It is my distinct pleasure to present the spring 2015 issue of The Joule – a biannual overview of activities and events in energy-related research and education at the University of Notre Dame. I am especially delighted to share with you the progress we have made over the past six months creating new programs and services that will sustain our efforts and help us to further our growth in energy-related research and scholarly activities at Notre Dame. 
One of the most significant enhancements is in the research theme areas. It seemed essential for us to identify research areas that represent most of the energy-related research at Notre Dame. I am happy to introduce those areas to you in the Research section of this report. Next, we thought it was important to have people who would help us to nurture and facilitate the research and scholarly growth in each of the research areas, so we have identified several faculty members to serve as ND Energy Faculty Fellows. You will meet them in the People section of this report. And, lastly, we spent a considerable amount of time getting to know the energy landscape at Notre Dame, building new relationships, and forming new partnerships, all in an effort to broaden the scope of ND Energy. Much of this is still a “work-in-progress”, and as new programs and services develop, you can learn more about them on our revised Website at   

Best wishes as another school year comes to a close. I hope you and your families will have an enjoyable and productive summer. 
Kind regards,
Peter C. Burns    
Director, Center for Sustainable Energy at Notre Dame (ND Energy)


New ND Energy faculty.  Faculty at Notre Dame may become members of ND Energy Faculty at any time. ND Energy faculty contribute to the energy-related research and education at Notre Dame. We are pleased to welcome the following new ND Energy Faculty members: Thomas Degnan, Tony and Sarah Earley Professor of Energy and the Environment, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering; Kyle Doudrick, Assistant Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences; Yahya Kurama, Professor and Associate Chair, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences; Zhangli Peng, Assistant Professor, Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering; Ashley Thrall, Cardinal John O’Hara Assistant Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences.


ND Energy Faculty Fellows
ND Energy Faculty Fellows are appointed by the Director to serve as leaders and advisors in the research theme areas as well as primary points-of-contact for their appointed theme area. The Faculty Fellows help facilitate collaborations among the energy faculty for research proposals and assist with the future directions of ND Energy. Click here to meet them. 

ND Energy Faculty Awards and Recognitions 
Ani Aprahamian, the Frank M. Freimann Professor of Physics, was elected to chair of the American Physical Society’s Division of Nuclear Physics for 2014-2015. She also was named chair for the Advisory Committee for Physics Today. 

New Members of the Student Energy Board
ND Energy is pleased to welcome a new Student Energy Board and start planning for Energy Week. The Student Energy Board (formerly Student Advisory Board) is a group of 12 industrious and talented undergraduate and graduate students interested in energy education and research. Click here to meet them.

Research Focus Areas  
ND Energy has undertaken reorganization of its research theme areas. The six research themes are:  
  1. Energy Conversion and Efficiency
  2. Smart Distribution and Storage
  3. Sustainable Bio/Fossil Fuels
  4. Sustainable and Secure Nuclear
  5. Transformative Solar
  6. Transformative Wind 
All affiliated faculty reside in one or more of these areas. We invite you to explore our research directions here.

Blowing in the Right Direction: Notre Dame Professor Wins Department of Energy Funding as Part of International Consortium on Wind Energy Forecasting 
Harinda Joseph Fernando, Wayne and Diana Murdy Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences at the University of Notre Dame, has received funding from the Department of Energy (DoE) towards wind forecasting improvements.  The three-year, high profile Wind Forecasting Improvement Project 2 (WFIP2) aims to enhance the reliability of wind forecasting around the world, especially in difficult or complex geographical areas, in order to reduce the cost of grid integration, optimize performance through better short-term modeling, and enhance the opportunities for renewable energy.  Read More

ND-Gain funded by Kresge Foundation to develop U.S. Urban Adaptation Assessment 
The The University of Notre Dame Global Adaptation Index (ND-GAIN) will lead an adaptation advisory committee to determine local adaptation indicators for the United States, using these indicators to create a five-city pilot urban adaptation assessment. Funded by the Kresge Foundation, ND-GAIN will convene an advisory committee of leading U.S. adaptation influencers, including both researchers and practitioners working on resilience. This committee will create the first set of national measures for urban adaptation and will populate the measures for five initial cities, to be identified once the study is underway.  Read More

Proposals and Awards for CY2014 
At the end of CY2014, ND Energy faculty submitted over $52 million in energy-related research proposals and received almost $8 million in funding, nearly doubling the amount of external awards received from last year. 

Materials Characterization Facility (MCF)
The MCF recently added a thermal evaporator into its diverse suite of characterization and synthetic tools. The Oerlikon Leybold thermal evaporator has two stages: one that can tilt and rotate, and another that can rotate and is water-cooled. Users wishing to evaporate thin metal films or learn more about the instrument should contact Dr. Ian Lightcap, the MCF manager.

MCF Lab Assistant 
Clare Murphy, a freshman classics major and energy studies minor, was hired as the MCF lab assistant.  She brings valuable recordkeeping and organizational support to the MCF and its 134 active users.

Research Fellowships

ND Energy offers competitive fellowships to undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral research associates at Notre Dame. These fellowships support the advancement of new or enhanced energy-related research developments and help to broaden the educational experiences of the students and postdocs receiving the awards. Below is a list of the 2015 recipients.

