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Energy frontier research center for South Carolina, focused on fuel cells

The University of South Carolina has been selected by the US Department of Energy to house a research center for a team of leading energy researchers in the College of Engineering and Computing. The center, with $12.5 million in federal funding, is one of 31 Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs) being set up by DOE’s Office of Science at leading universities, for advanced scientific research on energy.

The team will be led by Professor Ken Reifsnider, an internationally recognized researcher in solid oxide fuel cells, and director of the university’s Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Center of Excellence.

 he center will concentrate on designing and creating materials essential for engineering devices such as fuel cells, electrolyzers, electrodes, photovoltaics, combustion devices, fuel processing devices, and functional membranes and coatings. A key element of the center’s research will focus on understanding the nanostructure and functionality of such materials.

Reifsnider says the award is the culmination of a 20-year dream to find answers to fundamental questions about heterogeneous materials used in energy systems. His team includes mechanical engineers Frank Chen and Chris Xue, Hans-Conrad zur Loye from chemistry and biochemistry, and chemical engineer Andreas Heyden.

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