The Renewable Energy Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (REMRSEC) has made substantial progress in its renewable energy research of identifying, launching, and advancing innovative research directions in renewable energy materials science, meeting its human resource mission of educating the next generation of renewable energy professionals, creating outreach programs to inform the public about the potential of renewable energy, and promoting diversity among faculty, research associates, staff, students, and future students.
The Center consists of two Interdisciplinary Research Groups (IRG’s) plus risky but potentially high-payoff seed projects. The Photovoltaic IRG concentrates on materials of potential use in the next generation of PV devices. Current research focus involves the excitation, scattering and relaxation mechanisms that govern electronic transport in semiconducting materials of use in PV applications. Research emphasis is on the mechanisms that are altered in nano-structured environments. The long-term research directions are aimed at producing transformative changes in PV and other optoelectronic technologies through significant improvements in materials properties for more efficient carrier generation and collection.
The Advanced Membrane IRG concentrates on advanced membranes for renewable energy applications with research on polymers, ionic solids, and hybrid systems. Solid electrolyte materials and membrane technologies are central to many processes in the conversion, utilization, and storage of energy. Currently, the interactions that occur in ion transport membranes—ion-ion, ion-solvent, and ion-electrode—are poorly understood. Basic research is needed for the intelligent design of novel transport membranes with highly optimized properties. This IRG fabricates novel transformative ion conducting materials by synergistically combining materials with dramatically different ionic transport characteristics.
In 2012, six seed projects were funded, one of them involving junior faculty, and five funded from discretionary funds to explore possibilities for the upcoming re-competition proposal to the National Science Foundation.