Energy Research at the University of Washington

Announcement Archives

Chemical Engineering professor Jim Pfaendtner and his team get students out on job sites

Researchers at the University of Washington have a $3 million grant to support emerging careers where energy science is combined with big data. DIRECT, a UW Clean Energy Institute program, funded by the National Science Foundation, provides training that will equip a new generation of energy researchers to handle the massive data sets arising from all stages of materials discovery.

“The idea for this project came from graduate students coming to me and saying, hey Jim, this job looks awesome. It’s called Data Scientist, or Molecular Data Scientist. How do I get this job?" Pfaendtner said.

Pfaendtner and his team designed a curriculum that emphasizes getting students out on job sites for capstone projects. The UW’s grant aims to create training curriculum that can be replicated nationwide.

Clean Energy a Focus of Innovation Partnership between Tohoku University and UW

“The Academic Open Space will foster educational and research collaborations that make the best use of the shared and complementary strengths of both universities,” said UW President Ana Mari Cauce. “Working together, our two great universities can foster innovations and advancements in fields such as aerospace, clean energy and the development of new materials, among many others, all of which are critical to meeting the demands of growing industries in both regions.”

Read more in UW Today

UW’s Clean Energy Institute to participate in national smart manufacturing initiative

The University of Washington’s Clean Energy Institute will partner with regional industry and academic institutions as part of the new Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute, according to an announcement June 20 by the White House.

The new institute — led by the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition in Los Angeles in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy — will harness more than $140 million of public and private investments to develop clean, innovative and energy-efficient manufacturing methods for our most energy-intensive industries.

Read more:

Thomas Jarboe and team develop more affordable fusion reactor concept

“Right now, this design has the greatest potential of producing economical fusion power of any current concept,” said Thomas Jarboe, a UW professor of aeronautics and astronautics and an adjunct professor in physics.

The UW’s reactor, called the dynomak, started as a class project taught by Jarboe two years ago. After the class ended, Jarboe and doctoral student Derek Sutherland – who previously worked on a reactor design at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology – continued to develop and refine the concept.

Read more:




The Office of the President Announces the Innovation Award Recipients: Cossairt, Carothers, Klavins

The Innovation Awards recognize the most creative thinkers in our midst who are addressing the problems of humanity through research and education. These awards support unusually creative early and mid-career researchers engaged in the medical, natural, social and engineering sciences, as well as researchers fostering new levels of student engagement and understanding through active learning.
The selection committees are organized and run by the Office of Research and the Office of Academic and Student Affairs.

In its inaugural year, three outstanding faculty members have been honored with Innovation Awards to fund their transformational work in research and education:

Brandi Cossairt, assistant professor of chemistry, is focusing on chemical innovation in solar energy capture and storage. She is devising novel materials and devices that use abundant natural resources and low-cost processing methods geared toward advances in clean energy technology.

Lightning Talks on Marine & Ocean Research 11/6/13

We have a great speaker line up for the November 6th, Lightning Talks on Marine & Ocean Research program at the Seattle Aquarium (6:30 – 9:00pm). Come and support your fellow scientists as they give short (Lightning format) presentations on their research and engage with them afterwards in a Q & A reception. Cash bar and light refreshments will be available. Tickets purchased ahead of time at // are $5; $10 at the door. Limited number of free tickets available for undergrad and graduate students; RSVP to Susan Bullerdick at by Tuesday November 5.

National Science Board Public Meeting on 9/19/2013

The National Science Board will hold a public meeting on September 19, 2013, hosted at the University of Washington campus. The National Science Board visits a region only once a year, and we are fortunate that they have chosen the UW for this venue. The topic of the public meeting will be centered on “Advanced Cyber Infrastructure for Science and Engineering Research.” As you may know, the National Science Board is composed of 25 members appointed by the President and represents the broad U.S. science and engineering community. The Board establishes the policies of the National Science Foundation (NSF) and serves as an independent policy advisory body to the President and Congress on science and engineering research. Please advertise this meeting in your own unit, as it is open to the public and anyone may attend. It will also be webcasted and we can provide information about that when it becomes available.

