Materials for Energy -Department of Materials Science and Engineering - Carnegie Mellon University

Materials for Energy

The MSE Department at Carnegie Mellon has a strong and broad portfolio of materials research in the area of energy production, conversion, transmission, and usage. Several specific areas include research on materials used for energy production and conversion from solar or chemical sources to electrical energy, on materials used in electrical energy (power) generation, distribution, and transformation, and on the potential reduction of energy utilization and emissions in primary metals production. Catalysts, sensors, membranes, electrodes, and electrolytes used in reactors, turbines, batteries, fuel cells, photochemical cells, photoelectric cells, and super capacitors are all currently being investigated. Research focuses on materials that can increase energy efficiency and result in cleaner or more economical energy production. The reduction of the size of power supplies, motors, generators, and improvements in other energy conversion devices holds significant potential for increasing their efficiency and reduction in their overall energy consumption. SiC materials in active components for power devices; metals, ferrites, amorphous and bulk amorphous metals for electrical energy frequency conversion, and advanced permanent magnets for electric motors; and solid state lighting applications are all currently being studied at Carnegie Mellon. Because the steel industry (for example) consumes 1.99 Quads — which represents 8% of manufacturing and 2-3% of overall energy consumption in the USA — CMU has a significant effort aimed at developing production processes that lead to significant reductions in energy consumption during steel and aluminum production. A significant research effort is carried out with the Institute for Advanced Energy Solutions (IAES) at the National Energy Technology Laboratories (NETL), focusing on research in solid oxide fuel cells and metals used in advanced turbines for power generation. Finally, the department has a joint faculty member with the department of Engineering and Pubic Policy in the area of energy systems.