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Physical Sciences and Engineering

Energy Frontier Research Centers

EFRC
Argonne pulls together science and engineering leaders across institutional boundaries, allowing them to take a collaborative approach to specific scientific challenges.

In 2009, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science/Office of Basic Energy Sciences established the Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs). These EFRCs are composed of small teams of leading university and national laboratory researchers focused on solving specific scientific problems that are blocking clean energy development. Since 2009, the EFRCs have produced over ten thousand peer-reviewed scientific publications and generated hundreds of inventions at various stages of the patent process, fostering a wide range of new technologies that have benefited multiple private sector companies, both large and small.

In 2018, DOE announced $100 million in funding for 42 EFRCs. As part of that announcement, Argonne was selected to lead a new EFRC, Advanced Materials for EnergyWater Systems, whose mission is to understand and design adsorption, reactivity, and transport at water-solid interfaces to enable future advances in materials for efficient water treatment. Argonne will also continue to lead the Center for Electrochemical Energy Science, whose mission is to explore the fundamental chemistry and materials underlying batteries and energy storage. In addition, Argonne is a key partner in six other Centers:

  • Center for Novel Pathways to Quantum Coherence in Materials
  • Quantum Materials for Energy Efficient Neuromorphic Computing
  • Center for the Advancement of Topological Semimetals
  • Center for Light Energy Activated Redox Processes
  • Inorganometallic Catalyst Design Center
  • Fluid Interface Reactions, Structures and Transport Center

Argonne’s integrated and flexible approach to research and discovery is ideal for EFRC work because we pull together science and engineering leaders across institutional boundaries, allowing them to take a collaborative approach to specific scientific challenges.

Advanced Materials for Energy-Water Systems

Advanced Materials for Energy-Water Systems (AMEWS)

A huge number of the challenges we face surrounding water center on the interface between water and the materials that make up the systems that handle, process, and treat water. Gaining a deeper understanding of what takes place when water — and matter dissolved or suspended in water — comes into contact with those solids is the focus of the Argonne-led Advanced Materials for Energy-Water Systems effort. For example, in many water systems, a phenomenon known as fouling — the accumulation of unwanted material on solid surfaces to the detriment of function — occurs at interfaces. Another area AMEWS is exploring is reactivity, or chemical reactions, at interfaces. Argonne is partnering with the University of Chicago and Northwestern University on the four-year effort. Argonne’s effort is led by Seth Darling.

Center for Electrochemical Energy Science

Center for Electrochemical Energy Science (CEES)

The Center for Electrochemical Energy Science at Argonne is a partnership that includes Northwestern University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Purdue University. These institutions bring a world-class team of scientists to develop a fundamental understanding about electrochemical processes at interfaces and within materials inherent to energy storage systems to advance this critical national and societal need. CEES aims to understand the electrochemical reactivity of oxide materials and their interfaces under the extreme conditions relevant to energy storage systems, and create a robust fundamental understanding of electrochemically driven reactivity using lithium-ion battery chemistry as a well-defined model system. Argonne’s effort is led by Paul Fenter.

Quantum-Materials for Energy Efficient Neuromorphic-Computing (Q-MEEN-C)

The Center for Quantum-Materials for Energy Efficient Neuromorphic--Computing will lay down the quantum-materials-based foundation for the development of an energy-efficient, fault-tolerant computer that is inspired and works like a brain (“neuromorphic”). The University of California, San Diego, leads this center.

Center for Novel Pathways to Quantum Coherence in Materials (NPQC)

The mission of the Center for Novel Pathways to Quantum Coherence in Materials is to expand dramatically our understanding and control of coherence in solids by building on recent discoveries in quantum materials along with advances in experimental and computational techniques. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is leading the center.

Center for the Advancement of Topological Semimetals (CATS)

The Center for the Advancement of Topological Semimetals seeks to understand and discover new quantum phenomena and functionality in topological materials for future applications in spin-based electronics, computing, and sensing. Ames Laboratory leads this center

Center for Light Energy Activated Redox Processes (LEAP)

The mission of the Center for Light Energy Activated Redox Processes is to develop the fundamental scientific understanding needed to use efficient, light-driven, multi-electron redox processes to power energy-demanding chemistry. This center is led by Northwestern University.

Inorganometallic Catalyst Design Center

Inorganometallic Catalyst Design Center (ICDC)

The Inorganometallic Catalyst Design Center was formed to design materials and processes for energy-efficient conversion of shale gas components. The University of Minnesota is heading the effort.

The Fluid Interface Reactions, Structures and Transport Center

The Fluid Interface Reactions, Structures and Transport Center (FIRST)

The Fluid Interface Reactions, Structures and Transport Center addresses another aspect of electrical energy storage by developing greater understanding and models of the nanoscale environment at fluid-solid interfaces -- which is a key environment in batteries. The center is led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Learn more about the DOE sponsored Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs)

As world demand for energy rapidly expands, transforming the way we generate, supply, transmit, store, and use energy will be one of the defining challenges for America and the globe in the 21st century.

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