Spring 2013

Welcome to the Spring 2013 issue of the cSEND newsletter.  The Center for Sustainable Energy at Notre Dame is a University Research Center whose mission is to advance innovative energy-related research, education and outreach programs to address the global challenges of creating a more sustainable energy future. This issue highlights recent activities, funding, and research initiatives at Notre Dame that support the cSEND mission.

For more information about energy related research, education and outreach at Notre Dame, visit or contact cSEND Administration.

Top New Stories

cSEND Annual Report

We are pleased to present the 2012 Annual Report for the Center for Sustainable Energy at Notre Dame (cSEND). This report highlights our most significant accomplishments and activities over the past fiscal year, beginning on July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2012. We hope you will enjoy reading about our progress. As always, we appreciate your support of and interest in energy-related research, education and outreach at Notre Dame and welcome your feedback as we continue to work towards creating a more sustainable energy future for all. Read Annual Report
Joan Brennecke, cSEND Director
Kenneth Henderson, cSEND Associate Director 

Honors and Appointments

degnan_jr_thomas_f_10b_copy_2_We are delighted to share the announcement of election of Thomas Degnan to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). Tom has been a long-time supporter of the University and the Center for Sustainable Energy at Notre Dame (cSEND). He has served in various advisory roles since the center's inception in 2005 and continues to volunteer his services as an active member of cSEND's Alumni Advisory Board.

Ten University of Notre Dame faculty members have been named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in honor of their efforts toward advancing science applications that are deemed scientifically or socially distinguished. Congratulations to cSEND faculty, Stefan Frauendorf and Olaf Weist on thier appointments. more

Kudos to cSEND faculty member Ed Maginn, Professor and Chair of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, who was elected to the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal of Physical Chemistry, effective January 1, 2013.

Notre Dame Researchers Examining Electric Vehicles and the Power Grid

As plug-in electric vehicles become an ever more central part of America’s daily life, University of Notre Dame researchers are anticipating what that development will mean for the nation’s power grid. Under funding from the National Science Foundation’s Cyber-Physical Systems Program, a research group is attempting to develop mathematical algorithms to help guide the integration of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) into the power grid. The research team, which includes members of cSEND faculty-- Vijay Gupta, Yih-Fang Huang and Peter Bauer-- views an electric transport system as an eventual win-win for consumers, electric and transportation companies, and the environment. more

Notre Dame Research Could Improve Sustainability and Cost-effectiveness of Wastewater 

Robert NerenbergcSEND faculty member,  Robert Nerenberg is sharing his promising new line of research that has the capability of significantly decreasing chemical costs and carbon footprint  with the wastewater treatment industryNerenberg, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering and earth sciences, points out that wastewater treatment plants are increasingly using a biologic nutrient removal (BNR) process to protect human health and the environment. This BNR process typically adds an external electron donor, or carbon source, such as methanol or ethanol. However, these chemicals are expensive, have toxicity and handling concerns, and can have a significant carbon footprint. more

Research Awards

cSEND faculty received $285,000 in external funding for energy-related research from December 2012-January 2013.

Joan Brennecke, Edward Maginn, and William Schneider received funding from Los Alamos National Laboratory for their project titled, "Next Generation Ionic Liquids for Plutonium Science, Separation and Production." Dr. Brennecke also received support from Ionic Research Technologies, LLC to characterize EMIM acetate and EMIM lactate.

Masuro Kuno received funding from the National Science Foundation for his project, "Direct absorption spectroscopy of individual nanostructures."

William Schneider received funding from the Department of Energy for his project, "Towards Realistic Models of Heterogenous Catalysis: Simulations of Redox Catalysis from First Principles."


Education and Outreach

Students use a Geiger counter to test minerals and glassware for radiation.Stepping up the Energy at Science Alive

In its second year of participation in Science Alive at the Saint Joseph County Public Library in downtown South Bend, cSEND was host to an entire room focused on Energy! Students and post docs from nine different labs at the University of Notre Dame along with the cSEND Student Advisory Board staffed the room with booths of energy-related, interactive displays. More than 3,000 visitors participated over the course of the day. more

Upcoming Lectures and Events

William Kamkwamba: The Boy that Harnessed the Wind

Monday, March 18, 2012 7:00 pm, doors open at 6 pm
Notre Dame Conference Center at McKenna Hall

