Our commitment to green research
Energy is any source of usable power -- such as fossil fuel, electricity or solar radiation -- and at Binghamton University, we cover it all. Our researchers are on the cutting edge of fuel-cell technology, as well as breaking ground in technologies to harness the sun’s power. Here’s just some of what’s being done at Binghamton that will ultimately reduce our collective carbon footprint:
Fuel cells with platinum ambition
is leading a search for a platinum-based catalyst that could be at the heart of next-generation fuel cells
. These hydrogen-powered fuel cells work something like a conventional battery, but they never run out. The catalyst platinum turns out to be the best at speeding up the chemical reaction within hydrogen-powered fuel cells. But platinum’s superior ability to catalyze the combination of the oxygen from the atmosphere with hydrogen is offset by economics and chemistry. So Zhong’s research has several goals: besides reducing the amount of platinum used in the catalyst, he’s exploring how to increase its activity and stability.
- How does this make my life better? A switch to fuel cells could help break America’s dependence on petroleum products.
Batteries for the new electric economy
Energy storage is a crucial issue for the development of hybrid and electric vehicles as well as more efficient use of electrical power sources. The University, a world leader in research on advanced batteries based on lithium, will play a key role in the development of new energy storage devices. M. Stanley Whittingham’s
research focuses on developing batteries that combine high energy density with high charge and discharge rate capability.
- What does this mean? An “electric economy” in which clean electric energy replaced fossil fuels for heating and transportation would benefit the environment and reduce the risk of energy shortages.
Taming computers’ need for power
Binghamton’s low-power computing group is designing new computer chips that use 40-60% less energy than current industry standards, and could save millions annually in utility costs. Kanad Ghose’s
research in high-performance computing and computer architecture has resulted in breakthrough designs in processor architecture, power-aware systems and high-performance computing infrastructures. Qinru Qiu’s new work
on low-power computing and dynamic power management could lead to smaller computers that function more efficiently and use less energy. This research comes at an opportune time: Power demands have risen exponentially in the last couple of decades.
- Why does this matter? The benefits of low-power computing include reduced energy consumption, improved reliability and cheaper manufacturing.
Squeezing juice from the sun
The Center for Autonomous Solar Power
is working to help address the national energy crisis and establish companies that will create jobs in the region. The center, led by C. Roger Westgate
, focuses on tapping into the sun’s immense supply of renewable energy and making it easily accessible as a flexible, large-area and low-cost power source. The latest addition to the University’s New York State Center of Excellence in Small Scale Systems Integration and Packaging (S3IP)
, CASP is developing thin film solar modules. This technology mimics nature’s own energy-conversion processes.
- How does this affect me? Potential applications include devices that will charge cell phones and laptops without the use of batteries.
Key to a new industrial revolution
The Center for Advanced Microelectronics Manufacturing
helps to demonstrate the feasibility of roll-to-roll (R2R) electronics manufacturing with its prototype tools and by establishing processes that produce low-volume test-bed products. Research at the center will result in flexible, rugged, lightweight electronic components and innovative products that will be critical to next-generation applications in areas such as military and homeland security, lighting, energy and power generation, displays and product identification and tracking. The R2R process is itself more environmentally friendly than traditional manufacturing methods; it also will enable numerous energy-efficient technologies.
- What does this mean for Greater Binghamton? If R2R manufacturing takes off, some see this area becoming “Flexicon Valley,” the birthplace of a new industrial revolution.
Cool consideration of a hot issue
The Integrated Electronics Engineering Center
, part of the University’s New York State Center of Excellence, is leading the way in finding new techniques to optimize the energy efficiency of data centers. Data centers, also called servers, process and protect vital information related to areas as diverse as financial markets and military institutions. This research, led by Bahgat Sammakia
, will result in new designs for data centers that can be employed around the world.
- What’s the benefit of this research? Billions of dollars are spent every year to cool servers. New techniques developed at Binghamton will save money and electricity.