About 80% of the world's primary energy supply comes from fossil fuels. However as global demand for energy increases, it is becoming more difficult to find large reserves of fuels that can be extracted from the earth at low cost, and there is increasing concern about the effects of releasing large amounts of carbon into the atmosphere when carbon-based fuels are consumed. These problems can be addressed through the development of new technologies for energy storage and conversion.
Advances in emerging energy technologies such as solar cells, batteries, and fuel cells are often driven by new materials. Using modern computers and algorithms, relevant properties of energy-related materials can be calculated with sufficient accuracy to enable the screening of candidate materials before they are synthesized. We make use of such calculations to accelerate the development of emerging energy technologies.
Energy storage is becoming a particularly critical issue in the transportation sector, which is more dependent than most on the very high energy densities provided by fossil fuels. One of our primary areas of focus is the development of more sustainable ways to store energy with gravimetric and volumetric energy densities comparable to those of liquid hydrocarbon fuels.