The Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research
The Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research promotes partnerships among the state's colleges and universities, private industries, and non-profit organizations to actively pursue federally and privately funded research and development resources that are dedicated to renewable energy solutions. By engaging and utilizing Kentucky's workforce and natural resources, the Center's ongoing goal is to seek outcomes that enhance global energy and economic security and maintain US technological leadership in developing and deploying advanced energy technologies. The Conn Center leads research that increases homegrown energy sources to meet the national need while reducing energy consumption and dependence on foreign oil.
Named in honor of major donors Hank and Rebecca Conn and located at UofL in the J.B. Speed School of Engineering since late 2009, the Conn Center undertakes major research initiatives in the following areas:
- Advanced Energy Materials Manufacturing
- Solar Energy Conversion
- Renewable Energy Storage
- Biofuels/Biomass Conversions
- Energy Efficiency & Conservation
Scientists are being recruited to direct these research activities at the Conn Center. By the second full year of operation, as many as 30 graduate students will actively conduct research at the center and we will have established roll-to-roll manufacturing R&D facilities for solar cells. By the third year, we will have established facilities for solid state lithium ion battery manufacturing R&D. By the fourth year, we will have expanded our current biofuels conversion R&D facilities into a process R&D facility suitable for conversion of Kentucky biomass into transportation fuels.
Academic disciplines currently represented include engineering, chemistry, and physics, but investigators from all technology- and policy-based disciplines that may conceivably address energy-related issues are welcome. The Center provides access to R&D services and facilities with the goal of moving ideas from the lab to the marketplace seamlessly.