The Vincent P. Slatt Fellowship for Undergraduate Research in Energy Systems and Processes (made possible through the generosity of Christopher [ND ’80] and Jeanine Slatt in honor of Vincent P. Slatt, Notre Dame Class of 1943, since 2006). The 2015 recipients are:
  • Sara Boukdad (Dr. Peter C. Burns), Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences, The Formation of Uranyl Peroxide Nanoclusters from Uranyl Phosphate Minerals.
  • Hannah Fitch (Dr. Peter Kilpatrick), Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, The Impact of Petroporphyrins on Asphaltene Self Assembly and Water-in-oil Emulsion Stabilization.
  • Justin Hoffman (Dr. Seth Brown), Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Osmium 2,2′-Biphenyl-bridged Bis(amidophenoxide) Complexes: A Novel Method to Compare Classical and Non-Classical Reaction Pathways.
  • Brian Keene (Dr. Edward Maginn), Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Developing Capabilities for Porous Solid Monte Carlo Simulation in Cassandra.
  • Irene Kurtz (Dr. Joan F. Brennecke), Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Liquid-Liquid Equilibria of Ternary Systems of Alkanes, Xylenes, and Ionic Liquids.
  • Andrew Lehmer (Dr. William Schneider), Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Computational Models for "Natural Gas Liquids" Catalysis.
  • Monica McFadden (Dr. Robert Nerenberg), Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences, Bench and Pilot Studies of the Membrane-Aerated Biofilm Reactor (MABR) for Energy-Efficient Wastewater Treatment.
  • Benjamin Schultz (Dr. William Phillip), Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Elucidating the Effect of Membrane Charge Density upon the Performance of Forward Osmosis Modules for the Treatment of Water Produced from Extracting Unconventional Petroleum Resources.
  • Margaret Tucker (Dr. Ian Lightcap, ND Energy), Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences, Polymer-Templated, Quantum Dot Rainbow Solar Cells.
Atlanta University Center (AUC): Undergraduate students affiliated with the AUC have received Slatt Fellowships since 2012. The AUC is the world’s largest consortium of African American private institutions of higher education, designed to channel intellectual resources to the advancement of minority, economically disadvantaged, and under-served communities. AUC students conduct energy-related research during the summer months at Notre Dame. They are matched with faculty who have projects within their areas of research interest. The 2015 recipients are:
  • Leandre Kibeho (Physics and Chemical Engineering, Morehouse College)Notre Dame Faculty Advisor, Dr. William Phillip, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Implementing Selective Swelling Agents to Tailor the Nanostructure and Transport Properties of Self-assembled Block Polymer Membranes.
  • Gqwetha Ncube (Dual Degree Engineering and Chemistry, Spelman College).Notre Dame Faculty Advisor, Dr. Tengfei Luo, Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, Trapping Molecules using Low Energy and Low Temperature Directional Solvent Extraction. 
The Forgash Undergraduate Student Fellowship for Solar Energy Research (made possible through the generosity of John [ND ’00] and Karla Forgash since 2009). The 2015 recipient is: 
  • Abigail Swint, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (Dr. Prashant Kamat). She will be using a ligand exchange method to create multiple different gold nanoclusters to test in liquid-junction solar cells and will determine which ligand produces the greatest efficiency.  
The Patrick and Jana Eilers Graduate Student Fellowship for Energy Related Research (made possible through the generosity of Patrick [ND ’90] and Jana Eilers and Edward Fitzpatrick, Jr. [ND ’54] since 2012). The 2015 recipients are:
  • Yong-Siou Chen, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry (Dr. Prashant Kamat), BiVO4 – Hybrid Perovskite Tandem Photoelectrodes for Wireless Solar Fuels Production.
  • Christopher Paolucci, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (Dr. William Schneider), Computational Discovery of Versatile, Robust Catalysts for Selective Reduction of NOx to N2.
ND Energy Postdoctoral Fellowship Program (funded by the Sustainable Energy Initiative (SEI), a Strategic Research Investment (SRI) by the University). The Postdoctoral Fellowship Program was initiated in 2014 to enhance energy-related research at Notre Dame and to build a community of outstanding postdoctoral scholars. Awards are granted on a rolling basis for one year and may be renewed for an additional year with approval. There are currently seven ND Energy Postdoctoral Fellows. They are:
  • Dr. Peng Cui, Department of Chemistry (Dr. Vlad Iluc), Late-Transition Metal Pincer-Type Complexes Involving Metal-Ligan Cooperation for Alkane and Small Molecule Activation.
  • Dr. Tao Jiang, Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering (Dr. Tengfei Luo), Nanobubble Steam Generation by Organic Dye Nanoparticles.
  • Dr. Ashish Karma, Environmental Change Initiative/Department of Biological Sciences (Dr. Jessica Hellmann), Energy Sustainable Solutions using Green Infrastructure for an Urban Environment.
  • Dr. Guoliang Li, Department of Chemistry (Dr. Jon Camden), Examining and Tailoring Plasmonic Energy Transfer for Superior Solar Energy Harvesting Devices.
  • Dr. Shuangjiang Luo, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (Dr. Ruilan Guo), Nano-engineered Mixed Matrix Membranes for Energy Efficient Gas Separation.
  • Dr. Matthew Smylie, Department of Physics (Dr. Boldizsar Janko), Irradiation-based increase in HTSC critical current densities.
  • Dr. Chad Stephenson, Department of Electrical Engineering (Dr. Mark Wistey), Band Structure Engineering for Enhanced Free Carrier Absorption in Photovoltaics.

