Norfolk State University has been awarded a $5 million grant by the National Science Foundation to research renewable energy. An NSU team of interdisciplinary researchers led by Dr. Aswini Pradhan, professor of engineering and the Center for Materials Research, will work to find solutions to the global energy challenge.
The grant funding is for five years and work will be conducted through the NSU Center for Renewable Energy and Advanced Materials (CREAM). “Energy is the defining challenge of the 21st century,” said Pradhan, who is also the center’s director. “Norfolk State University is pooling its subject-specific expertise in an interdisciplinary endeavor to help achieve an affordable, sustainable and clean supply of global energy.” Not only that, Pradhan speculated that the effort could bring about new and different technologies.
Researchers will investigate and develop advanced materials and devices for renewable energy such as solar, thermoelectric and battery as well as high-performance, low-energy-consuming devices and sensors. “The study of renewable energy generation, storage and utilization has a tremendous societal impact,” Pradhan noted. “Our research in the field of energy materials and associated devices will provide new insight into innovative energy devices and power-efficient sensors and opto-electronics.”
Additional aspects of the research include introducing underrepresented minority students to energy engineering through training and outreach activities. “The synergistic research and educational activities will profoundly impact STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics] students belonging to minority groups,” the professor explained, “by providing them with opportunities to be placed in high-tech jobs in industry, academic, military and government laboratories. CREAM will produce collaborative research develop young investigators and implement interdisciplinary education programs across the STEM disciplines.”