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

Seed Research Projects

The Precourt Institute for Energy, Bits & Watts and the TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy award seed grants each year to Stanford faculty for research proposals with a strong potential for high impact on energy supply and use.  (Information about requests for proposals for 2020 is here.) These proof-of-concept awards bridge theory to early experiment and analysis. Research teams with faculty from multiple academic departments are strongly encouraged. In past years, the Global Climate & Energy Project and the Precourt Energy Efficiency Center have also funded seed research projects. Below is a searchable, filterable catalog of funded seed research projects.

Year Topic Principal Investigators Organization
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
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
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 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 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 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
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
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
2013 The environmental and economic value of hybrid vehicles is maximized by using the least amount of...

John D. Fox, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory/Applied Physics; William Dally, computer science; Jonathan Levav, Graduate School of Business

Precourt Energy Efficiency Center
2013

Designing buildings that rely on natural ventilation for temperature control is a relatively new...

Gianluca Iaccarino, mechanical engineering; Martin Fischer, civil and environmental engineering

Precourt Energy Efficiency Center
2013

This project seeks to aid decision making in energy-efficiency initiatives from government...

Roy Pea, Education; Michael Bernstein, computer science; Martha Russell, H-STAR (Human-Sciences and Technologies Advanced Research Institute)

Precourt Energy Efficiency Center
2013

Most electric utilities have multiple programs offering customers financial incentives for using...

Ram Rajagopal, civil and environmental engineering; June A. Flora, H-STAR

Precourt Energy Efficiency Center
2013

The electricity system of the future is expected to include many local energy devices that can...

Ramesh Johari, management science and engineering; Ram Rajagopal, civil and environmental engineering

Precourt Energy Efficiency Center
2013

The investigators plan to use a new material system they have recently developed to reduce...

David Goldhaber-Gordon, physics; Fritz Prinz, mechanical engineering and materials science and engineering

Precourt Institute for Energy
2013

Certain types of fuel cells can convert natural gas into electricity and back again with very...

Robert Sinclair, materials science and engineering; William Chueh, materials science and engineering and the Precourt Institute.

Precourt Institute for Energy
2013

An Internet-based game in which business students try to maximize profits from power plants is...

Mark C. Thurber, Program on Energy and Sustainable Development; Frank A. Wolak, Economics

Precourt Institute for Energy
2013

Power output by large wind farms is typically 25 percent less than what it should be due to rear...

Sanjiva K. Lele, aeronautics and astronautics, and mechanical engineering; John Weyant, management science and engineering

Funded by the TomKat Center with support from PIE

Precourt Institute for Energy
2013

In theory, excess power created by intermittent renewable power can be used to remove CO2 from...

Mark Cappelli, mechanical engineering; Reginald Mitchell, mechanical engineering; Tsuyohito Ito, Graduate School of Engineering, Osaka University, Japan.

TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy
2013 Power output by large wind farms is typically 25 percent less than what it should be due to rear...

Sanjiva K. Lele, aeronautics and astronautics, and mechanical engineering; John Weyant, management science and engineering

Funded by the TomKat Center with support from PIE

TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy
2013 This project will seek to increase efficiency and decrease manufacturing costs of solar...

Krishna Saraswat, electrical engineering

TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy
2012

The demand for batteries is rapidly increasing as more mobile electronic devices, ranging from...

Hongjie Dai, chemistry

Global Climate and Energy Project
2012

Achieving efficient engine operation is one of the clearest, most-economical paths to mitigation...

Chris Edwards, mechanical engineering

Global Climate and Energy Project
2012

Using the sun to split water into hydrogen and oxygen has the potential to greatly reduce the...

Harold Hwang, applied physics

Global Climate and Energy Project
2012

Achieving efficient engine operation is one of the clearest, most-economical paths to mitigation...

Chris Edwards, mechanical engineering

Global Climate and Energy Project
2012

Electric vehicles (EVs) offer superior energy efficiency while offering an enormous...

Shanhui Fan, electrical engineering

Global Climate and Energy Project
2012

The solar water-splitting reaction to hydrogen and oxygen has potential to greatly reduce the...

Harold Hwang, applied physics/photon science

Global Climate and Energy Project
2012

Will drivers buy more environmentally friendly vehicles in response to information about present...

Jonathan Levav, Graduate School of Business

Precourt Energy Efficiency Center
2012

This study examines whether some groups of consumers alter their decision-making process when...

Brian Knutson, psychology

Precourt Energy Efficiency Center
2012

New regulations effectively ban incandescent light bulbs in much of the world. Does the new...

Mar Reguant and Lanier Benkard, Graduate School of Business

Precourt Energy Efficiency Center
2012

We propose to construct an automated demand response mechanism for a fleet of plug-in electric...

Nicole Taheri, ICME; Yinyu Ye, management science and engineering

Precourt Energy Efficiency Center

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