SRC develops $5 million industry-university partnership for alternative energy research centers

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Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC) has created a $5 million industry-university partnership for the development of renewable energy systems and technologies for development into the marketplace. Founding industry members include ABB, Applied Materials, Bosch, First Solar, IBM, Nexans and Tokyo Electron.

The Energy Research Initiative (ERI) will see companies from the semiconductor and other energy-related fields partner with university research centers for alternative energy resources while also training and educating students with the skills and experience needed to transition the new methods into the marketplace.

“The pervasive use of simulation in semiconductor process development, device design and system analysis has been a critical factor in the success of the electronics industry,” said SRC executive vice president Steven Hillenius. “Similar capabilities do not exist for technologies in support of solar-powered systems. Likewise, today’s smart grid simulation capabilities are also limited, and new transformational approaches are required to enable significant integration of renewable energy resources into the grid.”

Research will initially begin with the new modeling and simulation tools needed to support the development of improved PV devices and the development of systems and technologies for efficient, reliable and secure smart grid electricity infrastructures. The two main areas the ERI will begin with include photovoltaics and systems and technologies to enable and optimize smart grids.

Universities around the world will have centers dedicated to research focused on a certain area of expertise. Industry members of the ERI will dedicate engineering and other resources and participate in the selection of appropriate research projects. Purdue and Carnegie Mellon University will be the first two universities to implement such research centers.

A PV research center will be started on Purdue University’s campus for the performance, cost, reliability and manufacturing challenges of PV technologies. The center will use the university’s modeling/simulation background and the national Network for Computational Nanotechnology framework to provide enabling analytical models and simulation tools for PV manufacturers.

At Carnegie Mellon, a smart grid research center will be established for the incorporation of renewable energy resources and the provision of modeling, simulation and control tools for the management, optimization and security of the power grid. The center will develop the dynamic monitoring and decision systems (DYMONDS) for the electricity infrastructure.
 
The ERI will be managed by SRC subsidiary, The Energy Research Corporation (TERC), formed in 2009.

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