Department of Energy Establishes Combustion Energy Frontier Research Center

Aug. 20, 2009

In August 2009, the Combustion Energy Frontier Research Center (CEFRC) was established at Princeton University by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The CEFRC, which is funded at $20M for five years, is part of a DOE initiative to spur discoveries that lay the groundwork for an economy based on clean replacements for fossil fuels.

These images were generated by a computer simulation of flames produced by a jet of gas of the sort used in fuel-injected automotive engines to generate heat energy. Such simulations will help researchers better understand small-scale combustion processes and lay the groundwork for development of the next generation of fuels and engines.(Image: Courtesy of J. H. Chen, Sandia National Laboratories). The CEFRC is led by fifteen of the nation's leading combustion scientists from nine institutions. The Center's goal is to create first-principles-based, multi-scale predictive capabilities for breakthrough innovations in engine and fuel design for clean and efficient combustion of non-petroleum based fuels, especially biofuels.

The new fundamental science advances and novel computer methods developed by the Center are expected to dramatically accelerate the pace of innovation in the ground and air transportation and alternative fuels sectors of our economy by facilitating rapid intelligent design of new energy-conversion systems. The Center will also actively participate in graduate education in combustion, training the next generation of broadly-educated combustion experts needed to address the major challenges facing our nation.

The program emphasizes multi-disciplinary cross-fertilization, integration from the microscopic basic science to macroscopic experimentation and simulations of underlying engine processes, and state-of-the-art education and outreach.

Chung K. Law, and Emily A. Carter, both of Princeton University, respectively serve as the director and co-director of the Center. Other principal investigators of the Center are: Stephen J. Klippenstein of the Argonne National Laboratory, Stephen B. Pope of Cornell University, William H. Green of MIT, Fred L. Dryer and Yiguang Ju of Princeton University, Jacqueline H. Chen, Nils Hansen and James A. Miller of the Sandia National Laboratories, Ron K. Hanson of Stanford University, Chih-Jen Sung of the University of Connecticut, Don G. Truhlar of the University of Minnesota, and Hai Wang and Fokion N. Egolfopoulos of the University of Southern California.

Oversight of the Center is provided by a high-level International Advisory Committee, consisting of twelve members who provide critique and guidance to the CEFRC's research program. These members are:

David Clary (Oxford, UK), Med Colket (United Technologies), Michael Drake (GM Research), John Farrell (ExxonMobil), Katharina Kohse-Hoinghaus (Universit├Ąt Bielefeld, Germany), Marsha I. Lester (University of Pennsylvania), Norbert Peters (RWTH Aachen, Ger-many), Michael Pilling (University of Leeds, UK), Adel Sarofim (University of Utah), Wing Tsang (NIST), Luc Vervisch (INSA-Ruen, France), and Charles K. West-brook (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and President of the Combustion Institute).