Secretary of Energy Steven Chu tours campus lab

Steven ChuU.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu visited campus yesterday to learn more about Department of Energy-funded and other energy-related research at Case Western Reserve University. During his visit, he toured a lab in the White Building and listened to presentations from faculty members and graduate students.

Chu’s visit was part of an afternoon trip to Cleveland; he spoke at the City Club of Cleveland earlier in the day on the importance of improving U.S. competitiveness in the global clean energy race and how Ohio plays a pivotal role in the effort.

“To create jobs and prosperity in the 21st century, we can’t invent technologies and watch them drift overseas,” Chu said during the City Club event. “We need to fight to keep them here. Our motto should be, ‘Invented in America, Made in America, and Sold Worldwide.’ Ohio can lead the way in making this slogan a reality.”

During the campus tour, Chu got a look at ways Case Western Reserve is working to push this motto forward. He visited the MORE (Materials for Opto/Electronics Research and Education) Center, where Kenneth Singer, the Ambrose Swasey Professor of Physics and director of the engineering physics program, discussed the lab’s interdisciplinary work and next-generation photovoltaic applications. He also heard from Frank Ernst, the Leonard Case Jr. Professor of Engineering in Materials Science and Engineering, who explained a new sun farm and industry partnerships focused on solar cell product development. Finally, he heard from students on their energy-related research.

“Our faculty are conducting groundbreaking research in solar cells and other areas of energy creation and storage, as well as in advanced manufacturing,” Provost W.A. “Bud” Baeslack said. “We are delighted that Secretary Chu had the opportunity to see our facilities and meet a few of our outstanding students.”

Chu's VisitThe university currently leads six Department of Energy-funded research projects. Three are Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E) funded research: “High-Power Titanate Capacitors for Power Electronics” by Gerhard Welsch, Chung-Chiun Liu and Frank Merat; “TEN Mare: Transformation Enabled Nitride Magnets Absent Rare Earths,” researched by David Mattheisen, Frank Ernst and Gary Michal; and “Scaling and Commercialization of Algae Harvesting Technologies” led by Kenneth Loparo. Additionally, Wyatt Newman has received ARPA-E funds for “EnergyTech2012: Conference Support.”

Three of the DOE-funded projects are general research: “Iron-based Flow Batteries for Low Cost Grid-Level Storage,” with research led by Jesse Wainright and Robert Savinell; “Great Lakes Offshore Wind: Utility and Regional Integration Study,” led by Loparo and Mario Garcia-Sanz; and “Novel Developments in Sensors and Controls for Efficient Operation of Fossil Fuel Power Plants,” from Loparo.

Faculty members also are researching two other DOE-funded projects: “Carbon Nanotube Reinforced Polyurethane Composites for Wind Turbine Blades,” led by Bayer Materials Science LLC and investigated at CWRU by Ica Manas-Zloczower; and “An Integrated Approach to Offshore Wind Energy Assessment: Great Lakes 3D Wind Experiment,” led by Indiana University and researched at CWRU by Iwan Alexander and Matthiesen.

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