INL News Release
Sept. 15, 2011

Kortny Rolston, 208-526-0962,
Ethan Huffman, 208-526-0660,

CAES wins three research grants worth more than $5 million

IDAHO FALLS — September started with celebrations for Idaho energy scientists. In just one week, researchers with the Center for Advanced Energy Studies, a partnership between Idaho National Laboratory and the state’s three public research universities, won three different grants worth $5.3 million.

The grants, all awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy, will support research related to solar energy, geothermal energy and energy efficiency. The winning research teams represent collaborations between Boise State University, University of Idaho, Idaho State University and Idaho National Laboratory.

"Winning these grants illustrates the power of collaboration and what the CAES partners can achieve by working together," said Bill Rogers, CAES director.

The string of successes began Sept. 6 when CAES's Energy Policy Institute, headquartered at BSU, learned it will lead a $2.8 million research project. As part of DOE's Sunshot Initiative to make solar energy more cost-competitive and widespread, the project will develop an open-source Geographic Information System (GIS) tool that quantifies natural resources and physical restraints to identify potential solar utility sites. The project is a collaboration between BSU, UI and INL.

Just two days later, CAES geothermal researchers at INL and UI learned they'd also nabbed a new DOE grant. The CAES Geofluids Energy Initiative won up to $1 million to work on improving the accuracy of geothermal reservoir temperature predictions, which could help lower geothermal exploration costs. The project was one of 32 geothermal energy projects that received a total of $38 million in DOE funding.

The CAES grant trifecta was completed on Sept. 13, when the CAES-led Energy Efficiency Research Initiative (CEERI) won $1.5 million from DOE. The team includes BSU, ISU and UI. The grant will fund an Industrial Assessment Center to enable engineering students to conduct energy assessments in a broad range of manufacturing facilities. It will be one of 24 such centers in 23 states funded through $30 million from the DOE.

"We are very proud of our researchers," Rogers said. "Their hard work is really paying off."

INL is one of the DOE's 10 multiprogram national laboratories. The laboratory performs work in each of DOE's strategic goal areas: energy, national security, science and environment. INL is the nation's leading center for nuclear energy research and development. Day-to-day management and operation of the laboratory is the responsibility of Battelle Energy Alliance.

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