Governor Dannel P. Malloy, joined by German Consul General to the U.S. Rolf Schütte, Fraunhofer USA Inc. President Georg Rosenfeld, UConn President Susan Herbst, and Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Daniel C. Esty, today announced a partnership between Connecticut and Fraunhofer USA that will establish the Fraunhofer Center for Energy Innovation (CEI) at UConn. The Center will focus on critical issues of energy production, storage, and distribution.
“This partnership between the state, UConn, and Fraunhofer USA is a welcome and important collaboration when it comes to finding solutions to some of the most pressing energy challenges we face,” said Governor Malloy. “With the resources, talent, and expertise of UConn and Fraunhofer, we expect to see technological breakthroughs that will help deliver a cheaper, cleaner, and more reliable energy future for Connecticut, the nation, and the world. I deeply appreciate the efforts of Presidents Rosenfeld and Herbst and their teams in establishing this partnership.”
Led by Director Prabhakar Singh, CEI will develop highly efficient and cost-effective energy conversion and storage systems. Working with industry, the Center’s research and development will concentrate on modern functional materials, such as metals, ceramics, micro-and nanostructures, as components for fuel cells and electrolyzers. It will be located at UConn’s Depot Campus with plans to relocate to the new UConn Technology Park—a partnership between the state's flagship university and various industries and organizations which is expected to open in 2015.
“This Center, which builds on UConn’s considerable strengths in energy innovation, strives to accelerate the global adoption and deployment of cost-effective and sustainable energy technologies, while nurturing a new generation of energy experts to help drive economic development,” said UConn President Herbst.
“The Fraunhofer Center for Energy Innovation combines the expertise of the founding partners for the development and commercialization of new materials and technologies to improve future energy production and storage owing to an efficient use of resources’’ said CEI Director Singh. “The aim is to accelerate the global supply of affordable and sustainable energy technologies.” Fraunhofer USA Inc.,
headquartered in Plymouth, Michigan, performs applied research under contract for federal and state governments, multinational corporations, and small to medium-sized companies. It is a subsidiary of Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, a world leading applied R&D organization in Europe with 66 institutes and research units and an annual research budget of approximately $2.5 billion.
"The sustainable, efficient and environmentally friendly use of energy is one of the major global challenges of the future’’ said Fraunhofer President Professor Reimund Neugebauer. "Consequently, we combine our advanced energy competencies in the USA with an excellent research partner, the University of Connecticut. The Fraunhofer Center for Energy Innovation expands Fraunhofer USA's portfolio of energy related technologies and will closely cooperate with the Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems in Boston.’’
The Center continues UConn’s rich history of excellence in energy innovation. In 2001, the Connecticut Global Fuel Cell Center, now the Center for Clean Energy Engineering, was founded at UConn to advance core science, technological development, and commercialization of fuel cells. In 2006, a unique partnership between the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund and three leading energy industry supporters enabled UConn to establish the Eminent Faculty Initiative in Sustainable Energy. The initiative is sustained by more than $2 million in state funds annually, along with ongoing industry support.
“The work of the CEI will lead to advances and widespread use of technologies that promise to revolutionize the energy world,” said Commissioner Esty. “By unleashing the potential of new materials to help generate power and unlocking the potential of energy storage, the CEI will allow for quicker and greater deployment of alternative sources of power, freeing us from reliance on fossil fuels and all of the political and environmental risks they entail.”