UNC Receives Grant for Solar Fuel Research

Solar energy is among the first thing on the docket for companies and institutions receiving grant money for green initiatives. (Photo: brian kusler [CC BY 2.0]/Flickr)

Funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act are starting to make it to businesses, organizations and educational institutions across the country. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is receiving approximately $17.5 million in combined grants for solar fuel research and green jobs creation.

The grant is funded in part by the Recovery Act (green jobs) and by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). In all, 31 universities, 12 DOE national laboratories, two nonprofit organizations and one corporate research laboratory received funding from the DOE as part of the Energy Frontier Research Center (EFRC) program. Sixteen of the EFRC locations chosen also received Recovery Act funds for green jobs.

“The UNC center will engage in research on low-cost and efficient solar fuels production by artificial photosynthesis and producing electricity by next-generation photovoltaics. The center will support a mix of about 30 postdoctoral fellows and graduate students.” Source: UNC-Chapel Hill

UNC-Chapel Hill is one of 20 institutions researching renewable and carbon neutral energy as part of the EFRC initiative. Fourteen organizations will be studying crosscutting science, six EFRCs are tasked with energy efficiency projects, and six more will be researching energy storage.

The DOE received approximately 260 applications last year with 46 institutions being chosen for the initial five-year program. The initiative will fund more than 1,100 full and part time positions filled by college students, technical staff and postdoctoral associates.