The U.S. Department of Energy
(DOE) awarded Argonne National Laboratory nearly $2.7 million in American
Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding for three solar-energy related
research projects. In addition, Argonne will share another $5 million in ARRA
funding for projects with Commonwealth Edison Co., GridPoint and the University
of Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC).
Argonne chemist Jeff Elam examines solar cell materials prepared using atomic layer deposition at various stages of fabrication.
The awards are part of DOE’s investment to support the development of
new solar energy technologies and the rapid deployment of available carbon-free
solar energy systems. "This investment will help accelerate the use of
solar energy by residents, businesses and communities, and promote the long-term
viability of solar energy by investing in the technologies of the future,"
Energy Secretary Chu said.
"This research funding comes at a time when the nation is increasingly
looking to renewable energy technologies like solar energy to address concerns
related to the climate and energy security," said Argonne Director Eric
Isaacs. "Solar energy still has some technology challenges that must to
be addressed before large-scale deployment is possible. Fortunately, Argonne
has a team of scientists that are aggressively seeking to address those challenges."
Argonne materials scientist Dileep Singh will lead a $1 million project to
enhance the heat transfer properties and heat capacity of high-temperature fluids
and the capability of solar-to-thermal conversion for improved thermal energy
storage and for overall cost reduction of concentrated solar power systems.
A second project lead by Jeffrey Elam, a chemist, will receive $945,000 to
develop new technology for the atomic layer deposition of transparent conducting
coatings that would enable the production and reduce the manufacturing costs
of a broad range of photovoltaic devices.
Alex Martinson, a chemist, is the principal investigator for a $750,000 project
to develop high efficiency thin film photovoltaics from layers of interwoven
low-cost and unconventional materials. The thin film PV material has the potential
to meet or exceed the efficiency of current commercial PV systems while also
reducing the cost of materials and processing, and would also help to reach
DOE's goal of providing low cost power from photovoltaics on a national scale.
The project with ComEd, GridPoint, and ISTC involves the procurement, installation,
and testing of distributed photovoltaic systems on a sample of homes in the
Chicago area. The sample homes will also have smart meters installed under ComEd’s
new Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) initiative. Some of the systems will
even include battery storage. The goal is to understand how consumers respond
to the availability of advanced pricing information, net metering, photovoltaics
and energy storage. Additionally, the project will examine the impacts to utility
grid reliability of distributed PV within an AMI footprint. Energy systems engineer
Tom Veselka will lead this project for Argonne.
DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) funded
Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in
science and technology. The nation's first national laboratory, Argonne conducts
leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific
discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds
of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help
them solve their specific problems, advance America 's scientific leadership
and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60
nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department
of Energy's Office of Science.