CNSE Spotlight

NDSU receives federal energy funds

July 1, 2008, Fargo, N.D. –– The U.S. Department of Energy has released $5.9 million in federal funding for research at NDSU’s Center for Nanoscale Energy-Related Materials. Through the funding, faculty and staff researchers at NDSU will work to develop nanomaterials to improve energy efficiency. The research will examine new materials for the next generation of solar cells and develop new catalysts to convert plant material into products currently derived from petroleum.

“NDSU possesses technology with great potential for making third generation solar cells and photovoltaic devices a reality,” according to Philip Boudjouk, vice president for research, creative activities and technology transfer at NDSU. “The long-range goal is to provide options that will lead to cost-effective solar alternatives to fossil fuels.” NDSU has developed a new form of liquid silicon which could allow more precise control of the formation of silicon nanotubes and nanocrystals, known to be very efficient converters of solar energy to electrical energy. In addition, NDSU has patented technology that could convert seed oils to commercial feedstocks using combinatorial science and technology.

U.S. Sen. Byron Dorgan, chairman of the Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee, made the funding announcement. “This project is another example of the cutting-edge technology coming out of the Red River Valley Research Corridor,” said Dorgan.

The Forum newspaper noted the role Sen. Dorgan played in the funding and highlighted NDSU’s research expertise. “NDSU’s nanoscience research and development is recognized as among the best in the world, having been established only a few years ago and already doing work with international implications,” said the Forum in an editorial on June 30.

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