Meeting Details:
Date: September 19, 2013
Time: 8:00am-11:00am

UW Today: Transportation fuels from woody biomass promising way to reduce emissions - Rick Gustafson Quoted

UW Today Excerpt: Two processes that turn woody biomass into transportation fuels have the potential to exceed current Environmental Protection Agency requirements for renewable fuels, according to research published in the Forest Products Journal and currently featured on its publications page.

Read the full article in UW Today: //

UW Today: Remote clouds responsible for climate models’ glitch in tropical rainfall, Frierson and Hwang quoted

It seems counterintuitive that clouds over the Southern Ocean, which circles Antarctica, would cause rain in Zambia or the tropical island of Java. But new research finds that one of the most persistent biases in global climate models – a phantom band of rainfall just south of the equator that does not occur in reality – is caused by poor simulation of the cloud cover thousands of miles farther to the south.

University of Washington atmospheric scientists hope their results help explain why global climate models mistakenly duplicate the inter-tropical convergence zone, a band of heavy rainfall in the northern tropics, on the other side of the equator. The study appears this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

UW Today article features Dean Graumlich: Long-term relationships, access to data drive sustainability institutions’ success

Turns out, the secret to fostering the emerging field of sustainability science is based on some simple and straightforward principles.

Speaking at a national meeting on a panel of academic leaders who focus on natural resource sustainability, College of the Environment Dean Lisa Graumlich said the college’s successful sustainability initiatives are grounded in long-standing relationships among scientists, local communities and decision-makers as well as widely accessible research data and results.
Read the full article: //

Seattle Times Article on UW and PNNL's Northwest Institute for Advanced Computing

The University of Washington and the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory are forming a new enterprise, the Northwest Institute for Advanced Computing, to tackle a wide range of the world’s most vexing issues – from the causes of disease to how climate change will impact the planet.

The institute is designed to find ways to mine the huge amounts of data generated every day by scientific instruments and household electronics, said Doug Ray, associate director of Richland-based PNNL, in a release.

Read the full article in Seattle Times online: //

Mary Lidstrom Received ARPA-E Award of $4 million for “Biocatalyst for Small-Scale Conversion of Natural Gas into Diesel Fuel”

DOE’s ARPA-E awards have been announced, and one of the recipients is the University of Washington team led by Mary Lidstrom, Vice Provost for Research and Professor in Chemical Engineering and Microbiology. Sixty-six projects were awarded $130 million for projects that, “…seeks out transformational, breakthrough technologies that show fundamental technical promise but are too early for private-sector investment. These projects have the potential to produce game-changing breakthroughs in energy technology, form the foundation for entirely new industries, and have large commercial impacts.” The awards support Obama’s goals of, “…solving our nation’s most pressing energy challenges.” Lidstrom’s project description is below.

Biocatalyst for Small-Scale Conversion of Natural Gas into Diesel Fuel

UW Receives 2012 International Green Award

The University of Washington is a laboratory for the kind of clean technology that communities of the future will rely on. At the 2012 International Green Awards announced Nov. 20 in London, the UW received a bronze medal for its sustainability efforts in the Most Sustainable Educational Institution competition.


See the updated webpage Discover UW: Sustainability of the Earth

Check out the updated webpage: "Discover UW: Sustainability of the Earth." We are a global leader in environmental science research, education and technology transfer. and this page highlights our activities. See //

UW's New Energy Forum- All are welcome!

In the UW's new Energy Forum (// , researchers and industrial practitioners discuss their work on renewable energy, nuclear power, regulatory issues, climate change, and related topics. The Forum is aimed at students interested in careers in the energy sector, but all are welcome to attend.

UW|360 September 2012 - Solar Cell Engineering

Solar cells capture the sun's energy, even in the Northwest! Watch the full episode online at

Center for Chemical Innovation receives NSF reauthorization of $20 million

The National Science Foundation has awarded a $20 million grant over five years in reauthorizing the Center for Enabling New Technologies Through Catalysis based at the University of Washington.
Read the full article in UW Today: //

James Murray's Nature article: Oil's tipping Point has passed

The economic pain of a flattering supply will trump the environment as a reason to cure the use of fossil fuels, say James Murray and David King.

Read the full article: //

UW Molecular Engineering & Sciences Building Opens to Opportunities

The Molecular Engineering & Sciences building has opened. "We want to try to do something really big," said Pat Stayton, professor of bioengineering and director of the institute. "We hope to generate a lot of knowledge." Read the article in the Seattle Times: //