U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Minority University Research Associates Program Awardees
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded the following collegiate institutions with funding as part of its Minority University Research Associates (MURA) Program from 2010-2013.
||Research/ Project Titles
||Total Project Cost
|Norfolk State University (NSU)
||Cost-Effective Polymer Solar Cells Research and Education
||2 graduate student internships at the ORNL
|Howard University — Center for Energy Systems and Control (CESAC)
||Utilization of Renewable Energy to Meet New National Challenges in Energy and Climate Change
|North Carolina Central University (NCCU)
||Production and Characterization of Novel Photovoltaic Materials
||Undergraduate NREL internships
|University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP)
||Computational Analysis of Nanoparticles-Molten Salt Thermal Energy Storage for Concentrated Solar Power Systems
||3 undergraduate NREL internships
|University of Texas-Pan American (UTPA)
||Operation of Grid-tied 5 kWDC Solar Array to Develop Laboratory Experiments for Solar PV Energy System Courses
||1 graduate student internship at NREL
|University of New Mexico (UNM)
||Creating Green Talent in the Southwest: A comprehensive research and education program in solar-cell technology at the University of New Mexico for Hispanic and Native-American baccalaureate students
||Undergraduate student internships with the local industry partners
Norfolk State University (NSU)
Project Title: Cost Effective Polymer Solar Cells Research and Education
This project will investigate and develop polymer-based solar cells (PSCs) for potentially cost-effective (or cost-competitive), durable, lightweight, flexible, and high-efficiency solar energy conversion applications. For instance, large thin-film-type PSCs could be readily installed on the roofs or siding of houses and buildings to generate clean electricity. The educational objective of this project includes training of future generation scholars, scientists, and/or engineers who may be working in the areas related to solar energy technology, particularly related to emerging or fast-growing organic/polymer-based solar energy technologies and related opto-electronic devices. This project will fund two graduate student research internships at ORNL.
Howard University — Center for Energy Systems and Control (CESAC)
Project Title: Utilization of Renewable Energy to Meet New National Challenges in Energy and Climate Change
The goal of this project is to develop and study enhanced variable models to evaluate and optimize the effects of introducing renewable energy resource–integrated networks to the greater distribution grid, including the development of performance indices for network performance (power quality stability and reliability), voltage / VAr and frequency control for load balancing. This work will also present cost-benefit analysis schemes that consider the hidden costs and benefits of renewable energy resource-integrated networks in an effort to quantify the "true" gains and/or losses to the distribution system. Through simulation and hands-on research, the undergraduate and graduate students' research will address barriers that must be better understood, and identify strategies to mitigate those barriers in order to fully realize the benefits of renewable energy resource-integrated networks.
North Carolina Central University (NCCU)
Project Title: Production and Characterization of Novel Photovoltaic Materials
This project is focused on a combined theoretical and experimental approach to discovering novel nanomaterials with opto-electronic properties tailored for PV cells. Research on nanoscale materials for PV and other devices has to date largely been limited to a relatively narrow range of single element or binary group IV, II-VI and III-V semiconductors. Furthermore, current methods of production often place limitations on the sizes and shapes of nanostructures, restricting their effectiveness in many applications. This project will provide students with opportunities to participate in the renewable energy research at NCCU during the academic year. Three undergraduate students and one graduate student will be selected to participate during each year of the project. This project will also support student summer research internships at NREL, NCCU or other institutions performing renewable energy-related research.
University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP)
Project Title:Computational Analysis of Nanoparticles — Molten Salt Thermal Energy Storage for Concentrated Solar Power Systems
This project will develop an advanced Thermal Energy Storage (TES) system for solar energy technologies. An advanced TES system can significantly reduce barriers to commercialization of solar energy technologies and make electricity production from solar energy cost-competitive with conventional power technologies. The awardee will use the computational analysis to estimate and understand the impact of nano-particles on thermal energy storage media and effective improvement in thermal heat capacity. The computational studies shall be performed for varying sizes and concentrations of nano-particles suspended in molten salt and shall be validated against the experimental studies performed at Texas A&M University. This project will fund three undergraduate student internships at NREL.
University of Texas-Pan American (UTPA)
Project Title: Operation of Grid-tied 5 kWDC Solar Array to Develop Laboratory Experiments for Solar PV Energy System Courses
This project will design, install, and operate three working systems to study and train students in the generation and integration of solar energy into the electric grid. This project will enhance the learning experience of the engineering students through the operation of fully functional solar resource assessment, energy generation, and energy storage systems installed on and integrated into two campus facilities. The various systems and equipment will provide students with applied learning opportunities in solar energy to supplement an engineering curriculum. This project will fund one graduate student internship at NREL in the summer of 2011.
University of New Mexico (UNM)
Project Title: Creating Green Talent in the Southwest: A comprehensive research and education program in solar-cell technology at the University of New Mexico for Hispanic and Native-American baccalaureate students
This project will focus its research in three areas: third generation PV materials and technologies; Smart Grid research; and an undergraduate research employment initiative. This project will develop and implement a solar concentration curriculum within the Energy program in the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department at UNM. Project participants will develop new introductory courses and oversee construction of an outdoor classroom/laboratory. This project will fund undergraduate student internships with local industry partners.