Energy Supply - Centers & Institutes
The Berkeley centers and programs highlighted here are exploring a wide range of research related to energy production:
Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI)
EBI is a partnership between UC Berkeley, Berkeley Lab and the University of Illinois. Funded by a $500 million, ten-year grant from the energy company BP, researchers at EBI are charged with using biology, the physical sciences, engineering, and environmental and social sciences to devise viable solutions to global energy challenges and reduce the impact of fossil fuels on global warming. The world’s first research institution solely dedicated to energy bioscience, EBI research is initially focused on the development of next-generation biofuels, but is also looking into various applications of biology to the energy sector.
Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI)
JBEI is one of the three U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Bioenergy Research Centers. This scientific partnership is led by Berkeley Lab and includes the Sandia National Laboratories, the University of California (UC) campuses of Berkeley and Davis, the Carnegie Institution for Science and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). JBEI’s five-year mission, which DOE has funded at $135 million, is to advance the development of the next generation of biofuels. JBEI carries out its research through four interlocking divisions: Feedstocks, Deconstruction, Fuels Synthesis, and Technologies.
Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center (SynBERC)
The Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center (SynBERC) is a multi-institution research effort to lay the foundation for the emerging field of synthetic biology. SynBERC’s vision is to catalyze biology as an engineering discipline by developing the foundational understanding and technologies to allow researchers to design and build standardized, integrated biological systems to accomplish many particular tasks. In essence, we are making biology easier to engineer.
The Helios effort is a solar energy initiative at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) and UC Berkeley. The primary goal of this effort is to develop methods to “store” solar energy in the form of renewable transportation fuel. Several approaches under investigation include the generation of biofuels from biomass, the generation of biofuels by algae, and the direct conversion of water and carbon dioxide to fuels by the use of solar energy.
Berkeley Sensor and Actuator Center (BSAC)
The Berkeley Sensor & Actuator Center (BSAC) is the Graduated National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center for Microsensors and Microactuators. We conduct industry-relevant, interdisciplinary research on micro- and nano-scale sensors, moving mechanical elements, microfluidics, materials, processes & systems that take advantage of progress made in integrated-circuit, bio, and polymer technologies.
Energy and Resources Group (ERG)
ERG is an interdisciplinary academic unit at UC Berkeley. ERG's mission is to develop, transmit and apply critical knowledge to enable a future in which human material needs and a healthy environment are mutually and sustainably satisfied. Established in 1973, ERG offers programs of study in Energy and Resources for graduate students leading to MA, MS, and PhD degrees. ERG also offers an undergraduate minor.
Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory (RAEL)
RAEL focuses on designing, testing, and disseminating renewable and appropriate energy systems. The laboratory's mission is to help these technologies realize their full potential to contribute to environmentally sustainable development in both industrialized and developing nations while also addressing the cultural context and range of potential social impacts of any new technology or resource management system.
Berkeley Nanosciences and Nanoengineering Institute (BNNI)
The Berkeley Nanosciences and Nanoengineering Institute (BNNI) is the umbrella organization for expanding and coordinating Berkeley research and educational activities in nanoscale science and engineering. UC Berkeley has a number of unique strengths in this rapidly expanding field with over 90 faculty with active research programs in nanoscale science and engineering.
California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3)
QB3 harnesses the quantitative sciences of physics and engineering to unify our understanding of biological systems at all levels of complexity—from atoms and molecules to cells, tissues, and entire living organisms. QB3 scientists make discoveries that drive the development of new technologies, products, and industries, ensuring that California remains competitive in the 21st century. In addition to driving California’s economic development, a major goal of QB3 is to train a new generation of students able to fully integrate the quantitative sciences with biological research.
The mission of the i4Energy Center is to facilitate and promote research on system-integrated enabling technologies that will achieve better energy efficiency, improved demand / response, and dramatic improvements in energy distribution. The i4Energy Center is a collaboration among CITRIS; the California Institute for Energy and Environment (CIEE); and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL).
Two Department of Energy Frontier Research Centers have also recently been established:
Center for Nanoscale Control of Geologic CO2
The objective of this center is to use new investigative tools, combined with experiments and computational methods, to build a next generation understanding of molecular – to – pore scale processes in fluid-rock systems, and to demonstrate the ability to control critical aspects of flow and transport in porous rock media, in particular as applied to geologic sequestration of CO2. It is a collaborative effort led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), and including the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), the University of California campus at Davis (UC Davis) and Washington University in St. Louis.
Center for Gas Separations Relevant to Clean Energy Technologies
In order to achieve a substantial reduction in carbon emissions, Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) plays a significant role, as the predicted use of fossil fuels will continue to grow. There are two factors that determine the success of large-scale employment of CCS: the uncertainties associated with the sequestration in geological formations and the costs associated with carbon capture. This work of researchers at this Center focuses on the energy costs associated with the separation of CO2 from gas mixtures. The vision of our EFRC is to develop the science to create, understand, and predict novel materials that are tailor-made with exactly the right molecular properties to separate gasses relevant for clean energy technologies.