The 21st century brings with it the grand challenge of changing the way we generate, supply, transmit, store, and use energy to meet the world’s growing demands. To address this challenge, the Department of Energy (DOE) established a network of Energy Frontier Research Centers throughout the nation, each focusing on specific scientific questions and problems. There are 41 active centers in 34 states and the District of Columbia, including two led by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Each center operates with oversight from DOE’s Office of Science.
PNNL is the lead institution for the Center for Molecular Electrocatalysis (CME)—established in 2009—and Interfacial Dynamics in Radioactive Environments and Materials (IDREAM) center, established in 2016. At these centers for collaboration and innovation, researchers work with new and specialized tools to understand and manipulate matter on the atomic and molecular scales. Teams are made up of researchers from universities, national laboratories, and private industry.
|The Center for Molecular Electrocatalysis is working to design electrocatalysts that store electrical energy in chemical bonds and allow their conversion back to electricity on demand. This research can improve reactions important for solar energy storage and fuel cells. Specifically, CME researchers are working to make hydrogen reactions faster and more efficient, discover more selective catalysts to split molecular oxygen, and improve important aspects of molecular nitrogen catalysts.
|The Interfacial Dynamics in Radioactive Environments and Materials center is focused on providing the scientific basis to accelerate the processing of high-level radioactive wastes. IDREAM’s scientific pursuits are focused on interfacial reactivity in complex environments that include extremes in alkalinity, concentrated electrolytes, and ionizing radiation.
To learn more about the Energy Frontier Research Centers, visit the Department of Energy's Energy Frontier Research Centers website or connect with the CME or IDREAM center directors.