Penn State receives $2.5 million for alternative energy projects

April 30, 2010

University Park, Pa. -- Penn State has been awarded $2.5 million from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for two projects that could change the way the nation uses and produces energy. The money, funded through the DOE's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, is part of a second round of funding of the Recovery Act of 2009, U.S. Sens. Arlen Specter and Bob Casey of Pennsylvania announced Thursday (April 29).

In one project, Penn State, partnering with the University of Kentucky, will facilitate groundbreaking research to encourage the energy sector to produce alternative sources of energy. An oil-producing algae that usually derives its energy from residual light and organic waste at the bottom of ponds will be "rewired" to use electricity. From there, hydrogen and carbon dioxide will be converted into a bio-oil that can be refined into gasoline.

For the second project, the University in conjunction with Recapping Inc. in Menlo Park, Calif., will develop a novel energy storage device — a high-energy density capacitor — based on a 3D nanocomposite structure. The device is expected to provide a cost-effective alternative to battery solutions, with added benefits of possibly delivering charge with high-power density.

"I am pleased Penn State has been recognized as a leader in renewable energy research with this significant funding," Specter said. "These projects will help grow Pennsylvania's green economy and are a great boost in our efforts to end our country's dependence on foreign oil and energy."

Casey said the funding funneled to Penn State is "yet another example of the way the Recovery Act is making a positive impact in Pennsylvania and across the country." The senator indicated the money also would help build a competitive energy industry.

These awards are part of a larger DOE announcement of $106 million for 37 projects in 17 states throughout the nation, including the Penn State projects. More than 540 initial concept papers were received for this funding and 180 applications went through a rigorous review process with input from multiple review panels composed of leading U.S. science and technology experts. Evaluations were based on scientific and technical merit and the potential for high impact on our national energy and economic goals. New energy technologies are expected to grow new sectors of the U.S. economy, as well as lessen dependence on foreign countries.


Last Updated May 06, 2010