The Nebraska Center for Energy Sciences Research (NCESR), chartered in 2006, supports innovative research and interdisciplinary collaboration by funding competitive “seed grants” for energy sciences research. About Us describes the mission, goal, vision, center organization and administration, including the Director, Associate Director, Executive Council and the External Advisory Committee. Contact Us gives the office address plus contact information for the Center’s staff. Use the Whittier Research Center Map or UNL’s Campus Maps to locate the NCESR office in Suite 230 of the Whittier Research Center, 2200 Vine Street, Lincoln, Nebraska.

NCESR selects new projects for Cycle 14

Four new research projects were selected for funding by the Energy Center in its fourteenth annual grant competition.  The faculty selected for the awards were Professors Wei Qiao, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering; Shudipto Dishari, Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering; Chris Cornelius, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering; and Ozan Ciftci, Department of Food Science and Technology.  To learn more go to 2020/2021 Energy Research Grants (Cycle 14) 

Search for NCESR Director Underway

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln employment opportunity for the director of the Nebraska Center for Energy Sciences Research was posted December 4, 2019.  If you are interested in applying for the position, go to https://employment.unl.edu/postings/67479

NCESR seed grant leads to $4.5M award

In 2012, Alexander Sinitskii was awarded an Energy Center grant for his project entitled  “Three-Dimensional Graphene-Based Scaffolds for Supercapacitor Applications”.  This seed grant has led to the awarding of a three-year, $4.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense’s Office of Naval Research.  Dr. Sinitskii, associate professor of chemistry, will lead a multi-institution research team investigating ways to incorporate DNA nanotechnology as a construction tool to assemble graphene in new ways that could make the material more useful in electronic devices and other applications. To learn more about the research, go to  Alexander Sinitskii award.

Change in Leadership for NCESR

Jerry Hudgins

Jerry Hudgins, professor and chair of electrical and computer engineering, has been named interim director of the Nebraska Center for Energy Sciences Research, effective Aug. 19. Hudgins has been the center’s associate director since 2009 and previously served as the center’s interim director in 2011.

Hudgins will succeed director Mike Nastasi, the Elmer Koch Professor of mechanical and materials engineering, who has led the center since 2012. Nastasi is leaving Nebraska to become head of Texas A&M University’s Department of Nuclear Engineering.

Hudgins will be responsible for leading the center and facilitating its research, operations and resource development activities during his appointment. He also will assist with the national search for a permanent director, expected to begin this fall. Hudgins will remain department chair while serving in this role.  (News release from Office of Research and Economic Development)

Summer Intern wins 2nd place at ASME

Abdelrahman with award certificate

Abdelrahman Elsayed, one of the 2019 summer interns, won 2nd place in the undergraduate research competition at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Congress International Undergraduate Research Exposition. Abdelrahman’s faculty sponsor is Professor Yuris Dzenis from the Mechanical and Materials Engineering Department.  To view Abdelrahman’s poster, click 2019IMECE-AElsayed_sm

Former NCESR Summer Intern Receives Awards

Matthew Penne, a summer intern in 2017, is the recipient of the 2018-2019 Electrical and Computer Engineering Department Outstanding Senior Award. Matthew is currently working toward the Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering under the supervision of the PI (Wei Qiao) and Co-PI (Liyan Qu) on an Energy Center project entitled “Development of a Hybrid-Electric Powertrain Platform for Off-Road Heavy Equipment”. Matthew’s Ph.D. dissertation topic is on Model Predictive Control of Permanent-Magnet Synchronous Motor Drives used in Electric-Drive Vehicles, which is related to the NCESR project.


Jerry Hudgins (left), chair of electrical and computer engineering, presents students Megan Stokey (center) and Matthew Penne with their certificates for being chosen to receive the 2018-19 IEEE Power and Energy Society Scholarship Plus Initiative Awards.

Matthew has also been chosen as an IEEE Power & Energy Society Scholar for 2018-19.  He will receive up to $3,000 for the current academic year.  The scholarships are given annually to students majoring in electrical engineering who are also high achievers – possessing strong grade-point averages with “distinctive extracurricular commitments” and who are committed to exploring the power and energy field.

Thilini Ekanayaka receives graduate student award from AVS

Thilini Ekanayaka, a graduate student working with Takashi Komesu and Andrew Yost in Physics and  Astronomy, was one of three recipients selected to receive a Graduate Research Award from the American Vacuum Society.  She competed against over 2000 other student applicants to become a finalist.  Thilini will receive a cash award, a certificate, and reimbursement for travel support to attend an International Symposium.   Thilini’s work is on an Energy Center project entitled “Doping Metal-Chalcogenide Quantum Dot Solar Cells for Enhanced Device”.


NCESR project leads to NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

As a result of NCESR funding, a microbial enrichment culture surviving on hydrogen and calcium carbonate was determined to produce acetate and methane. Nicole Fiore, a graduate student funded to examine the physiological capability of the enrichment, was intrigued not only by the implications for carbon cycling on Earth but also on other planets (or moons). She developed a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship proposal to expand upon current knowledge of microbial metabolisms under extreme conditions, specifically those that alter planetary or lunar minerals.  As part of Nicole’s NSF fellowship, she will investigate microbially-catalyzed carbonate transformations under alkaline conditions, expanding on current NCESR funding.  pseudocolor-carbonate  This opportunity will help her develop the skills necessary for a career in astrobiology so she can continue to research questions that contribute to our overall understanding of the universe.

Nicole is working with Dr. Karrie Weber in the School of Biological Sciences.  The NCESR funded project is entitled “Microbial Electrosynthetic Conversion of CO2 and Carbonates into Biogas and Bioproducts”.

NCESR project leads to DOE Graduate Student Research Award

An NCESR project on “Graphene-Based Supercapacitors for Efficient Energy Storage and Delivery” has led to the awarding of a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science Graduate Student Research award.  Jacob Teeter (in Dr. Alex Sinitskii’s lab, Department of Chemistry) received the award for his proposed project “Bottom-Up Engineering of Nanoribbon Properties through Systematic Structural Modification”.  The work will be conducted at the DOE Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee over a 12-month period.  In the framework of this project, Jacob will use scanning tunneling microscopy to investigate atomically precise graphene nanoribbons (GNRs) that will be grown from molecular precursors synthesized at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln.  GNRs are widely regarded as promising materials for nanoelectronics, and Jacob’s studies will elucidate their structural and electronic properties.

NCESR Seed Funding Helps Obtain NRC Award

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission recently awarded the University of Nebraska  with a three-year, $450,000 Faculty Development Grant to support the research of Bai Cui, assistant professor of mechanical and materials engineering.  The grant will help develop materials for the next generation of nuclear power facilities.  Jeff Shield, chair of mechanical and materials engineering, and Michael Nastasi, director of the Nebraska Center for Energy Sciences Research, collaborated on the grant.  NRC will help develop materials for next generation nuclear power facilities