Lawrence Berkeley National Lab–Wed, March 11, 2009
by Molly Ward -- March 11th, 2009
Wednesday, March 11 began with presentations and tours of the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBNL). (http://www.lbl.gov)
Heinz Frei presented his work on Helios-SERC. (http://www.lbl.gov/msd/helios_site/index_helios.html) The Helios effort comprises a solar energy initiative with the primary goal of developing methods to “store” solar energy in the form of renewable transportation fuel. Helios SERC scientists are developing solar-driven chemical converters that will create transportation fuels from water and carbon dioxide. Research focuses on advanced nanomaterials for use in solar light collectors and electrodes, a new generation of catalysts for energy-efficiency chemistry, and specialized soft and hard membranes for integrating the light harvesting, charge separation and fuel forming components.
Dr. Frei noted that the goal of the center is to demonstrate a solar fuel generator with 1% or greater efficiency from photon to fuel. He discussed vibrational spectroscopy and laser photochemistry in solids, nanosecond FT-infrared spectroscopy, and his recent work in the development of inorganic polynuclear photocatalysts in nanoporous silicas for carbon dioxide reduction and water oxidation. Following the discussion, he toured us through his lab and detailed the specific purposes and functions of the research instruments in the lab.
The concluding presentation at LBNL was given by Vince Battaglia, who discussed the battery program, a research project “aimed at developing more environmentally friendly technologies for generating and storing energy, including better batteries and fuel cells, low-emission combustion, and better sensors and materials for environmentally cleaner sources of energy, and energy-efficient sources of light.” (http://eetd.lbl.gov/r-aet.html) Dr. Battaglia’s research is directed toward the fabrication and characterization of rechargeable lithium batteries. (http://eetd.lbl.gov/newsletter/nl27/eetd-nl27-3.html)
Dr. Battaglia kept us on-our-toes, laughing and energetic throughout his presentation. Following his discussion, we took a brief general tour and learned the history of LBNL. Our visit concluded with a tour through Dr. Barraglia’s lab.