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ASU LightWorks, Sandia partner to tackle renewable energy challenges

August 30, 2013

Arizona State University and Sandia National Laboratories have signed a formal partnership agreement on important renewable energy challenges. The goals of the memorandum of understanding are to encourage collaborative research, build educational and workforce development programs and inform policy endeavors.

The agreement enables the two institutions to more easily work together to secure new research funding, establish multidisciplinary partnerships, and advance innovation and entrepreneurship in science, technology, engineering and mathematical disciplines while building a workforce pipeline.

“ASU is delighted to partner with Sandia National Laboratories to advance research, education, workforce development programs and policy endeavors,” said Sethuraman (Panch) Panchanathan, senior vice president with ASU’s Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development. “Collaborations such as this, between national laboratories and leading research universities, are becoming exceedingly important to leverage our joint capabilities and facilities to solve our grandest challenges facing society, and to advance innovation and entrepreneurship activities.”

The potential areas of focus are solar hybrid fuels, solar thermochemical fuels, concentrating solar technologies, photovoltaics, electric grid modernization and algae-based biofuels. Sandia and ASU also seek international applications of these technologies and anticipate that other premier institutions from around the nation and world will eventually become a part of the ongoing partnership.

“This agreement recognizes the relationship we have already formed with Sandia National Laboratories and it points to a strong collaborative future,” said Gary Dirks, director of LightWorks and the Global Institute of Sustainability at ASU. “As the largest university in the nation and the largest of the national laboratories, we have high expectations for our future efforts under this partnership.”

As the largest university in the nation per enrollment, ASU will be able to leverage its world-class researchers as well as its advanced insight into education, as is reflected in the standards of the New American University.

Both located in the desert Southwest, Sandia and ASU are known for groundbreaking work in solar energy and power grid modernization.

“Sandia and ASU are leaders in addressing the nation’s energy challenges and we are exceptionally suited to research how we can use the rich solar resource that comes with being in dry, arid regions,” said Juan Torres, senior manager of Sandia’s Renewable Energy Technologies. “Sandia offers a number of unique capabilities and significant test facilities, and we’re thrilled to be sharing research capabilities and knowledge with ASU to advance our mutual goals.”

“Sandia and ASU are among the nation’s leading energy research institutions and bringing the resources and capabilities of both into one agreement will provide exciting opportunities to further the field of energy research,” said Andrew Orrell, director of Energy Technologies and Systems Solutions at Sandia. “This partnership has great potential to make important strides toward our nation’s goals in energy security.”

Sandia’s photovoltaic research facilities include the Photovoltaic Systems Evaluation Lab, the Distributed Energy Technologies Laboratory and the Department of Energy’s unique National Solar Thermal Test Facility.

The partnership takes effect immediately and will be overseen by a steering committee with representatives from both institutions.