While energy has long been an important topic, concerns about human’s environmental footprint, such as that due to carbon dioxide, and concerns about security and rapid global development, have recently brought this field to the forefront. The Department of Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering is focused on a number of areas critical to the future of energy.
These include technological innovations for fossil fuel systems; with primary emphasis on carbon dioxide mitigation, and control of fine particle and other pollutant emissions. The group works on novel combustion systems for coal, bio-fuels and other fossil fuels. Extensive work is underway in development of clean coal technologies such as oxy-coal combustion, fine particle capture, fate of fly ash in the environment, utilization of fly ash, carbon dioxide capture and conversion, sequestration, and mercury control technologies. The research is supported by the Consortium for Clean Coal Utilization.
The second area of research is the collaborative, systems approach planned for bio-fuels development from plant based sources and environmentally-benign adaptation and implementation. A synergistic approach to power generation that is carbon dioxide neutral is being considered wherein next generation bio-refineries are located adjacent to coal fired power plants.
We are tapping into our strengths in advanced materials to accelerate the development and implementation of cost effective solar-based technologies. Research and development activities are focused on development of next generation solar PV devices based on oxide semiconductors, and nano-bio hybrid systems. Work is also underway in development of electrical energy storage in battery systems.
Finally, the group also examines energy and environmental issues associated with the rural populations (half the total world’s population) across the globe. We focus research, education, and policy collaborations on energy and environmental areas that address energy security issues, particularly focusing on 3 billion people who lack access to clean energy and are unable to climb the energy ladder. We address a multitude of complex issues in a cross-disciplinary approach spanning science, technology, social science, and policy interventions. This work is being done collaboratively with the School of Social Work and our international network of Universities, MAGEEP.