Energy + Environment
Solar powered windows for a sustainable futureHigh-efficiency but fragile molecules for converting light to electricity thrive with a little protection.
Cheap, sustainable hydrogen through solar powerWithstanding high temperatures and the light of 160 suns, a new catalyst is ten times more efficient than previous sun-powered water-splitting devices of its kind.
Large open dataset aims to improve understanding of building electricity demand responseData collected from 14 commercial buildings can help inform efforts to balance electrical grids, maintaining reliability.
Wireless and battery-free sensors for sustainable smart citiesThe sensors will provide real-time data for smart decision-making by allowing the natural environment and the built environment to communicate seamlessly.
New global partnership aims to advance renewable energy generation with net-zero hydrogen production technologiesThe Global Hydrogen Production Technologies (HyPT) Center seeks to create a viable pathway to decarbonize energy-intensive industries such as ammonia, steel, cement, aluminum, transportation, and more.
Research seeking to improve integration of renewable energy into the grid wins R&D 100 awardLed by Prof. Johanna Mathieu, the project utilizes strategic control of air conditioners to improve the overall efficiency and reliability of the power grid.
Organic photovoltaics offer realistic pathway to power-generating windowsA new fabrication process greatly improves the reliability of highly-efficient semi-transparent solar cells, which can be applied to windows to generate solar power.
New method to produce green hydrogen offers promising path to carbon neutralityWith next gen solar cell technology, Prof. Zetian Mi leads a DoE project to develop high efficiency, low cost, and ultrastable production of green hydrogen fuels directly from sunlight and water.
Equity in the energy technology transition is new Institute’s goalProf. Johanna Mathieu is the new Associate Director of the Institute for Energy Solutions, which will continue U-M's 75-year legacy of leadership in energy research.
Johanna Mathieu awarded 2023 IEEE PES Wanda Reder Pioneer in Power AwardMathieu is a national leader on research to reduce the environmental impact, cost, and inefficiency of electric power systems.
Team working to reduce energy burdens in Detroit recognized with Michigan Difference Student Leadership AwardPhD students Joshua Brooks, Xavier Farrell, and Madeline Miller are part of an NSF Smart and Connected Communities project that partners with local Detroit organizations to reduce household energy insecurity.
Cheap, sustainable hydrogen through solar powerWithstanding high temperatures and the light of 160 suns, a new catalyst is ten times more efficient than previous sun-powered water-splitting devices of its kind.
Broadening the engineering perspective through coastline conservation in Middle EarthAs part of the U-M Engineering Global Leadership (EGL) Honors Program, Electrical Engineering undergrad Nora Desmond traveled There and Back Again to experience the sustainability culture of New Zealand.
Streamlining home assessments for energy justiceIn a partnership with Ecoworks, Pecan Street, and Jefferson East, Prof. Johanna Mathieu is helping create a better process for Detroit homes to benefit from decarbonization, electrification, and renewable energy integration.
Toward manufacturing semitransparent solar cells the size of windowsA peel-off patterning technique could enable more fragile organic semiconductors to be manufactured into semitransparent solar panels at scale.
Solar-powered chemistry uses carbon dioxide and water to make feedstock for fuels, chemicalsProducing synthesis gas, a precursor of a variety of fuels and chemicals, no longer requires natural gas, coal or biomass.
Alireza Ramyar awarded Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship for his research on power processing architectures for improved sustainabilityRamyar’s research focuses on how power and energy can be transformed, extracted from clean power generation, and stored effectively and sustainably.
Anna Stuhlmacher awarded Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship for her research that could help integrate renewable energy sources into the power gridStuhlmacher is working to optimize the interaction between the power distribution network and the drinking water distribution network to improve the sustainability, flexibility, and resiliency of both systems.
Al-Thaddeus Avestruz receives CAREER Award to advance sustainable energy storageUsing retired electric vehicle batteries, the project plans to enable widespread and equitable access to sustainable power and energy through sustainable energy storage.
Optimizing the interactions between critical infrastructure systems for better flexibility, sustainability, and resiliencyPhD student Anna Stuhlmacher researches how the water distribution network can better provide services to the power network, which can allow for greater integration of renewable energy sources into the grid, reduce costs, and improve system resiliency.
