Stanford, California—August 11, 2005—Franklin M. Orr Jr., director of the Stanford University Global Climate and Energy Project (GCEP), announced that five new research grants totaling more than $11 million have been awarded to Stanford faculty and collaborating researchers at other institutions in the United States and overseas. The new programs will focus on solar energy, advanced combustion, and carbon capture. Investigators will use the funding to conduct fundamental research in energy technologies aimed at significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions on a global scale.
"The granting of these awards broadens the scope of GCEP research and provides us with additional research in renewable energy technologies," said Orr, the Keleen and Carlton Beal Professor of Petroleum Engineering at Stanford. "It also expands the global nature of GCEP to include institutions in Australia and Japan in addition to the institutions working with us from the U.S. and Europe."
Funded over a three-year period beginning in fall 2005, the grants will bring the total number of research efforts supported by GCEP to 28, with total funding of approximately $37.5 million.
Stanford faculty will lead three of the new studies, and investigators at the University of New South Wales in Australia and the Research Institute of Innovative Technology for the Earth in Japan will lead two. Discussions between Stanford and the other institutions are under way to establish subcontracts that are required before the funds can be used.
Three studies will investigate novel approaches to the design and fabrication of solar cells, with the goal of developing efficient and low-cost options for converting solar energy to electricity:
"This award from GCEP offers my colleagues and me a unique opportunity to pursue a bold approach for making inexpensive but efficient solar cells," said Bent, an associate professor of chemical engineering at Stanford. "We look forward to working together to address a problem of such global significance."
Added Green: "This award allows us to explore a very original approach to solar energy conversion that uses abundant materials and little energy, but promises high performance and low costs. Our work so far suggests we have a good chance of making a breakthrough in this area."
Another research effort will seek to improve understanding of new fuel formulations that may lead to acceptable transportation options with reduced carbon dioxide emissions:
One program seeks to use unique materials and design techniques to develop novel membranes for use in the key processes of carbon dioxide capture:
"These new awards are definitely in line with GCEP's mandate of supporting step-out research that will have a long-term global impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions," commented Philippe Lacour-Gayet of Schlumberger, chair of the GCEP Management Committee. "The research is high risk, but there is also a high potential for breakthroughs and the end results could be far-reaching."
Launched at Stanford in December 2002, GCEP is a collaborative effort of the scientific and engineering communities at academic research institutions and industry. Its purpose is to conduct fundamental, pre-commercial research that will foster the development of a global energy system with significantly reduced greenhouse gas emissions. The GCEP sponsors—ExxonMobil, GE, Schlumberger and Toyota—intend to invest $225 million in GCEP to seek new solutions to the world's energy future through a portfolio of technical areas.
The GCEP sponsors plan to fund additional programs at Stanford and other universities and institutions around the world. GCEP is conducting assessments of advanced coal and advanced transportation technologies to identify technical barriers and opportunities for research that could lead to significant advances in those areas.
The project also is conducting two workshops:
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