CNSE Member Spotlight

The College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) of the State University of New York (SUNY) is a global education, research, development, and technology deployment resource that has channeled more than $17 billion in high-tech investments from private and public sources into an advanced university-driven research enterprise. Its students, faculty, and staff interact with more than 300 corporate partners in an ecosystem dedicated to the commercialization of nanoelectronics and nanotechnology.

The Energy and Environmental Technology Applications Center (E2TAC) is an expansion of CNSE dedicated to work with companies in the rapidly emerging energy and environmental industries. E2TAC is a conduit through which CNSE can leverage its intellectual base and state-of-the-art infrastructure to provide applications-targeted resources supporting technology development based on the integration of nanoelectronics and nanotechnology in advanced energy and environmental applications.

CNSE is involved in multiple high-visibility programs in advanced energy technologies. Its Solar Energy Development Center in Halfmoon, New York, provides a prototyping and demonstration line for next-generation CIGS thin-film solar cells and supports CNSE’s leadership of the U.S. Photovoltaic Manufacturing Consortium (PVMC). The CNSE Photovoltaic Manufacturing and Technology Development Facility in Rochester is the solar industry’s first full-service collaborative facility dedicated to crystalline silicon. The Buffalo High-Tech Manufacturing Innovation Hub at RiverBend will leverage $225 million in Empire State Development capital to attract and house top-tier clean energy companies and enable advanced manufacturing at what will become a state-of-the art, multibillion-dollar high-tech campus. In partnership with EYP Architecture & Engineering, CNSE operates NISE, the National Institute for Sustainable Energy. The NISE lab is a resource to conduct joint R&D and commercialization programs related to zero energy and sustainable buildings. The technology developed, evaluated, and demonstrated includes energy efficiency, energy generation, and energy storage.

Since its founding in 1998, E2TAC has worked with numerous energy technology company partners on technology transfer projects and has assisted these companies in developing and evaluating energy technologies. In the energy storage arena, E2TAC’s activities have focused on fuel cell technology, ultracapacitors, and more recently, lithium-ion battery technology.

E2TAC represents New Energy New York in the Northeast Electrochemical Energy Storage Cluster (NEESC), a network of industry, academic, government, and non-governmental leaders working together to help businesses provide energy storage solutions. The cluster is focused on businesses that provide the innovative development, production, promotion, and deployment of hydrogen fuels and fuel cells to meet the pressing demand for energy storage solutions.

E2TAC has worked on a variety of technologies aimed at improving proton exchange membrane fuel cells. These include catalyzation of nanostructures using chemical and vapor deposition processes to deposit catalyst onto nanostructured support materials, novel aerosol-assisted deposition methods for depositing platinum catalysts on support materials, optimization of carbon nanotube and carbon nanofiber catalyst supports for electrodes, novel fabrication of fuel cells using lithography techniques, and many others.

E2TAC’s work on ultracapacitors has focused on improving electrolytes and electrodes. E2TAC researchers have been developing novel ionic liquid electrolytes with wide voltage windows and testing them for ultracapacitor applications. Superior properties of ionic liquids such as extremely low vapor pressure, excellent thermal stability, a broad liquid temperature range, and high decomposition potential makes them a preferred choice as an electrolyte for both batteries and ultracapacitors. Recent work has focused on graphene interfaces between electrodes and electrolytes in ultracapacitors.

E2TAC has served as an incubator for new enterprises coming out of their work on energy technologies. One of these start-ups is besstech, which is a lithium-ion component design and engineering company that offers a silicon-based anode design for the requirements of high-end battery manufacturers. A second start-up is Eonic LLC, which is focused on increasing the energy capacity in next-generation energy storage technologies and is currently focused on the development of advanced ionic liquid electrolytes to be used in ultracapacitors.

“Advancing energy storage and clean energy technologies is vitally important to the SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering,” says Dr. Pradeep Haldar, CNSE Vice President of Entrepreneurship Innovation and Clean Energy Programs. “Thanks to the leadership and support of Governor Andrew Cuomo, we are expanding our cutting-edge research capabilities with clean energy-related facilities in Rochester and Buffalo, and these new sites will encourage even more top-tier energy companies to join our state-of-the-art research, development, and commercialization hubs.  Our collaboration with NY-BEST continues to provide CNSE an opportunity to promote and foster these groundbreaking initiatives in energy technology.”

CNSE’s overall mission is to support accelerated high-technology education and commercialization and create jobs and economic growth for nanotechnology-related industries. E2TAC and the growing number of energy-related enterprises, under the auspices of CNSE, are an important part of this mission as New York State expands its role in the new energy economy.