New collaborative project for advancing energy justice in DetroitIn partnership with Detroit-based community organizations, Prof. Johanna Mathieu co-leads a team of researchers working to reduce disparities in household energy insecurity for low and moderate income households.
$1.8M to develop room temperature, controllable quantum nanomaterialsThe project could pave the way for compact quantum computing and communications as well as efficient UV lamps for sterilization and air purification.
Solar cells with 30-year lifetimes for power-generating windowsHigh-efficiency but fragile molecules for converting light to electricity thrive with a little protection.
Using remote sensing to track microplastics in the oceanElectrical Engineering undergrad Madeline Evans is a key researcher on a project that uses NASA’s Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System to monitor microplastic pollution that harms marine ecosystems.
Nanotech OLED electrode liberates 20% more light, could slash display power consumptionA five-nanometer-thick layer of silver and copper outperforms conventional indium tin oxide without adding cost.
Artificial photosynthesis devices that improve themselves with use
"Our discovery is a real game-changer. I’ve never seen such stability."
Kaleo Roberts receives scholarship from the American Indian Science and Engineering Society
Roberts works to improve remote sensing of soil moisture, which is important for environmental conservation, natural resource management, and agriculture.
DYNAMO achieves first observation of the “charge separation effect”
Research led by Prof. Stephen Rand, Director of the Center for Dynamic Magneto-optics (DYNAMO), has important potential for energy conversion, ultrafast switching, nanophotonics, and nonlinear optics.
U-M, community partners tackle energy insecurity in three Detroit neighborhoods
Johanna Mathieu is one of four principal investigators on a project to improve home energy efficiency and to lower monthly utility bills.
Podcast: Artificial photosynthesis for sustainable solar fuels
In S1E1, Prof. Zetian Mi talks unlocking quantum properties to close the loop on carbon emissions.
Tracking Monarch Butterfly Migration with the World’s Smallest Computer
In a project funded by National Geographic, ECE researchers are teaming up with the department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology to advance our understanding of monarch butterfly migration with the most ambitious iteration of the Michigan Micro Mote yet.
Coordination and collaboration are critical to U.S. leadership in plasma science: a Q&A with the Plasma 2020 Decadal Study co-chair
Plasma science has the potential to speed advances in medicine, energy, electronics and more—including helping us deal with pandemics.
Mirror-like photovoltaics get more electricity out of heat
By reflecting nearly all the light they can’t turn into electricity, they help pave the way for storing renewable energy as heat.
Detecting environmental pollutants with a smaller, portable, fully electric gas chromatograph
Prof. Yogesh Gianchandani and Dr. Yutao Qin received an “Outstanding Paper Award” for their fully electronic micro gas chromatography system.
Urban solar energy: Solar panels for windows hit record 8% efficiency
Transparent solar panels on windows could take a bite out of a building’s electricity needs.
Professors Jay Guo and Zetian Mi awarded MTRAC funding for research in autonomous and green vehicles
Guo is working to boost the visibility of autonomous cars for improved safety, and Mi is building a prototype solar hydrogen production system that could out-compete electric cars.
Tianlin Wang recognized with Towner Prize and Distinguished Leadership Award
The College of Engineering honors ECE PhD candidate Tianlin Wang for his excellent research in remote sensing as well as his leadership and service to the community.
Russel Lecture: Fighting climate change with organic electronics
The researcher-entrepreneur who helped bring OLED displays to the masses envisions a future of efficient lighting and next-gen solar power.
Leung Tsang elected to the National Academy of Engineering
A professor of electrical engineering and computer science is awarded one of engineering’s top honors.
‘Green methane’ from artificial photosynthesis could recycle CO2
A catalyst on a solar panel can make methane, the main component of natural gas, with carbon dioxide, water and sunlight.
Prof. Elaheh Ahmadi receives AFOSR Young Investigator Program award
Prof. Ahmadi will investigate promising new materials needed for an increasingly electrified world
Commission on Carbon Neutrality talks progress, environmental justice at town hall
Prof. Stephen Forrest, who serves as co-chair of the commission, attended the forum to address concerns and give updates on the plan of action.
Commission co-chairs: Climate change solutions need broad commitmentAn update on the work done by U-M's Commission on Carbon Neutrality, co-chaired by Prof. Stephen Forrest.
Can organic solar cells last – even into the next millennium? These might.
