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Energy Conversions and Storage Research

Fossil fuel vs renewable / future clean alternative energy concept: Petroleum pumpjack, crude oil drum barrel and solar panel, green battery with leaf on a simple wood balance scale in equal position.Conceptual battery icons, illustrating six different power levels (empty, medium, full) with different colors (from red to green).

Faculty conducting research in this area include Robert Counce, John Zhanhu Guo, Stephen Paddison, Arthur RagauskasJoshua Sangoro, and Thomas Zawodzinski.


Research and development in energy conversion and storage are becoming increasingly important due to significant energy demand for economic and social development. Examples include fuel cells, supercapacitors, and batteries. The overarching theme of research in this area is focused on fundamental understanding and optimization of engineering processes in electrochemical devices such as batteries (Zawodzinski, Guo, Sangoro) and fuel cells (Zawodzinski, Counce, Paddison, Guo, Sangoro).


Related News

Zawodzinski to Lead Department of Energy Fuel Cell Project
The DOE has chosen a project led by UT–ORNL Governor’s Chair Thomas Zawodzinski as one of 10 recipients of ARPA-E grants.

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Faculty Feature: Michael Kilbey
Michael Kilbey’s research interests focus on understanding the relationships between the chemical design of polymeric materials and their structure and properties in thin films and in solution.

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The Counce Research Group: Testing at FIPR
Students and faculty from CBE recently got a chance to travel to FIPR to test a developmental process for rare earth recovery from an alternative source.

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Featured Publications

Downregulation of GAUT4 leads to reduced ferulate and lignin-carbohydrate cross-linking in switchgrass
Art Ragauskas’ research team discovered that the suppression of pectic gene in switchgrass resulted in the reduction of hemicellulose molecular size and the cross-linking between hemicellulose and lignin. This collaborated study with University of Georgia has highlighted the key roles of inter-biopolymer cross-linking in dictating the cell wall integrity of engineered feedstock. This research is published in the journal Communications Biology.



Jolly green MOF: confinement and photoactivation of photosystem I in a metal–organic framework
Photosystem I (PSI) is a potential candidate for integration into bio-hybrid solar energy harvesting devices, but orchestrating such integration rests on rationally designed 3D architectures that can organize and stabilize PSI in the myriad of harsh conditions in which it needs to function. This study reveals the optical response and photoactive properties of PSI encapsulated in a highly stable nanoporous metal organic framework (MOF). This research is published in the journal Nanoscale Advances.


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