The National Science Foundation (NSF) has announced the first set of projects awarded under the aegis of the Sustainable Energy Pathways (SEP) Program.
SEP projects will tackle a number of goals, including the development of advances in wind turbine design (Credit:Christopher Niezrecki, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Massachusetts Lowell)
The NSF launched the SEP in 2011 to initiate novel solutions that meet energy requirements without shifting the burden to subsequent generations. NSF expects these energy solutions to be produced at economical costs domestically, by utilizing resources that are not scarce and by means that do not have a detrimental effect on the environment.
In order to carry out fundamental scientific research for devising new and sustainable energy solutions, 20 multidisciplinary teams have been chosen by the NSF after a peer review assessment. The projects that are incorporated under the SEP portfolio are diverse. Some of them are novel battery technologies for improved energy storage, geothermal, tidal and wind energy solutions, innovative solar cells that employ abundantly available elements instead of rare earth elements and novel approach to study of human behavior and building design to maximize energy efficiency without compromising on comfort.
All the projects under SEP include three critical aspects in their scope, namely, basic scientific know-how, development of education and workforce and environmental, social and economic considerations. Owing to the integration of social and educational aspects in the program, the respective project teams will carry out public outreach programs to spread awareness amongst the public on the need for sustainable energy solutions and will also train students to work successfully with sustainable systems.
The NSF is providing the SEP with total funding of US $37,000,000. Each project under the program will receive a sum of $500,000 per annum for four years as funding.