Finally, proof that organic photovoltaics can be as reliable as inorganic, with real-life desert testing
Prof. Kamal Sarabandi welcomes Emperor and Empress of Japan at IGARSS 2019
Predicting future disasters is an important goal of those participating in the IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium
Xianhe Liu receives Best Poster Award at ICNS 2019
The research impacts development of high-efficiency, micro LEDs, used in a variety of applications.
The National Academy of Engineering invites Prof. Johanna Mathieu to symposium to advance the engineering frontier
The symposium brings together 82 young engineers from different technical areas from around the country.
Counting snowflakes for better water resource management
Mostafa Zaky has built an award-winning model that helps estimate the amount of water stored in snowpacks, which could improve climate change and flood forecasting, as well as overall water resource management.
Prof. Louise Willingale creates extreme plasma conditions using high-intensity laser pulses
Willingale’s research in plasma physics advances many research areas from spectacular astrophysical phenomena to cancer treatment to fusion power.
Building community through clean energy
From Long Beach, CA, to a Nepalese national park and world heritage site, undergrads Ashley Gee and Camille Burke came away with unforgettable experiences and a greater appreciation for how engineering can change the world for the better.
New DOE project aims to convert a traditional engine into a hybrid OP engine with the help of control algorithms
A new project funded by ARPA-E partners Achates Power and the University of Michigan in the development of a novel hybrid electric engine.
The Future is Carbon Neutral
Prof. Stephen Forrest is co-chair of U-M’s Commission on Carbon Neutrality as part of U-M’s commitment to combat climate change and craft a sustainable future for all.
A new $1.6M energy project to develop low cost manufacturing of white organic lighting
Prof. Stephen Forrest is developing an automated high-yield roll-to-roll process to manufacture organic LEDs for lighting.
New research for the future of sustainable power and energyTake a look at some of the exciting new projects that will help define the next evolution of sustainable power and energy.
Battery economics could power the future of energy
Prof. Johanna Mathieu of EECS and Prof. Catherine Hausman of Public Policy are heading a new project to explore the social costs and benefits of battery energy storage on the electrical grid.
How air conditioners could advance a renewable power grid
In an approach that won’t disrupt consumers, researchers will tackle two of the biggest issues in the energy industry.
Johanna Mathieu receives NSF CAREER Award to help build a smarter, more sustainable grid
Mathieu will develop optimization and control methods to leverage the flexibility available from distributed energy resources.
Johanna Mathieu receives Ernest and Bettine Kuh Distinguished Faculty Award
The award recognizes Mathieu’s outstanding teaching, research, and service in the area of power and energy.
$1.6M for solar cell windows and high-temperature solar power
New sustainability research garners support from Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office.
A window into the future of solar power
Windows in the buildings of the future could double as efficient solar cells.
A new company, Omniscent, is sniffing out dangerous levels of toxic chemicals in the air
Subscription service offers real-time monitoring
Photosynthesis and Clean Energy
Prof. Zetian Mi talks about a new way to create energy from the sun – borrowing from the idea of photosynthesis.
Blue Sky and Research Accelerator Initiatives fund solar fuel and high-power research
Blue Sky: Up to $10M toward research so bold, some of it just might fail
Inspired by startup funding models, Michigan Engineering reinvents its internal R&D grant structure.
Mengqi Yao receives High Quality Paper Award at PowerTech Conference
In recognition of demand response research.
Stephanie Crocker Ross receives Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship
Dissertation recognized as unusually creative, ambitious and impactful.
Harvesting clean hydrogen fuel through artificial photosynthesis
New device doubles previous efficiency, opens path to commercial viability.
Installing an alternative on spring break
Students put up solar power systems and learned the local issues of a Native American reservation while on spring break.
Professor Leung Tsang Receives 2018 Van de Hulst AwardProf. Tsang is a world-renowned expert in the field of theoretical and computational electromagnetics, and in particular microwave remote sensing of the earth.
Prof. Amir Mortazawi introduces robust wireless power transfer
Compared to conventional methods of wireless power, which require a specific distance and alignment, Prof. Mortazawi’s version operates over a range of distances and orientations without a drop in power.
Semiconductor breakthrough may be game-changer for organic solar cells
Buildings, clothing could generate power.
