One year after the Fraunhofer Center for Energy Innovation at UConn was established, it has progressed steadily toward its goal of advancing technologies related to energy storage, fuel cells, power management and distribution.
One of just seven Fraunhofer research centers in the country, the center is the result of a partnership between UConn, Fraunhofer USA, and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.
“CEI currently has active research in the areas of glasses, battery storage, and adsorbents,” said Prabhakar Singh, director of the Center. “CEI is also collaborating with an industry partner in the area of developing technical solutions for liquid filtration by ceramic membranes in the U.S., and a pilot filtration plant will soon be installed on CEI premises for client interaction, academic and industrial research.”
Singh, who is also a professor of materials science and engineering, said goals for the future include collaborating with state and federal agencies and private industry to advance the application of emerging technologies through research in areas related to energy storage, fuel cells, in-stream hydro, power management and distribution through contract research.
CEI, located on UConn’s Depot Campus, recently marked its first anniversary with a workshop that brought together technical experts, state and federal officials and the private sector.
The workshop provided presentations on the research findings of major projects being conducted at CEI in the field of clean and efficient energy conversion and storage systems, ceramic membranes and bio-fuel cleanup technologies. The workshop also provided a platform to network with technical and domain experts from CEI’s sister Institute IKTS (Institute for Ceramic Technologies, Dresden) on technology transfer, product development and doing business in Germany and Europe.
Among those attending were state officials, including Albert Monroe, chief of staff for the State Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. He said that CEI is focused on research that will lead to advances and widespread use of technologies that offer the potential to revolutionize the energy world.
“The partnership between the state, UConn, and Fraunhofer USA is an important collaboration that will lead to solutions to some of the most pressing energy challenges we face,” Monroe said. “With the combined resources and talent of UConn and Fraunhofer, we will see technological breakthroughs that will help deliver a cheaper, cleaner, and more reliable energy future for Connecticut, the nation, and the world.”
He added that CEI’s research on the potential of new materials that generate power will allow for “quicker and greater deployment of alternative sources of power, freeing us from reliance on fossil fuels and all of the political and environmental risks they entail.”