Photo Bruce Dale in the lab with a student.

There are two groups on which we are building expanded research. The first group works on alternative energy sources, including solar cells, thermoelectric materials and biobased sources. We are very strong here. The second group focuses on transportation, aspects of which have had a long, successful history in the college. Near-term growth will occur in composite vehicles, ‘field-to-wheels’ studies for powertrain design, and hybrid vehicles.

In the News

New Fulbright Scholar

ECE Professor Elias Strangas will teach and conduct research in Austria as a Fulbright Scholar

Elias Strangas, professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Michigan State University, has been named a Fulbright Scholar and will teach and conduct research in Austria beginning next month.Elias Strangas will teach a class on fault diagnosis and failure prognosis of electrical machines and drives as a Fulbright Scholar in Austria.

The highly coveted Fulbright grants are issued by the United States Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to foster international academic exchange. It is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Each year, about 1,200 U.S. scholars study in 155 countries.

Strangas will spend from March 1 to June 30 at Graz University of Technology (TU Graz) Electric Drives and Machines Institute. TU Graz is located in the south of Austria and serves as the country's focal point for teaching and research in the technical sciences.

“I will work with my colleagues there and will teach a class on the fault diagnosis and failure prognosis of electrical machines and drives,” he said. “We have already had exchanges, joint work, and publications with the institute there.”

Strangas said one of the doctoral students in his Electrical Machines and Drives Laboratory recently spent six months at this institute in Graz, working on a joint research project.

“I hope and expect that this exchange will further enhance our collaborative work with TU Graz, the University of Vienna, as well as with institutes and universities in France and Spain, with whom we have been having close cooperation and exchanges in the last six years.”

Strangas earned a PhD at the University of Pittsburgh in 1980. He is a past recipient of the Withrow Teaching Excellence Award.

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Warding off failure

Chakrabartty working on tiny, self-powered sensors that push the limits of health and usage monitoring

Imagine a world where bridges, roads, heart valves or knee replacements could monitor themselves and send a warning signal before they fail. Imagine then, if these advanced pieces of technology could power themselves and operate for years without needing any maintenance.Shantanu Chakrabartty, here with Nizar Lajnef, is advancing the capabilities of tiny, self-powered sensors for usage monitoring on bridges and the human body.

Shantanu Chakrabartty, a researcher at Michigan State University, has worked for almost a decade on these safety-critical goals. Using four National Science Foundation (NSF) grants since 2006, the associate professor of electrical and computer engineering in MSU's College of Engineering has focused on the fundamental science behind self-powered sensors for health and usage monitoring.

This news story is featured on the National Science Foundation Discovery website.

"My part is the core science that drives this technology," Chakrabartty said. "I am interested in the device's physics and in exploring new ways to sense and compute on the sensor. The technology is currently being piloted in different applications, and every new application allows me to optimize the sensor in different ways."

Self-powered sensors developed by Chakrabartty and his collaborators may be attached to or embedded inside bridges, pavements, vehicles, rotating parts and biomedical implants. They can autonomously sense, compute and store cumulative statistics of strain rates, without the aid of batteries.

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Prestigious grant

Richard Lunt awarded the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Award in Environmental Chemistry

Richard Lunt, whose solar energy research at the Michigan State University College of Engineering has attracted the attention of researchers and media around the country, has been awarded the prestigious Camille and Henry Dreyfus Award in Environmental Chemistry.

The highly competitive $120,000 grant adds a postdoctoral researcher to Lunt’s research team for two years.Graduate student Yimu Zhao works with Richard Lunt on a transparent luminescent solar concentrator.

Lunt is an assistant professor in MSU’s Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science. He is one of eight recipients nationwide to receive the Dreyfus Award, joining researchers from the California Institute of Technology, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Northwestern, the University of California-Berkeley, University of California-San Diego, and the University of Wisconsin.

The award will advance MSU’s work on perovskites, a new type of absorber material for solar photovoltaics being developed to make solar cells more affordable for general use.

"Hybrid perovskite solar cells have emerged very rapidly in the last few years with an impressive performance trajectory,” Lunt explained. “We anticipate they eventually could become competitive with, and even higher efficiency than silicon solar cells with lower cost."

"But, there are still a number of challenges to utilizing these materials including reliability and toxicity. Our group is focused on developing and understanding new perovskite materials to address these challenges."

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Recent State and Federal Government grants add millions of dollars to MSU bio-based research and development projects

Bruce Dale and Bobbi Bringi discuss cellulosic biofuels development

College of Engineering research will benefit from recent State and Federal grant funding for bio-based research.  The U.S. Department of Energy recently renewed $125 million in funding for the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center. In addition, the Michigan Strategic Fund, together with matching funds from MSU, has granted $2.4 million to fast-track several bio-based MSU research projects  for commercial development.

$125 million DOE funding renewed for biofuels research partnership

The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded the University of Wisconsin and Michigan State University $125 million to continue their work on advanced biofuels.

The Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, housed at UW-Madison and includes a major partnership with MSU, will use the five-year grant to continue its work providing the basic scientific foundation for the sustainable, large-scale production of advanced cellulosic biofuels technologies to help meet the nation’s growing energy needs.

Since its 2007 launch, the GLBRC has coordinated 60 invention disclosures and 58 patent applications, and is working with outside companies on 17 potential licenses or options. In 2012, the center celebrated two significant milestones: the first U.S. patent and the licensing of GLBRC technology to Hyrax Energy – the first company to emerge from the center.

"MSU is proud of the expertise and experience we bring to this effort, from our world-renowned plant research to our faculty in engineering, agricultural economics and education, as well as the scientists at the scale-up facilities at MBI," said MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon. "The GLBRC has provided unprecedented opportunities for us to collaborate across campuses and disciplines, and we know that this integrated approach will drive the most powerful solutions to our energy challenges."

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