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Research
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
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 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

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

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

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

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

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

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
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

The project goal is to develop a low-cost technique for capturing atmospheric carbon dioxide (...

Hemamala Karunadasa, chemistry

Precourt Institute for Energy
2012

Using excess solar power to produce hydrogen from water could be a good way to store solar...

William Chueh, materials science and engineering/PIE; Nick Melosh, materials science and engineering

Precourt Institute for Energy
2012

This project explores the use of polymer gels to make high-energy, low-cost, flexible and...

Zhenan Bao, chemical engineering; Yi Cui, materials science and engineering (Stanford)/photon science (SLAC)

Precourt Institute for Energy
2012

One way to lower the cost of solar power is to dramatically reduce the thickness of light-...

Stacey Bent, chemical engineering; Mark Brongersma, materials science and engineering

Precourt Institute for Energy
2012

In a follow-up to an...

Shanhui Fan, electrical engineering

TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy
2012

This project will quantify the added costs of serving California’s electricity demand with an...

Frank Wolak, economics; Burton Richter, SLAC

TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy
2011

The tomographic inversion of the virtual-source data...

Biondo Biondi and Sjoerd de Ridder, geophysics

Global Climate and Energy Project
2011

Materials that catalyze efficient electrochemical ...

Matthew Kanan and Thomas Veltman, chemistry

Global Climate and Energy Project
2011

The availability of effective and reliable monitoring is...

Sivaram Ambikasaran, civil and environmental engineering;  Eric Darve, mechanical engineering; Peter Kitanidis, civil and environmental engineering; Judith Yue Li, civil and environmental engineering

 

Global Climate and Energy Project
2011

Global climate imperatives require a worldwide shift away from...

James Harris, electrical engineering; Nicholas Melosh, materials science and engineering

Global Climate and Energy Project
2011

The objective of this project is to develop affordable, regenerable carbon-based...

Zhenan Bao, chemical engineering; Daniel Stack, chemistry; Jennifer Wilcox, energy resource engineerin

Global Climate and Energy Project
2011

This project is developing multi-walled carbon nanotubes riddled with defects and...

Hongjie Dai, chemistry

Precourt Institute for Energy
2011

This project is developing a novel, highly efficient and economical energy system combining...

 

Lambertus Hesselink, Electrical Engineering

Precourt Institute for Energy
2011

Dye-sensitized solar cells use a special dye sandwiched between two semiconductors to convert...

Daniel Stack, chemistry; Michael McGehee, materials science and engineering

Precourt Institute for Energy
2011

One of the largest benefits of renewable energy generation is reduced degradation of natural...

Michael Lepech and David Freyberg, civil and environment engineering; John Weyant, management science and engineering; Stefan Reichelstein, Graduate School of Business

Funded by the TomKat Center with support from PIE

Precourt Institute for Energy
2011

Some of the world’s highest agricultural yields come from irrigated systems in deserts, which...

Chris Field, Noah Diffenbaugh and David Lobell, environmental Earth system science

Funded by the TomKat Center with support from PIE 

Precourt Institute for Energy
2011

One way to deal with the intermittent nature of solar power is by storing some of it for use...

Thomas Jaramillo and Curtis Frank, chemical engineering

TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy
2011

This study aims to better manage the inherent variability of solar power. Unexpected cloud cover...

Ram Rajagopal, civil and environmental engineering

TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy
2011

The conversion efficiency of such devices can be enhanced by adding upconverters,...

Jennifer Dionne and Michael McGehee, materials science and engineering

TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy
2011

Some of the world’s highest agricultural yields come from irrigated systems in deserts, which...

Chris Field, Noah Diffenbaugh and David Lobell, environmental Earth system science

Funded by the TomKat Center with support from PIE 

TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy
2011

One of the largest benefits of renewable energy generation is reduced degradation of natural...

Michael Lepech and David Freyberg, civil and environment engineering; John Weyant, management science and engineering; Stefan Reichelstein, Graduate School of Business

Funded by the TomKat Center with support from PIE

TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy
2010

This research investigates ion-beam assisted deposition (IBAD) of textured...

Bruce Clemens and Alberto Salleo, materials science and engineering

Global Climate and Energy Project
2010

The constant brightness theorem, says that the optical power flow per unit of area and solid...

Reinhold H. Dauskardt, materials science and engineering; Olav Solgaard and Nina Vaidya, electrical engineering

Global Climate and Energy Project
2010

Our long term objective is to develop efficient and cost-effective...

Cem Albayrak, chemical engineering; Sylvie Long, bioengineering; Phil Smith, chemical engineering; James R. Swartz, chemical engineering and bioengineering

Global Climate and Energy Project
2010

Photovoltaics, which utilizes the largest possible energy source to generate...

Yi Cui, materials science and engineering; Shanhui Fan, electrical engineering

Global Climate and Energy Project
2010

The aim of this project is to understand how we can motivate individuals to achieve sustainable...

Matthew Harding, economics

Precourt Energy Efficiency Center
2010

We propose to develop a building energy model using the current best practices in computational...

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

Precourt Energy Efficiency Center
2010

See...

Martin Fisher, civil and environmental engineering; Tobias Maile, civil and environmental engineering

Precourt Energy Efficiency Center

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