Thursday, November 03, 2005

UD Awarded $52.9 Million for Solar Power Research

For those who have been wondering what Allen Barnett has been up to since the collapse of AstroPower, he's still in the solar power research game. The News Journal reports that Barnett, a research professor at the University of Delaware, has helped land an unprecedented $52.9 million grant for solar power research:
Two solar researchers at UD will oversee up to $33.6 million in federal grants and $19.3 million in mostly private funds. The grant will make the university's solar research program one of the best-funded nationwide, officials said.
UD is among the leading academic solar research centers in America. The school's departmentof electrical and computer engineering, and the Institute for Energy Conversion are known in the solar industry for their innovations and for the high number of researchers they produce annually. Eleven institutions competed for the federal grant.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, part of the Pentagon known as DARPA, wants researchers to produce solar cells twice as efficient as the most advanced products available.
The project will be headed by solar pioneer Allen Barnett and university associate professor Christiana Honsberg. They are the principal investigators at the school's department of electrical and computer engineering.
The objective of the grant is to create a solar power cell that is 50% efficient. Current cells covert about 15% of light to electricity. For more on this effort, visit the Institute for Energy Conversion.
DARPA has funded basic research projects for years. Among its success stories: the Internet.


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