William will tell his story of how he was forced to drop out of school as a young teenager and out of photographs and diagrams from a book from his small library, he engineered a wind turbine out of junk parts to power electronics in his Malawian home. William has been featured on TED talks (Technology, Education, and Design) and dreams of making renewable energy available to everyone in his home country of Malawi. 
Sponsored by cSEND, the Center for Social Concerns, the College of Engineering Edison Lecture Fund, the College of Science Lynch Endowment, The Reilly Center, The Office of Sustainability, the College of Arts and Letters, and in partnership with Malawi Matters and Better World Books. This event is free and open to the public. more

Green Technology Symposium: Legal, Ethical and Moral Considerations

Thursday, March 21, 2013 9:30 pm-1:30 pm, McCartan Courtroom
cSEND is proud to co-sponsor the symposium, "Green Technology: Legal, Ethical and Moral Considerations" hosted by the Notre Dame Law School’s Journal of Law, Ethics, and Public Policy (JLEPP). A keynote speaker and a panel of distinguished faculty will discuss the ethical and legal considerations of green technology. This event is free and open to faculty, students, and staff at the University of Notre Dame and to the general public. 

Michael Skelly: Sustainable Business

Monday, March 25, 2013 12:00 pm-1:00 pm, Room 162 Mendoza College of Business
michaelskelly_cSEND is pleased to welcome Mr. Michael Skelly to the University of Notre Dame to speak with Notre Dame undergraduate and graduate students about sustainable business. Michael Skelly is the Founder and President of Clean Line Energy, which focuses on developing high voltage, long-haul transmission lines to connect the best renewable energy resources in North America to communities and cities that lack access to new, low-cost renewable power. This event is open to students, faculty, and staff at the University of Notre Dame. more

Dr. Edward S. Rubin: A Modeling Framework to Assess Costs and Uncertainties of Carbon Capture Technology Options

Tuesday April 2, 2013 3:30 pm- 4:30 pm, 140 Debartalo Hall with the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, cSEND welcomes Dr. Edward S. Rubin, Alumni Chair Professor of Environmental Engineering and Science at Carnegie Mellon University, who will discuss global climate change concerns and how these concerns have sparked widespread interest in CO2 capture and storage (CCS) as a method of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from electric power plants and other large industrial facilities. This event is open to faculty, students, and staff at the University of Notre Dame.  more

Climate Change and the Common Good Conference

Monday, April 8 –Wednesday, April 10, 2013

University of Notre Dame will host a multidisciplinary exploration of the challenges and opportunities society faces in addressing climate change and resource scarcity. From scientists and ethicists to policy and national security experts, this groundbreaking conference will bring together a diverse array of scholars and leaders to approach the complexities of climate disruption in a meaningful and productive way. This event is open to the students, faculty, staff, and the public. Event is free for Notre Dame and Saint Mary's students, faculty, and staff. There is a registration fee for all others.  For the complete conference program and to register, visit

Switch Project Documentary

Tuesday, April 9, 2013 7:00 pm, 101 Jordan Hall of ScienceSwitch - To a Smarter Future

What does the future of energy really hold? In this documentary,  Dr. Scott Tinker explores the world’s leading energy sites, from coal to solar, oil to biofuels, many highly restricted and never before seen on film. He gets straight answers from the people driving energy today, international leaders of government, industry and academia. In the end, he cuts through the confusion to discover a path to our future that is surprising and remarkably pragmatic. After the documentary screening, Notre Dame faculty will participate in a Q & A session. Event is free and open to the public. Sponsored by the cSEND Student Advisory Board and GreeND. More

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cSEND Services

Proposal Preparation Assistance for cSEND Faculty

The cSEND staff is available to help Notre Dame faculty with proposal preparation, budget management and financial coodination, education and outreach development, and project management and execution.  more

Materials Characterization Facility is available to users from the University of Notre Dame and outside institutions.

The Materials Characterization Facility (MCF) is a core research facility of the Center for Sustainable Energy at Notre Dame (cSEND). This core facility provides researchers with modern instrumentation and expertise for solid and liquid material characterization by spectroscopic, thermal, X-ray, BET, and spectrometric analytical methods. The MCF also combines the capabilities for material synthesis and modification and enables characterization and in-situ formation studies of complex actinide materials containing transuranium elements.

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