Washington, D.C.—The Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded Carnegie $10 million over four years for basic research that could lead to the discovery of new energy materials through its program to support Energy Frontier Research Centers. The Carnegie center, Energy Frontier Research in Extreme Environments (EFree II), will be headquartered at Carnegie’s Geophysical Laboratory and directed by Russell J. Hemley.

Extreme environments of pressure and temperature make radical changes to the structure and properties of matter. The goal of EFree II, one of 32 centers awarded funding in this round, is to use extreme conditions as a means to discover new materials needed to address major energy challenges faced by the nation.

The principal focus of EFree II is the design, synthesis, and stabilization of revolutionary materials for energy conversion, storage, and transport. The program leverages on-going work undertaken in the first phase of the center, initiated in 2009.

Partners in this Carnegie-led center include world-leading groups in five universities—Caltech, Cornell, Penn State, Lehigh, and Colorado School of Mines—and will use facilities built and managed by the Geophysical Laboratory at Argonne, Brookhaven, and Oak Ridge National Laboratories. Nine Geophysical Laboratory scientists will participate in the effort, along with Russell Hemley as director and Tim Strobel as associate director.

More than 200 proposals competed for the 32 projects that received funding. Carnegie was the only non-profit institution to receive funding, and the only center located in Washington, D.C. Twenty-three of the projects are led by universities; eight are led by National Laboratories. Of the 32, 10 projects are new, while the others are renewals.

Hemley remarked: “EFree II will conduct bold, high-risk discovery science leading to next generation materials needed address a broad range of unsolved energy problems.We are pleased that the Department of Energy continues to value both the unique capabilities of Carnegie and its scientists as well as the institution’s long-standing commitments to this exciting area of basic research.”

Carnegie president Richard A. Meserve congratulated Hemley and his colleagues. He noted that “some of the most serious problems confronting the nation relate to energy. It is noteworthy that Carnegie’s basic research can open pathways to solutions.”

U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said: “….we are mobilizing some of our most talented scientists to join forces and pursue the discoveries and breakthroughs that will lay the foundation for our nation’s energy future.”

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High Pressure Physics
Materials Science