Precourt Institute and Tomkat Center award research grants

Sept. 29, 2011, 2:01 a.m.

Stanford’s Precourt Institue for Energy and TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy are awarding $2.2 million in research grants to faculty for eight renewable energy projects. The grants are designed as funding for early-stage work that will be potentially influential and has good prospects for future funding.

The grants are spread between the Materials Science and Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Chemical Engineering and Environmental Earth System Science departments and the Graduate School of Business (GSB).

The projects that the Precourt Institute is funding include lithium-air battery development; design of a novel micro-combined cooling, heating and power system, which uses solar energy to cool, heat and power homes and commercial developments and more efficient dye-sensitized solar cells, which involve the synthesis of dyes that act as better charge carriers.

The TomKat Center’s awards focus on research that aims to make solar installations more efficient and cost-effective. They include solar cells with upconverters, which add layers that allow the cells to absorb more sunlight; a study on how to better handle the variability of power; a new type of alkaline fuel cell that can be tied to solar installations; a new method to calculate the effects of solar installations on ecosystems and a proposal that examines the effects of and possible mitigation for the construction of solar plants on resources in the American Southwest.

— Tyler Brown

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