Department of Energy

The Department of Energy (DOE) supports research in a broad range of basic and applied sciences to advance energy technology and promote related innovation in the United States. Duke University researchers are active participants in DOE research programs, and select awards and projects are highlighted below.

DOE Funding Overview:

Research Awards FY16: $17,078,323

Select Projects:

Calvin Howell

Project: Triangle Universities Nuclear Laboratory (TUNL)
Researcher: Calvin Howell, Professor and Director of the Triangle Universities Nuclear Laboratory (TUNL)
Funding Source: TUNL is a Department of Energy Center of Excellence in Nuclear Physics
Site: Dr. Calvin R. Howell's Website and Triangle Universities Nuclear Laboratory

The Triangle Universities Nuclear Laboratory (TUNL) is a Department of Energy Center of Excellence in Nuclear Physics located at Duke University. It is a consortium of three major research universities in the Research Triangle area: Duke University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University. TUNL operates three accelerator facilities, including the High Intensity Gamma-ray Source (HIGS), which has made path-breaking advances in the detection of nuclear materials in cargo containers. In addition to cutting-edge research, TUNL produces nearly ten percent of the nation’s nuclear physicists.

Professor Howell is the Director of the Triangle Universities Nuclear Laboratory (TUNL). His research interests are wide-ranging but include applications of nuclear physics in biology, medicine and national security.

Robert Jackson

Project: Geosequestration
Researcher: Rob Jackson, Director of NICCR Southeast Region, Nicholas Chair of Global Environmental Change and professor of Biology
Funding Source: Department of Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory
Site: Dr. James S. Clark's Website
Read More: Trees 'Duke it Out' With Global Warming

Nicholas School of the Environment Professor Rob Jackson studies the impact of geosequestration, or storage of carbon dioxide below the Earth’s surface, on drinking water supplies. This process is part of a suite of carbon capture technologies to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  Jackson and his colleagues discovered that leaks from carbon dioxide storage could contaminate drinking water aquifers, but there are ways to avoid or reduce the risk.

James Clark

Project: Experimental Warming in Forests
Researcher: James Clark, H.L. Blomquist Professor of the Nicholas School of the Environment, Professor of Biology, and Professor of Statistics and Decision Science
Site: Dr. James S. Clark's Website
Read More: Trees 'Duke it Out' With Global Warming

James Clark, of Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment, is the lead scientist on this project which aims to refine forecasting maps of how forests will adjust to changing climates.  Specifically, Clark and his team will assess how trees will adjust if global climate change elevates temperatures near the ground by between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius during this century, as some models predict. The experiments examine the effects of air and soil warming in mixed deciduous forests near Hillsborough, NC, in Harvard Forest in Massachusetts, and near the University of Georgia at Athens.

Policy Research:

In addition to DOE funded research, Duke is home to several programs and institutes focused on energy policy.  Most of this is coordinated through the Duke Energy Initiative

Duke Energy Initiative

The Duke University Energy Initiative is focused on educating future leaders, researching to find solutions, and engaging with business and policy decision makers to address three major energy challenges: Meeting growing energy demand to support a competitive and prosperous economy; reducing the environmental footprint of energy; and addressing energy security concerns.

Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions    
The Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University improves policymaking worldwide through objective, fact-based research and analysis through six program areas:  Climate and Energy, Ocean and Coastal Policy, State Policy, Environmental Economics, Water Policy and Ecosystem Services.