The University of New Mexico recently hosted U.S. Secretary Of Energy Ernest Moniz in a regional energy innovation forum. The objective of this forum was to discuss the future of materials technologies for clean, low carbon energy and collaboration by researchers, innovators and policy makers from throughout the Southwest Region.

In attendance were U.S. Senators from New Mexico, Tom Udall (D-NM) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and 136 distinguished participants representing academia, national laboratories, industry, government and non-government.

The UNM Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) led and organized the submission of a report to the Department of Energy (DOE)  that summarizes the outcomes of this forum and outlines Southwest Regional resources, capabilities and strengths. This report, available for download in the Related Documents section, will assist the DOE as it develops its plan for Mission Innovation.

“[There is] no doubt about the centrality of materials to so many of the energy technologies that we still need to invent and deploy,” said Secretary Moniz. “Developing and using technologies to manipulate materials at the nano scale offers tremendous possibilities.”

From the report, it is clear that there is tremendous advantage in linking fundamental research, development and integration of new materials technologies to the urgent need for revolutionary new advances in clean energy sources and processes at the heart of the nation’s clean energy future. New materials developments have led to breakthroughs in many, if not all, recent clean energy technologies, such as less expensive fuel cells for automobiles, more efficient photovoltaic cells for solar panels and greater storage capacity for batteries.

Dr. Gabriel López discusses
Dr. Gabriel López discusses the prospects for computational models for integrating materials research
between  academia, the national labs and industry.

The Southwest Region is a national leader in materials research and development for energy applications and is an established hub for energy materials innovation and commercialization. UNM, with its strong materials science research programs, sets an example of a new standard of innovation through collaboration with DOE laboratories, industrial partners, and other academic institutions.

“The need for implementing better, low-carbon, clean energy technologies is becoming more urgent every day,” noted UNM Vice President Gabriel López. “By focusing on fundamental discovery, translation and commercialization of revolutionary advances in materials, a partnership would capture the most competitive and impactful ideas from a highly diverse spectrum of academic, federal and industrial researchers and innovators. The Southwest Region is ideally poised to tackle the challenges associated with the urgent need for global clean energy solutions.”

This new transformative approach to collaboration on a regional scale has the potential to rapidly deliver new developments which can be scaled up within the U.S. and around the world.

** To view the full report, click on the attachment in the Related Documents section.