North Carolina A&T State University tasked with discovering the future of energy by splitting water molecules

GREENSBORO, NC (WGHP) — Protecting the planet through clean energy development will be explored in greater depth at North Carolina A&T State University.

The university’s College of Engineering has received a $10.35 million federal grant to research how to separate hydrogen and oxygen from water to create clean energy, a statement from NC said. A&T.

The grant — at least the third major energy and technology investment A&T has received this year — is part of $420 million awarded by the Department of Energy for its Energy Frontier research centerswhich are created to study future energy development and progress towards the goal of having a zero-emissions economy by 2050.

Officials Celebrate North Carolina A&T State University’s New Engineering Complex

A&T’s piece is to open, under the direction of Professor Dhananjay Kumar, the Center for Electrochemical Dynamics and Reactions on Surfaces – the acronym is CEDARS – where the Hydrogen Initiative will take place during this 4-year grant. year.

And the school is in elite company. There have been 43 grants awarded by the DOE, and nine of them have gone to laboratories, such as the famous laboratories of Oak Ridge and Los Alamos.

A&T is also the only historically black college and university, the only college in North Carolina, and one of only five in the South — Arkansas, Clemson, Florida and Georgia Tech are the others — on a list that includes MIT, Stanford, Cornell, Columbia, Princeton, Northwestern, Johns Hopkins and many other top renowned universities.

Dhananjay Kumar (NC A&T)

“This is a DOE crown jewel that has never been awarded to an HBCU until now,” Kumar said in the statement. “Not only will we work on clean energy initiatives, but we will also help improve diversity, inclusion and equity by involving high school, undergraduate and graduate students in our research. superiors from historically underserved backgrounds.”

The DOE lists Kumar as a “Principal Investigator,” but he will have a team of researchers that includes Kristen Rhinehardt of the Computational Science and Engineering department; Bishnu Bastakoti from the College of Science and Technology, Chemistry; Shyam Aravamudhan of the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering; and Caroline Booth of the College of Education.

A&T, which was founded in 1891, is renowned for its engineering and STEM programs and generally graduate more engineers than any other HBCU.

University in April received a $35 million grant of the Engineering North Carolina’s Future program, and the next day President Joe Biden visited the university and visited its engineering research center.

This was followed by a $23.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce, announced in August the creation of a clean energy workforce training program called STEPs4GROWTH.

“We are thrilled to lead this historic and innovative research center to advance our country in clean energy,” Stephanie Luster-Teasley, acting dean of the College of Energy, said in the statement. “This prize, combined with the prize of the university $23 million Steps4Growth The Clean Energy Workforce Training Award will ensure that faculty and students at NC A&T’s College of Engineering demonstrate leadership in helping to create a net-zero emissions economy and continue to promote the diversity in clean energy fields.

Connections for Boom?

Overture jet (Courtesy of Boom Supersonic)
Overture jet (Courtesy of Boom Supersonic)

That would seem like a significant development for the Triad, which plans to open two new clean energy manufacturing facilities over the next three years.

Toyota is building a battery plant for its electronic vehicles at the Greensboro Randolph Megasitebut it could be even more important for Boom Supersonic, which will build a supersonic commercial aircraft at Piedmont Triad International Airport.

“All advancements in renewable fuels are beneficial, and we are pleased to see that NC A&T has received funding to advance clean hydrogen,” Boom spokesperson Aubrey Scanlan wrote in an email response. mail to a question from the WGHP.

Boom’s jet will fly on carbon-neutral – or clean – power rather than traditional oil in an engine developed by Rolls Royce, and Boom promised to hire students from North Carolina universities in apprentice roles as he develops the Overture, his jet, and plans to have it in the air by 2029.

“Green hydrogen is an important component in the production of some sustainable aviation fuels, including power-to-liquid fuels that use renewable energy to separate carbon from carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and combine that carbon with green hydrogen to produce drop-in, zero-carbon aviation fuel,” Scanlan said.

The DOE Program

DOE’s energy research centers will include not only the 28 universities and nine laboratories, but also more than 75 additional partner institutions, according to the release. Research will range from the development of solar and nuclear energy technologies to energy storage, carbon capture, new manufacturing processes and more efficient use of critical minerals in energy technologies and manufacturing.

“Led by world-renowned scientists, DOE’s Energy Frontier Research Centers are engines of innovation that have unlocked scientific breakthroughs leading to transformative climate solutions like solar windows and carbon capture technology,” said Energy Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm in a statement. “This funding will create well-paying jobs and open doors to a range of clean energy technologies across all sectors that will be essential to reducing carbon emissions, meeting our climate goals and creating the clean infrastructure of the future. ”

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