University of North Dakota Faculty/Staff Newsletter

Researchers receive grants for sustainable energy

The Sustainable Energy Research Initiative (SUNRISE) in coordination with the North Dakota EPSCoR program recently awarded six seed grants to faculty members at North Dakota’s two public research institutions---the University of North Dakota (UND) and North Dakota State University (NDSU).

The seed grants are funded through the SUNRISE-U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) infrastructure improvement program. The 15 proposals received for this competitive seed grant program were reviewed by a panel of sustainable energy experts.

The following projects at UND were awarded seed grants; the researcher’s name is followed by department affiliation, project name, the amount of the grant, and SUNRISE mentor (one award in this list was given jointly to a UND-NDSU team):

*Sean Hightower, Chemistry, “Solar energy conversion based on highly oxidizing ligand-to-metal charge transfer excited states”, $38,000. Mark Hoffmann, professor and chair, UND Chemistry.

*Yun Ji, UND Chemical Engineering and Marisol Berti, NDSU Plant Sciences, “Evaluation of kenaf as a renewable source for ‘green’ chemicals and fuels”, $31,000. Burton Johnson, associate professor, NDSU Plant Sciences.

*Gautham Krishnamoorthy, Chemical Engineering, “Modeling multiphase radiative transfer at moderate to high dispersed phase loadings”, $31,000. Steve Benson, professor, UND Chemical Engineering.

The following projects at NDSU were awarded seed grants; the researcher’s name is followed by department affiliation, project name, amount of grant, and SUNRISE mentor:

*Muhammet Kose, Chemistry & Molecular Biology, “Controlling nanoscale morphology of OPV [organic photovoltaic] devices for higher efficiencies”, $31,000. SUNRISE Mentor: Julia Xiaojun Zhao, associate professor, UND Chemistry.

*Val Marinov, Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering, “Hot carrier transparent solar cells on aerogel”, $31,000. Uwe Burghaus, associate professor, NDSU Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Molelucar Biology; and Julia Xiaojun Zhao, associate professor, UND Chemistry.

*Xiangfa Wu, Mechanical Engineering, “Hybrid CNT- [carbon nanotube-] grafted carbon nanofibers for porous electrodes of supercapacitors”, $38,000. SUNRISE Mentor: Brian Tande, assistant professor, UND Chemical Engineering.

SUNRISE is a student-centered, faculty-organized supercluster comprising 31 faculty members in 13 separate academic departments at UND, NDSU, Mayville State University, and the North Dakota State College of Science. SUNRISE research focuses on three areas: the technologies to enable the environmentally sustainable use of coal; the production of fuels, chemicals, polymers, and composites from renewable sources; and the harvesting of energy from diffuse sources (wind/solar/hydrogen). More than 170 undergraduate and graduate students have worked on SUNRISE research projects.

The DoE EPSCoR is a federal-state partnership program designed to help the Department lead the world in meeting current and future energy needs through increased competition in energy-related research and development across the entire nation. The program supports DoE's overarching mission of advancing the national, economic, and energy security of the United States by supporting research activities in EPSCoR states spanning the broad range of DoE science and technology programs.

Useful links:

Wayne Seames, professor
UND Department of Chemical Engineering
Director, ND SUNRISE

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