Fuel Cell Center Dons New Name, Mantle

The interdisciplinary Center for Clean Energy Engineering is undergoing an important metamorphosis. The center, which was founded in 2001 with $14.5 million in funding from the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund and industry partners, is enlarging its mission to embrace a range of sustainable energy research, education and industry outreach. Reflective of this expanded vision, the center is assuming a new name: the Center for Clean Energy Engineering (C2E2).

Dr. Mun Choi, Dean of the School of Engineering — which manages the center — announced the new brand following its late September approval by the UConn Board of Trustees. “As the Center for Clean Energy Engineering, the center will approach the energy challenge from a holistic, expansive perspective that capitalizes upon the exceptional multidisciplinary expertise of the University and its collaborators.”

Dr. Prabhakar Singh, the UTC Chair Professor of Fuel Cell Technology and C2E2 director, said the center is augmenting — rather than realigning — its mission. “The center will continue to focus on energy conversion technologies, including high and low temperature fuel cells, microbial fuel cells, solar and wind energy,” he said, adding that other prominent vectors to be integrated under the C2E2 umbrella will include fuel processing and combustion of fossil fuels, carbon sequestration, natural resource conservation, power management and smart power transmission, and efforts aimed at improving the duration and quality of storage capacity for hydrogen and batteries.

The C2E2 is an important component of the University’s Eminent Faculty Initiative in Sustainable Energy, a public-private partnership begun in 2007 that emerged from the shared commitment and support of the Connecticut General Assembly, the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund, United Technologies Corporation, the Northeast Utilities Foundation and FuelCell Energy, Inc. The initiative, which receives $2.8 million in permanent annual allocations from the State, has captured more than $7.5 million in support to date.

In its enlarged role, the C2E2 will continue to nucleate activities focusing on research, education and outreach. The center enjoys important collaborations with regional energy companies, including FuelCell Energy, UTC Power, and Proton Energy; and receives substantial grant support from NSF, the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of Energy, the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund and numerous private companies.