UW News

clean or renewable energy


April 29, 2020

Solar researchers across country join forces with industry to boost U.S. solar manufacturing

A person inside a laboratory demonstrating printer technology for flexible electronics

The University of Washington and its Washington Clean Energy Testbeds, the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Toledo have formed the U.S. Manufacturing of Advanced Perovskites Consortium, or US-MAP. This research and development coalition aims to accelerate the domestic commercialization of perovskite technologies.


October 31, 2019

New technique lets researchers map strain in next-gen solar cells

an image showing the surface of a solar cell, and which sections of the surface are susceptible to heat loss

Researchers from the University of Washington and the FOM Institute for Atomic and Molecular Physics in the Netherlands have developed a way to map strain in lead halide perovskite solar cells. Their approach shows that misorientation between microscopic perovskite crystals is the primary contributor to the buildup of strain within the solar cell, which creates small-scale defects in the grain structure, interrupts the transport of electrons within the solar cell, and ultimately leads to heat loss through a process known as non-radiative recombination.


June 21, 2019

New awards for UW research to probe solar cell defects, develop energy-boosting coatings

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office selected two University of Washington professors in the Department of Chemistry and the Clean Energy Institute to receive nearly $1.5 million in funding for two separate endeavors in solar photovoltaic research. The projects are led by Daniel Gamelin, director of the UW-based Molecular Engineering Materials Center, and David Ginger, chief scientist at the CEI and co-director of the Northwest Institute for Materials Physics, Chemistry and Technology, a partnership between the UW and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.


May 9, 2019

Former cleantech executive leads development of University of Washington energy research and technology center

A future building on the University of Washington campus.

The University of Washington and its Clean Energy Institute named Kevin Klustner executive director of the Center for Advanced Materials and Clean Energy Technologies, or CAMCET. When complete, CAMCET will be a 340,000-square-foot building that will bring together UW scientists and engineers with industry, civic and nonprofit partners to accelerate clean energy solutions for a healthy planet.


January 16, 2019

Three awards from US Department of Energy to fuel UW solar cell research

Three teams led by University of Washington researchers — Scott Dunham, Hugh Hillhouse and Devin MacKenzie — have received competitive awards totaling more than $2.3 million from the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office for projects that will advance research and development in photovoltaic materials, which are an essential component of solar cells and impact the amount of sunlight that is converted into electricity.


July 25, 2018

And then there was (more) light: Researchers boost performance quality of perovskites

an image of an experimental disk

In a paper published online this spring in the journal Nature Photonics, scientists at the University of Washington report that a prototype semiconductor thin-film has performed even better than today’s best solar cell materials at emitting light.


April 16, 2018

UW Jackson School researcher: Alternative energy is key to long-term health

Access to reliable electricity is critical to public health, argues UW geoscientist Scott Montgomery. And the best way to assure both is to pursue renewable energy.

  Halting the spread of disease involves a combination of health care and societal practices — from access to doctors and vaccines to clean water and adequate resources. Many of those solutions rely on electricity and transport fuels, whether for refrigeration, diagnosis and treatment, or distribution. But with two of the major energy sources the…


January 31, 2018

University of Washington, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory team up to make the materials of tomorrow

The Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the University of Washington announced the creation of the Northwest Institute for Materials Physics, Chemistry and Technology — or NW IMPACT — a joint research endeavor to power discoveries and advancements in materials that transform energy, telecommunications, medicine, information technology and other fields.


November 16, 2017

UW receives top honors from CleanTech Alliance for research and support in energy innovation, industry partnerships

People posing at an award ceremony

The CleanTech Alliance has presented the University of Washington with the organization’s 2017 CleanTech Achievement Award. The honor recognizes the UW’s dedication to research and development of transformative clean energy technologies, facilities, pipelines for startups and industry partnerships. The award was announced on Nov. 8 at the annual meeting and 10th anniversary of the CleanTech…


September 25, 2017

UW to host $15.6M NSF-funded center for innovation, education in materials science

The University of Washington is home to a new national center of excellence for research, education and training in materials science. The Molecular Engineering Materials Center is funded by a $15.6 million, six-year grant from the National Science Foundation as part of its highly competitive Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) program.


