Argonne & Northwestern Collaborate on Solar Energy Issues

Helping the world meet increasing energy needs through solar energy will be the goal of a new research center established by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory and Northwestern University.

The Argonne-Northwestern Solar Energy Research Center (ANSER Center) will combine and expand the research interests of both institutions to address scientific challenges posed by the need for economically viable solar energy use. “Global energy needs will double by 2050 and triple by 2100,” said Michael R. Wasielewski, Northwestern chemistry professor and director of the new center. “An increase in the use of solar energy is essential for meeting this need in an environmentally responsible manner.” Researchers at the ANSER Center will come from both Argonne and Northwestern, and will examine new economical ways to use sunlight to produce clean fuels, such as hydrogen, from water and to produce electricity directly from low-cost photovoltaic (PV) and thermoelectric systems. “The scientific challenges to achieving these goals are complex and cross-disciplinary, requiring an integrated systems approach,” said George Crabtree, director of Argonne’s Materials Science Division and deputy director of the ANSER Center. “Argonne and Northwestern each have a long history of accomplishment in solar energy research, as well as a culture of interactive team approaches to problem-solving. Add the world-class complementary expertise and facilities, and the result should be real breakthroughs in understanding fundamental solar energy conversion mechanisms and the ability to dramatically improve the efficiency of converting solar energy to fuels and electricity.” Another goal is to educate a science and engineering workforce able to solve cross-disciplinary energy problems through educational opportunities available through the collaboration.
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