The Center for Energy Research (CER) focuses on research, information exchange, and education in energy topics. Issues of particular interest to our geographical region include such general topics as:
- Solar energy and green buildings, including lighting, heating, cooling, and various means of power generation including solar thermal and solar PV.
- Solar hydrogen including fuel cell issues, and vehicle applications.
- Nuclear energy for a broad range of applications including advanced reactor designs and hydrogen production.
- Wind energy with emphases on wind machines (design and applications), site selection, and power assessments.
- Solar materials for a variety of applications including metamaterials.
- Thermoelectrics: thermoelectric materials and device fabrication technologies. Performance evaluation of thermoelectric modules.
- Spectrally-selective coating materials: development of coating materials and structure modification technology for desired optical properties.
- Development of wide bandgap thin-film materials for high efficiency (> 30%) tandem solar cells at < $0.4/W. Defect engineering, degradation analysis and lifetime prediction for photovoltaic devices.
- Battery energy storage systems
- Operation and control of microgrids
- Electric power quality
- Voltage regulation issues in power distribution system
The center serves as a generator and catalyst for ideas, a stimulus for interdisciplinary cooperation, and a facilitator for commercialization. It provides a base to bring together people from many disciplines to work on specific problems of interest.
Drawing upon strengths of the people involved in the center, problems may be defined without any particular knowledge of funding. The center then seeks out possible funding sources for this work. More frequently, since the center does not receive discretionary funding, once funding opportunities become known, focus groups are formed to address these issues.
Solar and Renewable Energy Minor
The Solar and Renewable Energy Minor is a program administered by the School of Public Policy and Leadership for all programs on the campus. Any undergraduate student can enroll in this within any major. There are two tracks to the minor that are followed after three common core classes: one in technical aspects of the field and another in the policy aspects of the field. In addition to offering a significant number of courses in the area — ;for example, in the technical area these include technical introduction to the field, sizing of solar energy systems, fundamentals of PV devices — various other aspects are available, including financial assistance, student internships, and extracurricular activities. In addition, a graduate certificate program in the same topical areas is available, and can be taken by current graduate students in any major or previously graduated students.
Many students who have been employed by the Center for Energy Research have been enrolled in one of these programs. For more information, see the Public Policy & Leadership website.
The center is broad in its scope and welcomes interactions with any interested party within the university and community college system of Nevada as well as laboratories elsewhere. We are located in the Howard R. Hughes College of Engineering, and the director reports to the dean. Close affiliations exist with UNLV's College of Sciences and the School of Architecture at UNLV.