June 19, 2017

To connect biology with electronics, be rigid, yet flexible

Drawing of how chemicals can swell.

Researchers uncover design principles to make polymers that can transport both ions and electrons, which will help create new devices like biosensors and flexible bioelectronic implants


April 14, 2017

UW, Tohoku University establish Academic Open Space partnership for innovations in aerospace, clean energy, disaster preparedness

The University of Washington and Japan’s Tohoku University have agreed to create an Academic Open Space to foster collaborations and academic exchanges between these two leading research institutions of the Pacific Rim. The agreement, signed April 14 by leaders of both institutions at the UW campus in Seattle, is expected to build upon current collaborations in aerospace design and materials, as well as launch new science and engineering partnerships.


February 16, 2017

New clean energy facility accelerates testing of cleantech innovations and launching of companies

Cleantech Businesses and Academic Researchers can Prototype and Test Clean Energy Devices, Software and Systems at the Washington Clean Energy Testbeds A new facility for accelerating the clean energy innovation cycle opened in Seattle Feb. 16. The Clean Energy Institute, a research unit at the University of Washington, created the Washington Clean Energy Testbeds to…


September 12, 2016

Graduate education in clean energy due for ‘big data’ overhaul

A sunset

Jim Pfaendtner, University of Washington associate professor of chemical engineering, is leading a new endeavor funded by the National Science Foundation to bring big data to graduate education in clean energy research at the UW.


June 24, 2016

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.


May 27, 2016

UW researchers illuminate ways to heal defects in solar cells

Microscopic image of a crystal

Electrical energy fuels our modern lives, from the computer screen that keeps us up after sunset to the coffee maker that greets us at sunrise. But the electricity underlying our 21st century world, by and large, is generated at a cost — through the unsustainable expenditure of fossil fuels. For decades this demand for cheap,…


April 20, 2016

UW experts call Paris climate agreement ‘bold,’ ‘encouraging’

Eiffel Tower with 'Paris Climate 2015'

As the U.S., China and other countries sign the Paris Agreement to reduce emissions and limit climate change, UW experts talk about the possibilities and risks in what could be a turning point for global economies.


April 5, 2016

UW joins public-private partnership for flexible electronics

An example of flexible hybrid electronics.

The University of Washington has joined NextFlex, a consortium of 30 academic institutions and industrial partners to develop the next generation of flexible electronic devices. As a founding member of this alliance, the UW will seek local and regional partners in the electronics and manufacturing industries to develop and produce flexible electronics for applications from…


September 23, 2015

Washington, Sichuan promise low-carbon cities in new agreement

From left: Wang Dongming, Ana Mari Cauce, Qiu Yong and Jay Inslee at the signing ceremony Sept. 22.

A memorandum of understanding, called the “2+2 MOU,” was signed Tuesday between the state of Washington and the Chinese province of Sichuan, as well as the University of Washington and Tsinghua University, to catalyze the science, technology and investment needed to grow innovations that will underpin adaptable and resilient urbanization.


September 8, 2015

UW hosts Pacific Northwest energy storage symposium on Sept. 11

Gone are the days when electricity flowed only in one direction — from huge power plants to homes and businesses — and entirely on demand. Today, homeowners who install solar panels can sell extra electricity back to the grid. Savvy industries save money by timing and controlling energy use. Renewable energy sources are multiplying. Yet…


June 2, 2015

UW researchers scaling up fusion hopes with DOE grant

UW researchers are scaling up a novel plasma confinement device with a DOE grant, in hopes of producing a self-sustaining reaction to create fusion energy.


April 30, 2015

Engineering a better solar cell: UW research pinpoints defects in popular perovskites

A new UW study demonstrates that perovskite materials — superefficient crystal structures that have recently taken the scientific community by storm — contain previously undiscovered flaws that can be engineered to improve solar cells and other devices even further.


March 27, 2015

Students to pitch clean-tech solutions April 2 at Environmental Innovation Challenge

More than 40 University of Washington students will compete in the Alaska Airlines Environmental Innovation Challenge 2015. It asks students from around the state to identify an environmental problem, develop a solution, build a prototype and sell their idea to judges. Twenty-two interdisciplinary student teams will pitch and demonstrate their solutions April 2 at an…


October 24, 2014

U.S. Navy awards $8 million to develop wave, tidal energy technology

students on boat

The UW has an $8 million, four-year contract to develop technologies that can harness waves, tides and currents to power naval facilities worldwide.