Education and Outreach

Energy Studies Minor
ND Interest in the Energy Studies Minor (ESM) at Notre Dame has continued to increase since its inception in 2012. From only one graduate in its inaugural year, we have grown to 11 graduates expected in May 2015. Their majors span Arts & Letters, Business, Engineering and Science. Research and project interests are wind, solar, nuclear, as well as social psychology. Congratulations to our seniors.
GLOBES Graduate Student Certificate - New Partnership ND Energy and the GLOBES Graduate Student Certificate Program in Environment and Society are pleased to announce a partnership to advance interdisciplinary graduate education in energy studies. Housed within the Reilly Center for science, technology, and values, GLOBES offers students advanced training to address challenges and opportunities in an interdisciplinary, professional marketplace. The program allows science and engineering focused students to explore policy, leadership, and communication skills. Click here to learn more about the program.

Undergraduate Sustainability Research Expo
The Undergraduate Sustainability Research Expo was held in the Hesburgh Library Concourse on Monday, January 26. Sponsored by ND Energy, the Environmental Change Initiative, GLOBES at the Reilly Center, and the Minor in Sustainability, this program offers all undergraduate students the opportunity to meet with faculty members and graduate students engaged in sustainability research. It also provides a means for helping students match their research interests with available research opportunities at Notre Dame. 

Science Alive 2015
ND Energy participated in the annual Science Alive! at the St. Joseph County Public Library on Saturday, February 7. Our room of exhibits had over 1,200 visitors. Read more and view pictures here.

Junior Parents Weekend
ND Energy welcomed over 100 junior Engineering students and their parents during Junior Parents Weekend on Saturday, February 21. Visitors learned about current energy-related research projects while touring laboratories located in Stinson-Remick Hall, including the Materials Characterization Facility, Notre Dame Nanofabrication Facility (Cleanroom), Materials Science in Actinides Energy Frontier Research Center, Environmental Actinide Chemistry Laboratory, and the Ionic Liquids Laboratory.

Northern Indiana Regional Science and Engineering Fair
The Northern Indiana Regional Science and Engineering Fair (NIRSEF) was held at Notre Dame on Saturday, February 28. Students who are selected by judges at their Local School Fair to advance to the Regional level attend the NIRSEF. ND Energy was pleased to sponsor two awards, one for a middle school and one for a high school student. Read more about the winning projects here.

Energy Week 2015 - Save the Date
ND The Student Energy Board is energetically planning the ninth annual Energy Week to be held from October 5 through 10, culminating in an exciting football game against Navy. Evening programs about energy policy, careers in energy, and an international topic are on the drawing board. The week will not be complete without our quad display to kick off the program, research poster forum, power plant tours, and Football Friday and Saturday activities. Watch our website in the fall for further details. Please contact Elizabeth Westfall if you wish to participate in Energy Week. 

Distinguished Lectures
  • January 21, 2015, Peter Littlewood, Director, Argonne National Laboratory, “Physics of Sustainability.”
  • February 19, 2015, Vikram Dalal, Director, Microelectronics Research Center, Distinguished Professor of Engineering, Iowa State University, “Vapor Deposited Perovskite Cells:  Electronic Properties and Structural Stability.”
  • March 18, 2015, Bruce Huber, Professor of Law, University of Notre Dame, "Environmental Protection Agency: Clean Power Plan."
  • March 30, 2015, Paul Mulvaney, ARC Laureate Professor, School of Chemistry, The University of Melbourne, Australia, “Gold Nanocrystals: Single Particle Catalysis, Energy Transfer and Superlattice Dynamics.”
  • April 16, 2015, Thomas Meyer, Arey Professor of Chemistry, Director, Energy Frontier Research Center on Solar Fuels, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, “Making Oxygen from Sunlight and Water."
Click here for more information about each of the distinguished lectures. 

ND Energy Sponsorships

ND Energy is pleased to sponsor energy-related events and activities both on- and off-campus in support of the University’s mission and values of being a leader in higher education and research. Programs sponsored recently by ND Energy include: 
  • 1st Annual Graduate Student Symposium, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, March 9, 2015, University of Notre Dame - support for afternoon poster session.
  • American Chemical Society (ACS) Division of Nuclear Chemistry and Technology, 249th National Meeting and Exposition, March 22-26, 2015, Denver, Colorado - support for Seaborg Awary Symposium in honor of Dr. Heino Nitsche.
  • 2nd Midwest Electron Microscopy Workshop, May 19, 2015, University of Notre Dame – support for workshop.
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Center for Sustainable Energy at Notre Dame
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Notre Dame, IN 46556
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