Research For Our Energy Future


The Energy Challenge

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Brookhaven’s Vision

Energy research represents a major growth opportunity for Brookhaven over the next decade. The Lab has identified several energy focus areas — including biofuels, complex materials, catalysis, solar energy, and advanced energy storage — that allow us to integrate our unique facilities with our scientific and technical strengths to address scientific “grand challenges” in energy. This web site details key aspects of Brookhaven’s energy research portfolio.

We present a comprehensive, interdisciplinary approach to solve fundamental questions regarding U.S. energy independence, and to translate those discoveries into deployable technologies. The bottom line is that a long-term investment in basic research will enable paradigm-shifting advances in the energy arena. The potential payoff in improved energy efficiency and security is enormous, and is key to our nation’s continued growth and success.

Key Facilities

Brookhaven Lab’s one-of-a-kind user facilities support our energy research goals:

Center for Functional Nanomaterials

Brookhaven’s Center for Functional Nanomaterials (CFN) provides state-of-the-art capabilities for the fabrication and study of nanoscale materials, with an emphasis on atomic level tailoring to achieve desired properties and functions. Nanoscience has enormous promise in developing solutions to our energy challenges because the processes of energy production, conversion, and use — from the movement of electrons to the catalysis of reactions that convert energy from one form to another — all occur at the nanoscale. Basic research aimed at understanding the details of these processes and structures will enable scientists to design and engineer improvements to optimize efficiency and performance across the spectrum of energy production, transmission, storage, and use.

National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS)
National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS II)

One of the world’s most widely used scientific research facilities, the National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS ) provides intense beams of infrared, ultraviolet, and x-ray light to gain information about the electronic and atomic structures of materials, analyze very small samples, or study surfaces at the atomic level. Energy-related research at NSLS includes studies of the crystal structure of new materials, such as high-temperature superconductors and nanomaterials. The NSLS will be replaced in 2015 by the next-generation NSLS -II, which will be 10,000 times brighter than the existing NSLS and allow probing of nanomaterials for energy applications with unprecedented spatial and energy resolution.

New York Blue Supercomputer

Brookhaven’s New York Blue supercomputer, funded through a $26 million grant from New York State, is capable of 100 trillion calculations per second — about 10,000 times faster than a personal computer. It will be used to advance science in many areas, and particularly in nanoscale science and technology, where it will enable the complex calculations required to study the physical and chemical properties of nanoparticles being explored for their potential to foster U.S. energy independence.

Energy Research Partners
Stony Brook University & Brookhaven

Brookhaven and Stony Brook University (SBU) are partners in the Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center (AERTC), a research facility created to develop alternative energy sources and protect natural resources by taking advantage of cutting-edge technologies.

The Center, shown above, to be built at SBU and supported by $35 million in New York State funding, will be the largest facility of its kind on Long Island, and the centerpiece of a partnership among several academic institutions, research institutions, energy providers, and corporations.

AERTC’s mission is to develop innovative energy research, education, and technology deployment with a focus on efficiency, conservation, renewable energy, and nanotechnology applications for new and novel sources of energy. More than 80 projects are already in development in such areas as renewable energy sources, fuels, and conservation.

AERTC’s goals include reducing dependence on foreign oil imports, ensuring that the country is able to meet the increasing demand for energy in an environmentally sound manner, and developing a focus on renewable energy and nanotechnology applications for novel sources of energy. The Center will work to integrate basic research with wireless technology, modeling,
simulation, testing, and evaluation for a seamless transition from concept to production to distribution.

AERTC will also seek to improve the efficiency of existing fuels and the conservation of fuels — including oil and natural gas — that are in decreasing supply.

Click here for more information.

Last Modified: April 27, 2012