October 22, 2014

Solar energy research gets boost from federal grant

Energy researchers at the UW will expand their work in making high-efficiency, printable solar cells and solar inks with the help of a competitive grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. Researchers say these printable solar cells could be twice as efficient as today’s standard solar technologies. This, in turn, could drive down the cost…


May 14, 2014

$31M gift will fund early stage UW research by high-tech entrepreneurs

Neil King and graduate student Yu-Ru Lin observe bacterial colony growth at the Institute for Protein Design.

The University of Washington is receiving a $31.2 million gift from Washington Research Foundation to boost entrepreneurship and support research that tackles some of society’s most crucial challenges. The award will fund four interdisciplinary initiatives that seek to advance global innovation in clean energy, protein design, big data science and neuroengineering.


December 12, 2013

New state-funded Clean Energy Institute will focus on solar, battery technologies

Gov. Jay Inslee (center) shakes hands with Dan Schwartz, director of the new Clean Energy Institute, with UW President Michael Young (left).

A new University of Washington institute to develop efficient, cost-effective solar power and better energy storage systems launched Dec. 12 with an event attended by UW President Michael K. Young, Gov. Jay Inslee and researchers, industry experts and policy leaders in renewable energy.


August 7, 2013

Regulating electron ‘spin’ may be key to making organic solar cells competitive

A vial holds a solution that contains the UW-developed polymer "ink" that can be printed to make the solar cells.

UW researchers have discovered a high-performance polymer that could make inexpensive, organic solar cells competitive with silicon-based cells.


April 17, 2013

A key to mass extinctions could boost food, biofuel production

A hydrogen sulfide-treated dwarf wheat seed next to an untreated seed.

A substance implicated in several mass extinctions could greatly enhance plant growth, with implications for global food supplies biofuels, new UW research shows.


October 24, 2012

University of Washington launches research phase of smart grid project

Smart Grid news conference

The University of Washington marked the start of the data-gathering phase of the UW Smart Grid Project with an event featuring Washington’s two US Senators.


October 11, 2012

Molecular engineering is focus of College of Engineering’s fall lectures

Three public lectures by UW engineering professors will give an overview of molecular engineering and applications in biotech and alternative energy.


June 7, 2012

New twist on old chemical process could boost energy efficiency

An unappreciated aspect of chemical reactions on the surface of metal oxides could be key in developing more efficient energy systems, including more productive solar cells or hydrogen fuel cells efficient enough for automobiles.


April 6, 2011

Solar research in the spotlight: Kane Hall event and live webcast on UWTV

The deans of Engineering, Arts & Sciences and the College of the Environment will participate in a lecture that shines a light on UW research in solar energy. The talk, at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 12, is at capacity but UWTV will host a live webcast.


March 15, 2011

Controlling a single molecules reaction with light could improve solar cells

In new research published in “Science,” engineers at UW and UCLA used nanotechnology to control and observe how molecules react. They plan to use their method to develop more efficient solar molecules.


February 23, 2011

Dimmable windows with solar panels could power zero-energy buildings

UW engineers and architects are collaborating on smart windows that can change transparency depending on conditions and actually harvest energy from the suns rays.


June 19, 2010

UW team wins $1.3 million to radically reduce hospital energy use

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) has announced that University of Washington researchers, with the architectural firm NBBJ, will receive a $1.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to extend nationally a model that reduces hospital energy use by 60 percent. The work of the UW team reflects a fundamental game change. Once upon a time, it…


April 8, 2010

Student clean-tech innovations impress at UW Environmental Innovation Challenge

An engineer, an entrepreneur and an environmentalist walk into a vacated airplane hangar … or, in the case of the UW Environmental Innovation Challenge, held on April 1, hundreds of them ventured into Hangar 30 in Seattle’s Magnuson Park.


October 22, 2009

Climate Action Plan sets out vision for greenhouse-gas-neutral future at UW

Imagine the UW’s Seattle campus 40 years from now: