Energy fellowships foster innovation, collaboration

Four doctoral students — sporting expertise in computational engineering, urban planning, chemical engineering and macromolecular science — have been named winners of the Michigan Memorial Phoenix Energy Institute-Rackham Energy Fellowships.

The students will receive two years of funding and work with faculty advisers under the umbrella of the Michigan Memorial Phoenix Energy Institute (MMPEI), which develops, coordinates and promotes multidisciplinary energy research and education at the University.

The energy fellowship is in its second year and jointly is funded by the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies.

"The successes in the state's, the nation's and the world's energy challenges are not going to spring from one source, but rather will come through thoughtful and energetic collaboration across many disciplines," says Gary Was, institute director. "We are excited to be able to take some of our best new researchers and give them a set-up to explore their ideas across many disciplines. This is where good ideas become great solutions."

The recipients are:

• Richard Chen: Harnessing the wind data

A doctoral student in industrial and operations engineering, Chen wants to develop models and algorithms for wind network design so policymakers can make informed decisions.

• Steven Edmund: Getting more flex out of fuel

Edmund, a doctoral student in chemical engineering, wants to develop a way of using microwaves to maintain the activity of fuel reforming catalysts in presence of carbon and sulfur contaminants.

• Bong Gi Kim: Making a better solar cell

Kim, who is pursuing a doctorate in macromolecular science and engineering, will be working with small molecular organic dyes and nanotechnology to overcome both the efficiency issue of organic solar cells and the cost issue of the silicon-based solar cells.

• Cameron Weimar: Bringing together renewable energy and smart growth

Weimar, who is working toward a doctorate in urban and regional planning, plans on examining land use policies at the state and local levels to understand if land is available, accessible and appropriate to devote to energy, and will tap into U-M's energy resources to fully examine the issue.