September 4, 2014

UofL’s Conn Center Prepares to Expand, Excel

By Tavi Wallace:

The University of Louisville’s Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research is planning a five year, $20 million expansion for its facilities and staff in the near future, putting it on the forefront of energy source research.

For those unfamiliar with the Conn Center, it is a new addition to campus. At only 5 years old, it was originally founded at UofL’s J.B. Speed School of Engineering in 2009. The Conn Center’s innovative field of research looks at ways to increase homegrown energy sources to meet the national need, while at the same time being able to reduce energy consumption and dependence on foreign resources.

“The Conn Center will utilize these valuable resources toward our goal of becoming a national center of excellence,” said Mahendra Sunkara, director of the Conn Center, last week in a press release.

Even before the renovation project began, the Conn Center had made a name for itself in innovative energy-related research.

“U of L was able to receive some of this grant money because of the reputation that the Conn Center is building in renewable energy research,” said John R. Karman, U of L’s communication and marketing specialist.

The University of Louisville is not the only school looking into renewable resource research. It will be undertaking a collaborative, multi-institutional research effort. Teaming up with U of L on this effort are nine other state-wide institutions, including the University of Kentucky and Western Kentucky University.

The Conn Center received an award in the form of a grant from the National Science Foundation, which is a United States government agency that supports fundamental research and education.

The new project, called “Powering the Kentucky Bioeconomy for a Sustainable Future,” is going to be addressing several significant challenges that the state is currently facing in the energy economy. The main goal will be transitioning toward the use of renewable resources, considered a vital step in the right direction for our planet’s future.  The main focus points for the project will be the areas of electrochemical energy storage, biomass feed stocks and nanocomposite membranes.


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