The Department of Energy (DOE) building in Washington, DC

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:

FY 21 Expenditures:  $16.1 million

Selected Research Currently Supported by DOE at Duke University

Duke University is home to the Triangle Universities Nuclear Laboratory (TUNL), a consortium between Duke, UNC-Chapel Hill, North Carolina Central University and North Carolina State University. A Department of Energy Center of Excellence, TUNL explores the foundations of nuclear physics and produces roughly 8% of all PhD’s in experimental nuclear physics.

Duke University is a partner in the Department of Energy’s Center for Hybrid Organic Inorganic Semiconductors for Energy (CHOISE). This Energy Frontier Research Center is led by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and will investigate emergent phenomena of charge, spin and light/matter interactions in hybrid organic-inorganic semiconductors, potentially unlocking new energy technologies.

The GRACE Project is funded by DOE and ARPA-E and seeks to better characterize weather-based and other uncertainties to develop a new management system that produces risk-aware energy schedules. GRACE is comprised of  experts from universities, including NC State, Dartmouth, Ohio State, and industry through Duke Energy, as well as Pacific Northwest National Lab, who are working together to address several problems prevalent in electrical power systems.

Peatlands are a key player in slowing climate change by storing more than twice the amount of carbon than the world’s forests. Assistant Professor Jean Phillipe Gilbert, along with Professor Jonathan Shaw and a team from Oak Ridge National Lab and the University of Tennessee study the impact warming temperatures might have on microbes in peatlands and its ability to sequester carbon.

Sponsored by ARPA-E, Professor David Smith and his team are working to develop a residential sensor system that uses dynamic meta-surface radar antenna to detect human presence beyond traditional line-of-sight sensors. These sensors would be able to more accurately gauge occupancy and adjust heating/cooling/other energy needs accordingly.

Duke physicists have worked with international collaborators to gain a better understanding of neutrinos, the so-called ghost particle due to its small size and elusive nature. These particles hold an important key to understanding the origin of matter and gain better insights into the composition of the universe.