Stephen Forrest: ECE Bicentennial + Beyond lecture
This series of talks features world-renowned faculty with a long history at Michigan.
Precise pulses explore light’s magnetismA new laser will investigate an unusual magnetic effect that may lead to efficient solar energy harvesting.
Using University of Michigan buildings as batteries
How a building’s thermal energy can help the power grid accommodate more renewable energy sources.
IGARSS Interactive Symposium Paper Award for modeling the world’s forests
The paper outlines a better way to quantify forest structure, which has been successful in two tree species.
Two students earn scholarships to pursue work in sustainable energy
Two electrical engineering students, Paul Giessner and Noah Mitchell-Ward, were awarded scholarships from the Utility Variable-Generation Integration Group (UVIG) to support their education in wind and solar power.
Anna Stuhlmacher: Power to change the world
Anna Stuhlmacher, PhD in electrical engineering, is looking for ways to change the world through power and energy.
MICDE grant funds renewable power research
Prof. Mathieu is partnering with IOE faculty to improve the nation’s grid system
EE student Leonard Kapiloff earns PES scholarship to support studies in secure, sustainable grid
This $2000 scholarship recognizes outstanding students committed to exploring the power and energy field. Leonard wants to work in the energy industry towards a more sustainable and secure electric grid.
Parag Deotare receives AFOSR Award for research in Nanoscale Exciton-Mechanical Systems (NEXMS)
Prof. Deotare’s work will deepen our understanding of the underlying physics of exciton-mechanics interactions and help engineer novel devices for energy harvesting and up-conversion.
Solving the “Christmas light” problem so solar panels can handle shade
Just 10 percent shade cover can drop electricity production by 50 percent. A new U-M-led project aims to change that.
Solar power plant: $1.4M grant aims to cut costs
With the help of the grant, improved devices, in combination with a new coating from a U-M engineering lab, could make concentrated solar power cheaper and more efficient.
A new, low-cost way to monitor snow and ice thickness to evaluate environmental change
Mohammad has developed a new way to remotely measure the thickness of ice and snow with a technology he calls wideband autocorrelation radiometry (WiBAR).
Stephen Forrest Elected to National Academy of Sciences
Membership in the NAS is one of the highest distinctions for a scientist or engineer in the United States.
The power goes out. The aurorae stretch to the tropics. Could a major solar storm mean a year without electricity?
Charles F. BrushLighting Up the World.
Using energy storage in an environmentally friendly way – Yashen Lin earns a Dow Sustainability Fellowship
The results of Lin’s research can help us better understand how introducing DES affects the environmental impact of a power system.
Inspired by art, lightweight solar cells track the sun
By borrowing from kirigami, the ancient Japanese art of paper cutting, researchers at the University have developed solar cells that can move with the sun.
Art-inspired solar cells
Kirigami could be the key to flat, lightweight solar cells that can track the sun across the sky.
The economics of energy – Hamidreza Tavafoghi earns a Dow Sustainability Fellowship
Hamid is studying ways to increase the use of renewable energy sources on the grid.
Researching the future of remote sensing
Directed by Kamal Sarabandi the new program aims to create theoretical models for remote sensing of ice and snow.
Stephanie Crocker earns NSF Graduate Research Fellowship to bring sustainable energy to the grid
Stephanie seeks to provide continuous energy balancing on the grid by automatically controlling loads.
Alyssa Kody earns NSF Fellowship for research in energy harvesting and wireless sensing
The small-scale embedded wireless systems Alyssa works with are used in a variety of applications spanning many fields; from structural to ocean engineering.
Stephen Forrest receives 2015 Distinguished University Innovator Award
Prof. Forrest is widely acknowledged as one of the most successful academic inventors and entrepreneurs today.
The future of solar: $1.3M to advance organic photovoltaics
The grant is aimed at advancing organic photovoltaics, a carbon-based version of solar technology that promises to change the way the sun’s energy is collected.
New approaches to solar cell technology featured in Sustainability Hour
The professors addressed two very different problems the industry faces with current technology.
Prof. Robert Dick to apply cyber information to air quality management
The grant is part of a new $12.5M initiative by the National Science Foundation to encourage computing innovations for a sustainable society.
Prof. Johanna Mathieu working to bring power from sustainable sources to your home
Mathieu is working how best to integrate wind and solar power into the nation’s established electrical grid system.
