University Partners – Outreach
N.C. State’s Centennial Campus is a great outreach partner and an extraordinary success story – a university research park and campus that provides to its corporate, governmental and non-profit partners unusually close proximity to a highly educated workforce in a collaborative, amenity-rich environment.
No wonder Centennial Campus was named outstanding research park by the Association of University Research Parks (AURP).
N.C. State’s Centennial Campus is a green energy “hub” for research, policy work, economic development, and workforce development that will revolutionize this nation’s power grid integrating renewable energy technologies and providing new economic opportunities.
Centennial is home to the FREEDM Systems Center, this country’s only NSF-funded research center focusing on transforming the current centralized power grid into an alternative-energy-friendly “smart grid” that can easily store and distribute energy produced from solar panels, wind farms, fuel cells and other energy sources.
This “Internet for energy” will enable millions of users to generate their energy from renewable sources and sell excess energy to the power companies – a true “plug-and-play” system for homes and businesses.
Joining the FREEDM Center and the Solar Center in this pursuit of a better power grid, smarter buildings and transportation that utilize renewable energy resources are several companies and organizations also located on campus, including ABB and Advanced Energy Corporation.
University Partners – Research
The North Carolina Solar Center conducts applied research work related to renewable energy in both the technical and social science arenas.
Technical research includes performance testing of near market technologies including solar thermal systems, passive solar options, photovoltaic systems and small wind energy systems, usually in conjunction with private sector industry partners. The Center is also very involved in the testing and development of potential bioenergy feedstock crops like canola, sugar beets, miscanthus, and other crops that can be adapted to the NC growing seasons and climate.
In the social sciences, public policy provides the market framework and innovative financial models provide the tools to advance the use of renewable energy. The Solar Center provides research and analysis on topics such as the impact of electricity rate structure on financial models, “best practices” for incentives for renewable energy, appropriate content for interconnection technical standards for distributed generation systems to the utility grid, and the efficacy of “green power” programs that allow businesses and consumers to choose electricity generated from renewable resources.
The Center works with numerous basic Research Centers and Programs around the N.C. State campus and the greater Research Triangle area, including:
SiSoC is a National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC) lead by NCSU and involving numerous universities and photovoltaics manufacturing companies. The Center addresses those science and technology issues the international photovoltaic silicon materials industry must solve in order to meet the future needs of advanced silicon solar cell manufacturing, while educating graduate students with photovoltaic materials/devices expertise.
The FREEDM Systems Center, headquartered on NC State University’s Centennial Campus, is a Gen-III Engineering Research Centers (ERC) established by the National Science Foundation in 2008. The FREEDM Systems Center is partnering with universities, industry, and national laboratories in 28 states and nine countries to develop “smart grid” technology to revolutionize the nation’s power grid and speed renewable electric-energy technologies into every home and business.
The Integrated Biomass Research Initiative works to advance the fundamental understanding of novel biomass conversion technologies leading to the production of biofuels and bioproducts from feedstock available in North Carolina. IBRI maintains an advanced Biofuels Analytical Chemistry Laboratory and supports research relating to Novel Energy Crops for Biofuels Production, Biomass Conversion Systems for Fuel Production, and Practical Models for Biomass Cultivation, Collection, Transportation, and Utilization.
This consortium is a collaborative effort of the four founding members, Duke University, NC State University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and RTI International. The vision of the founding members is that RTEC will have a major impact on solving the nation’s and the world’s technical, economic, societal, and public policy problems related to the use of energy. The mission of the consortium is to take an integrated approach to solving energy problems using the world-class scientists, engineers, economists, and other disciplines available in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina.