert M. Waymouth, Chemistry; Co-PI: Britt Hedman, Photon Science, Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource

Precourt Institute for Energy
2017

The identification of materials that can efficiently harvest sunlight and store solar energy in...

Matteo Cargnello and Curtis Frank, Chemical Engineering

TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy
2017

Efficient natural ventilation strategies could reduce 10 to 30 percent of a building’s overall...

Catherine Gorle, Civil and Electrical Engineering; Sanjay Lall, Electrical Engineering and of Aeronautics and Astronautics

TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy
2017

Hydrogen and carbon monoxide are fundamental building blocks in many fuel synthesis reactions....

Arun Majumdar, Mechanical Engineering; William Chueh, Materials Science & Engineering

TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy
2016

The goal is to facilitate the engineering of cost-effective, polymer-based thermoelectric...

 PI: Jian Qin, Chemical Engineering; Co-PI: Zhenan Bao, Chemical Engineering

Precourt Institute for Energy
2016

This project aims to minimize cost and power losses in transformers for grid-scale solar...

William Dally, Electrical Engineering/Computer Science

Precourt Institute for Energy
2016

Researchers will develop an open-source analytics platform for benchmarking buildings – the...

PI: Rishee Jain, Civil and Environmental Engineering; Co-Investigators: Dian Grueneich, Precourt Energy Efficiency Center, and Mark Hartney, SLAC

Precourt Institute for Energy
2016

The team will use a novel computational algorithm to simulate the chemical processes involved in...

PI: Ali Mani, Mechanical Engineering; Co-PI: Mark Cappelli, Mechanical Engineering

Precourt Institute for Energy
2016

This project will examine key policy and technology changes that will make the process of...

PI: M. Elizabeth Magill, Stanford Law School; Co-Investigators: Dan Reicher, Law School, and Jeffrey Brown, Graduate School of Business/Law School

Precourt Institute for Energy
2016

Working with a local landowner, researchers will install a small array of vertical-axis wind...

PI: John Dabiri, Civil and Environmental Engineering/Mechanical Engineering; Co-Investigators: Dan Arvizu and Stuart Macmillan, Precourt Institute

Precourt Institute for Energy
2016

Researchers will demonstrate a new concept in solar-cell architecture to help solve the problem...

PI: Reinhold Dauskardt, Materials Science and Engineering; Co-PI: Peter Yunzhi Yang, Orthopedic Surgery

 
Precourt Institute for Energy
2016

The engineers will revamp the management system for lithium-ion batteries to substantially...

William Chueh, Materials Science and Engineering

Precourt Institute for Energy
2016

The objective is to develop a commercially viable smart window that increases the energy...

Michael McGehee, Materials Science and Engineering

Precourt Institute for Energy
2016

Researchers will demonstrate recently developed computational tools designed to enable the...

PIs: John Dabiri, Civil and Environmental Engineering/Mechanical Engineering, and Sanjiva Lele, Aeronautics and Astronautics/Mechanical Engineering

TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy
2016

The researchers aim to equip building occupants with wireless air sensors that provide real-time...

PIs: Lynn Hildemann and Ram Rajagopal, Civil and Environmental Engineering

TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy
2016

Researchers will design a high power-density, bidirectional AC-DC converter cell that can be...

Juan Rivas-Davila, Electrical Engineering

TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy
2016

The research team will use machine-learning techniques to screen more than 10,000 promising...

Evan Reed, Materials Science and Engineering

TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy
2016

This project seeks to reduce the cost of manufacturing high-efficiency LEDs for industry and...

PIs: Bruce Clemens, Materials Science and Engineering, and James Harris, Electrical Engineering

TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy
2016

The goal of this collaboration is to develop a low-cost artificial membrane for purifying water...

PI: Andrew Spakowitz, Chemical Engineering; Co-PIs: Michael Toney, SLAC, and Curtis Frank and Elizabeth Sattely, Chemical Engineering

TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy
2015

The project goal is development of a laser-based instrument for field monitoring of methane,...

Ronald Hanson, Mechanical Engineering; Robert Jackson, Earth System Science

Natural Gas Initiative
2015

This research is focused on developing compact, efficient laser sensors that could be widely...

Leo Hollberg, Physics

Natural Gas Initiative
2015

The research is focused on engineering new materials. Composed of microporous...

Matteo Cargnello, Chemical Engineering

Natural Gas Initiative
2015

This research will design new catalysts for the direct conversion of methane to methanol. The...

Xiaolin Zheng, Mechanical Engineering; Jens Nørskov, Chemical Engineering

Natural Gas Initiative
2015

The project will extend an energy-environment-economy model of the U.S. to enable it to capture...

Lawrence Goulder, Economics; John Weyant, Management Science & Engineering 

Natural Gas Initiative
2015

The goal is to gain a better understanding of the factors involved in successful consumer...

Frank Wolak, Economics, Program on Energy and Sustainable Development (PESD); Co-Investigators: Mark Thurber and Ognen Stojanovski, PESD

Precourt Institute for Energy
2015

The goal is to understand the light-emissions characteristics of hybrid perovskites...

Aaron Lindenberg, Materials Science and Engineering, SLAC Photon Science; Hemamala Karunadasa, Chemistry

Precourt Institute for Energy
2015

The long-term objective is to engineer a photosynthetic bacterium that efficiently produces...

James Swartz , Chemical Engineering, Bioengineering; Marc Deller, ChEM-H, SLAC

Precourt Institute for Energy
2015

The team will synthesize and characterize promising carbon-based materials for capture of carbon...

Zhenan Bao, Chemical Engineering, and Jennifer Wilcox, Energy Resources Engineering: Dennis Nordlund and Dimosthenis Sokaras, Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource at SLAC

Precourt Institute for Energy
2015

The goal of this project is to develop a new strategy for modifying plants to produce cellulose...

Lynette Cegelski, Chemistry

Precourt Institute for Energy
2015

The researchers propose a critical analysis of nuclear waste-management policy in the United...

Rodney Ewing, Geological Sciences, Center for International Security and Cooperation

Precourt Institute for Energy
2015

The goal is to develop new theoretical models of energy-efficient data processing that reduce...

Hideo Mabuchi, Applied Physics

Precourt Institute for Energy
2015

Seed money will be used to launch a two-year research project on the water-energy-climate nexus...

Bruce Cain, Political Science, and Robert Jackson, Earth System Science; Co-Investigator: Newsha Ajami, Program on Water in the West

Precourt Institute for Energy
2015

The goal of the project is to develop an inexpensive battery to store surplus energy on the...

William Chueh, Materials Science and Engineering

TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy
2015

The researchers will focus on designing efficient demand-response programs that encourage...

Ramesh Johari, Management Science and Engineering

TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy
2015

The goal is to create a device made with graphene that converts waste heat into...

David Goldhaber-Gordon, Physics; Nick Melosh, Materials Science and Engineering

TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy
2015

The research goal is to develop a compact solar-powered water purification system that can be...

Christopher Chidsey, Chemistry; Juan Santiago, Mechanical Engineering

TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy
2014

Combined cooling, heating and power (CCHP) systems theoretically use 90 percent of...

Martin Fischer, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Precourt Energy Efficiency Center
2014

This project will first assess the feasibility of miniature thermoacoustic engines...

Lambertus Hesselink, Electrical Engineering; and Carlo Scalo, Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University

Precourt Energy Efficiency Center
2014

Solar cells made of gallium arsenide hold the record for photovoltaic efficiency...

Bruce Clemens, Materials Science and Engineering

Precourt Institute for Energy
2014

Phonons, quantized collective vibrations of atoms in solids, are the main carriers of heat in...

David Reis, Applied Physics and Photon Science (SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory); Arun Majumdar, Mechanical Engineering

Precourt Institute for Energy
2014

Power electronics involves the transformation and control of electrical energy.  The research...

Juan Rivas-Davila, Electrical Engineering

Precourt Institute for Energy
2014

Thermoelectricity, the direct conversion of heat into electrical power, can be used to reclaim...

Zhenan Bao, Chemical Engineering; Kenneth Goodson, Mechanical Engineering

TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy
2014

Wastewater is typically treated with oxygen-consuming (aerobic) bacteria, an energy-intensive...

William Mitch and Craig Criddle, Civil and Environmental Engineering

TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy
2014

Polygeneration energy systems use multiple feedstocks (such as coal,...

Stefan Reichelstein, Graduate School of Business; Adam Brandt, Energy Resources Engineering

TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy

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