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Solar cells, geological storage research receive DOE funding at the University of Texas at Austin
Date:4/29/2009

AUSTIN, TexasWith two $15 million grants, scientists and engineers aim to revolutionize solar cells and provide the fundamental science for geological storage of greenhouse gases as part of two Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs) established at The University of Texas at Austin by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

The White House announced the creation of 46 new EFRCs nationally in conjunction with a speech delivered by President Barack Obama at the annual meeting of the National Academy of Sciences.

One of the university's EFRCs, led by Paul Barbara, will focus on better understanding the molecular processes that underpin innovative nanomaterials that may be used in solar energy and batteries. The center, titled "Understanding Charge Separation and Transfer at Interfaces in Energy Materials and Devices," is one of 16 EFRCs to be funded by President Obama's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. DOE plans to fund the EFRC at $15 million for a five-year period.

"The current pace of industrial research and development for solar energy and battery technologies is not fast enough to address society's energy needs, which are growing more critical every day," said Barbara, holder of the Richard J. V. Johnson Welch Regents Chair in Chemistry and director of the Center for Nano and Molecular Science and Technology. "The EFRC will allow us to develop completely new paradigms that address key fundamental scientific roadblocks to achieving U.S. energy security, and will also promote education and technology transfer in alternative energy."

Barbara's team will be composed of 18 faculty members from the College of Natural Sciences and the Cockrell School of Engineering. They will work in partnership with Sandia National Laboratories and the University of Montreal.

The university's second EFRC grant will fund the Center for Frontiers of Subsurface Energy Security, led by Gary Pope, holder of the Texaco Centennial Chair in
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Contact: Jennifer Lyon, Center for Nano and Molecular Science
lyon@mail.utexas.edu
512-232-1494
University of Texas at Austin
Source:Eurekalert

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