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NSF Launches an ERC for Green Energy Grid

Dr. Alex Q. Huang, NCSU

Dr. Alex Q. Huang, NCSU

September 8, 2008

NSF Launches an Engineering Research Center for the Creation of a Green Energy Grid

The National Science Foundation (NSF) announces an award to North Carolina State University and its partners to establish a new NSF Engineering Research Center (ERC).  The ERC will develop interdisciplinary research and education programs that address an important energy issue and provide the foundation for new industries through innovation.  NSF will invest approximately $18.5 million in the Center over the next five years.

Since 1985 the ERC program has fostered broad-based research and education collaborations in close partnership with industry that focus on making technological breakthroughs and developing new products and services.  A new generation of five NSF ERCs will place a greater emphasis on innovation and entrepreneurship and on international collaboration and cultural exchange.

"The Gen-3 ERCs have been designed to build on the well-developed understanding laid down by the two previous generations of ERCs," says Lynn Preston, the leader of the ERC Program.  "We have added to Gen-3 ERCs several new dimensions designed to speed the innovation process and prepare engineering graduates who are innovative, creative, and understand how to function in a global economy where engineering talent is broadly distributed throughout the world.  We expect these ERCs to make even more significant impacts on the competitiveness of U.S. industry than their predecessors."

The NSF ERC for Future Renewable Electric Energy Delivery and Management (FREEDM) Systems will conduct research to transform the nation's power grid into an efficient network that integrates alternative energy generation and novel storage methods with existing power sources.  This new, distributed network would permit any combination and scale of energy sources and storage devices through standard interface modules.  The Center's overall goal is to facilitate the use of green energy sources, reduce the environmental impact of carbon emissions, and alleviate the growing energy crisis. 

The NSF ERC for FREEDM Systems will be based at North Carolina State University (NCSU), in partnership with Arizona State University, Florida A&M University, Florida State University, and Missouri University of Science and Technology.  Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule (RWTH) Aachen University in Germany and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology will contribute additional expertise and international perspectives. 

The involvement of more than 65 industry partners, including many small start-up firms, will spur innovation and provide university students with first-hand experience in entrepreneurship.  The NSF ERC for FREEDM Systems will also work with 18 state and local government organizations in North Carolina, Arizona, California, Florida, New York, and Tennessee to stimulate innovation based on its research.

Cecile J. Gonzalez, National Science Foundation,

Media Contacts
Joshua A. Chamot, NSF, (703) 292-7730,
Nate DeGraff, NCSU, (919) 515-3848,

Program Contacts
Lynn Preston, NSF, (703) 292-5358,
Barbara Kenny, NSF, (703) 292-4667,

Principal Investigator
Alex Huang, NCSU, (919) 513-7387,

Related Websites

NSF ERC for FREEDM Systems:
NCSU press release:

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2023 budget of $9.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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