Live long and phosphor: Blue LED breakthrough for efficient electronics
Researchers at the University have extended the lifetime of blue organic light emitting diodes by a factor of ten.
Peter Tchoryk: An entrepreneurial CEO
At MAC, Peter’s been able to combine his passions for scientific research and entrepreneurial creation.
Jiangfeng Wu receives Best Paper Award for research in safe fracking
The Mikio Takagi Student Prize is given to the top three Student Prize Paper Awards granted at the IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium.
Dipak Sengupta (1931-2014): In memoriam
Faculty and staff alike will miss his cheerful and gentle presence.
New research program to investigate optical energy conversion
The fundamental objective of the research initiative is to uncover, explain, and exploit dynamic magneto-optical processes and materials for new technological capabilities.
Keravnos Energy wants to make fast electric vehicle charging economical
The idea behind Keravnos Energy is for there to be an energy transfer between three entities: the building, a large stationary battery, and the car.
Transparent color solar cells fuse energy, beauty
The cells, believed to be the first semi-transparent, colored photovoltaics, have the potential to vastly broaden the use of the energy source.
‘Photon glue’ enables a new quantum mechanical state
Researchers at the University of Michigan and Queens College used light to create links between organic and inorganic semiconductors in an optical cavity.
Byeongseop Song receives Rackham International Student Fellowship
The Fellowship will help Song to continue his studies in the area of optoelectronics.
Students take a field trip to a wind farm
“The trip made me more aware of some of the practical things … like the sound of the turbines, and how they alter the look of the land.”
Research Spotlight: Better miniaturized vacuum pumps for electronics and sensors
The three microdevices created at Michigan are each particularly suited to specific applications.
David Chen awarded NASA Fellowship to improve extreme weather prediction
The goal of the study seeks to enhance the accuracy of determining ocean surface windspeed.
Rebecca Wolkoff awarded scholarship to continue her work in sustainable energy
The UVIG works with the U.S. Department of Energy to provide a forum for the critical analysis of wind and solar technology.
Prof. Mingyan Liu receives Best Paper Award at the 11th ACM/IEEE Conference on Information Processing in Sensor Networks
The goal is to be able to monitor the soil moisture with as few measurements as possible and with a high degree of accuracy.
Jinyoung Hwang receives Best Poster Award for research leading to improved solar cells
The researchers succeeded in drastically suppressing the thermal emission rate in GaSb/GaAs quantum dots — resulting in more efficient solar cells.
New method for building a low-cost, high-performance electric machine and drive could result in huge energy savings
Prof. Hofmann intends to design, build and test a 30kW brushless, self-excited synchronous field winding prototype machine that overcomes the weaknesses of the current technology.
New research program aims to make better “sense” of the world
Applications of this research range from soil sensors which allow for increased understanding of global climate change to futuristic sensory skins which can monitor the integrity of an object.
Modernizing the nation’s electric grid for alternative energy
“We are proposing an integrated solution that will combine the construction of well-positioned storage facilities that will route excess energy to where it needs to be.”
Colored solar cells could make display screens more efficient
Professor Jay Guo has developed the reflective photovoltaic color filter device that can convert absorbed light to electricity.
Solar power without solar cells: A hidden magnetic effect of light could make it possible
This new technique could make solar power cheaper and, with improved materials, more efficient.
Connor Field — Growing energy on a solar farm
“Energy will be the major concern in the United States for my generation,” Connor says. “Now is the time to research and invest in the technologies that will power our future.”
New equation could advance research in solar cellsA groundbreaking new equation could do for organic semiconductors what the Shockley ideal diode equation did for inorganic semiconductors.
Soil moisture study aims for climate change insights
Moghaddam will oversee the design and fabrication of the AirMOSS instrument, a high-powered, low-frequency radar that NASA/JPL collaborators will build for the project.
Organic laser breakthrough
The team is working toward building organic lasers that, like many inorganic lasers today, can be excited with electricity rather than light.
Ford, U of M explore new ways to speed development of future hybrid vehicles
“The main goal of this project,” explained Opila, “is to bring advanced methods to HEV and plug-in HEV design.”
Prof. Hiskens receives stim money for wind energy
The grant is to be used to develop new techniques for assessing the impact of wind generation on power system voltage control and transient stability.