July 25, 2013

UConn to supercharge energy research efforts

The University of Connecticut will seek to advance affordable and sustainable energy technologies with the help of a new energy research institute with Fraunhofer USA announced today by state and international officials.

The Fraunhofer Center for Energy Innovation (CEI) will research energy production, storage, and distribution, according to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's office, which announced the development in conjunction with German Consul General to the U.S. Rolf Schütte, Fraunhofer USA President Georg Rosenfeld, UConn President Susan Herbst and Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Daniel C. Esty.

CEI will be established at UConn's Depot Campus with plans to relocate to the school's technology park in 2015.

The center will be led by Prabhakar Singh and will work with industry and academics to develop efficient and cost-effective energy conversion and storage systems. The CEI will focus particularly on metals, ceramics, micro-and nanostructures, as components for fuel cells and electrolyzers.

"With the resources, talent, and expertise of UConn and Fraunhofer, we expect to see technological breakthroughs that will help deliver a cheaper, cleaner, and more reliable energy future for Connecticut, the nation, and the world," Malloy said in a statement.

Fraunhofer is a domestic subsidiary of the largest application-oriented research organization in Europe, Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, which has 66 institutes and research units and an annual research budget of approximately $2.5 billion.

CEI builds on UConn's existing energy research efforts. The school opened the Connecticut Global Fuel Cell Center, now the Center for Clean Energy Engineering, in 2001. UConn also established a public-private partnership in 2006 called the Eminent Faculty Initiative in Sustainable Energy, which is sustained by more than $2 million in state funds each year.

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