UMERC/Nanocenter Team Named "Energy Frontier" Center

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded the University of Maryland an Energy Frontier Research Center (EFRC) as part of a major new program. The Center will be funded by a $14 million grant.

EFRCs are a means to enlist the talents and skills of the very best American scientists and engineers to address current fundamental scientific roadblocks to U.S. energy security. The centers will address these “grand challenges” in a broad range of research areas defined by the DOE Office of Science.

Led by A. James Clark School of Engineering Professor Gary Rubloff (joint, Department of Materials Science and Engineering and Institute for Systems Research) as director and Associate Professor Sang Bok Lee (Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry) as associate director, the University of Maryland EFRC enlists faculty from three colleges—the Clark School, Chemical & Life Sciences, and Computer, Math & Physical Sciences—who are also part of the University of Maryland Energy Research Center and the Maryland NanoCenter.

The EFRC also includes planned collaborations with scientists from the University of Florida, Yale University, the University of California–Irvine, Sandia National Laboratories, and Los Alamos National Laboratory, including the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies.

The Center will address a central goal of using nanotechnology to create new electrical storage technologies that store and deliver more power, charge faster, and will enable us to manufacture smaller, lighter batteries. The scientific objective of the project, titled “Science of Precision Multifunctional Nanostructures for Electrical Energy Storage,” is to understand how nanostructures formed from multiple materials behave and explore their potential for a new generation of electrical energy storage technology.

In a recent statement issued by the DOE, Rubloff explained the Maryland EFRC’s research path:

"Nano-structured electrodes offer vastly greater surface area and smaller path lengths for motion of electrons and ions, increasing the rate at which charges can be moved and stored, leading to much increased power and energy density and faster charging. By using materials in precisely built nanostructures, energy storage devices will hold more energy, will charge or deliver electricity faster, and remain stable for longer lifetimes, while reducing space and weight."

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Published May 13, 2009