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Frontiers in Energy Research: Autumn 2015
  • Sameer Patwardhan

    Solar energy has been recognized as the most prominent source for future needs. About half of the centers are focused on understanding and exploiting fundamental science to improve solar energy technologies. Learn about their latest achievements...

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Feature Articles
  • Kirsten Chojnicki & Ryan Patet

    At the Center for Direct Catalytic Conversion of Biomass to Biofuels, researchers are making the most of plant biomass for biofuels. Learn about how they are getting more sugars and valuable chemicals from plants....

  • The movie demonstrates how the aluminum precursor is deposited on the NU-1000 MOF node with AIM and then the iridium precursor is attached

    Laura E. Fernandez & Emily Sahadeo

    Just like many people need coffee to start the day, some reactions need help getting started. Catalysts are like coffee for these reactions. Learn how scientists are using zeolites and other materials to perk up biofuel production...

  • Timothy Espiritu (left) training Greyson Voigt (right) on proper use of the transfer stage for research in Spins and Heat in Nanoscale Electronic Systems (SHINES).

    Jennifer L. Esbenshade

    While school was out for summer, many undergraduate students spent time at Energy Frontier Research Centers around the country. They did it to gain hands-on skills and determine if their career path will lead them into science. Read about their experiences...

Research Highlights
  • S. Garrett Williams

    The challenge facing scientists is to develop a process that can produce nitrogen for fertilizers using less energy. Scientists found that...

  • Michelle A. Harris

    Fuel cells can use hydrogen created at wind stations to produce electricity. But, the cells use platinum. Researchers found an option that uses two nitrogen...

  • Timothy Plett

    All batteries lose energy because of internal resistance, which is why batteries get hot after long use. To make more efficient batteries, scientists are lowering internal resistance...

  • This is a schematic of the crystal structure of the perovskite structured methyl-ammonium lead halide materials

    Lauren Garten

    While databases on materials exist, scientists were unsure as to the most important material feature. Using the experimental data from perovskites, which have quickly become an effective choice for solar cells, scientists prioritized the features needed...

  • (Top) Model of the photosynthetic apparatus used in green sulfur bacteria. The main elements are the chlorosome (composed of bacteriochlorophyll molecules), the baseplate, the Fenna-Matthews-Olson (FMO) complex, and the reaction center. Adapted with permission from Valleau et al. Copyright 2014 American Chemical Society. (Bottom) Schematic illustration of the chlorosome used in the simulations. The chlorosome features four complete inner rolls and eight thin plates stacked on each side. Adapted with permission from Sawaya et al. Copyright 2015 American Chemical Society.

    Zachary A. Morseth

    Living underwater, green sulfur bacteria don't get "full sun." They thrive with light levels comparable to that of moonlight. What if solar cells could create power at these levels? Researchers examined the bacteria and found...

Editor's Note

When we moved into our new home, every conversation started with the word "Where." Where is the coffee maker? Where should we put the couch? Where is the fusebox? For scientists, the word that focuses their research is often "How." How do bacteria turn dim light into fuel? How can we mimic that reaction to create solar fuels on cloudy days or even moonlit nights? How can we design catalysts to wring more energy from plant matter? How can we change batteries to avoid issues with overheating?

At the Energy Frontier Research Centers, teams of scientists are working together to answer many such "how" questions. These teams include experts in their respective fields and others who have less experience, but no less drive and desire to learn.

Together, they are getting answers and pushing back the frontiers of energy research. Learn how in this latest issue...

Editorial Board and Writers

Editorial Board

Kirsten Chojnicki, Center for Frontiers of Subsurface Energy Security
Jennifer Esbenshade, Center for Electrochemical Energy Science
Laura E. Fernandez, Inorganometallic Catalyst Design Center
Lauren Garten, Center for Next Generation of Materials by Design: Incorporating Metastability
Nare Janvelyan, Integrated Mesoscale Architectures for Sustainable Catalysis
Ke Jin, Energy Dissipation to Defect Evolution
Zachary Morseth, Center for Solar Fuels
Ryan Patet, Catalysis Center for Energy Innovation
Sameer Patwardhan, Argonne-Northwestern University Solar Energy Research Center
Tim Plett, Nanostructures for Electrical Energy Storage Energy Frontier Research Center
Garrett Williams, Center for Biological Electron Transfer and Catalysis

Kristin Manke, Center for Molecular Electrocatalysis, Editor-in-Chief

Guest Writers

Michelle Harris, Argonne-Northwestern University Solar Energy Research Center
Emily Sahadeo, Nanostructures for Electrical Energy Storage Energy Frontier Research Center

Disclaimer: The opinions in this newsletter are those of the individual authors and do not represent the views or position of the Department of Energy.