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 15

Eight new research projects were selected for funding by the Energy Center in its fifteenth annual grant competition.  The faculty selected for the awards were Professors Humberto Blanco, Department of Agronomy and Horticulture, Andrea Watson, Department of Animal Science, Sibel Irmak, Department of Biological Systems Engineering, Yinsheng Guo, Department of Chemistry, Jiong Hu, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Nicole Buan, Department of Biochemistry, Alexei Gruverman, Department of Physics and Astronomy, and Li Tan, Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering. To learn more go to 2021/2022 Energy Research Grants (Cycle 15)

YouTube presentations on ZDPlaskin

Natalie Parker, a summer REU student, created 5 YouTube presentation videos to teach the basics on how to zero dimension plasma kinetics program, ZDPlaskin. She also posted another video on a poster simulating the generation of hydroxyl radicals in plasmas with H2O, O2, and Ar.   https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2Vg5r9LO7VzBJACzLrmk9g   From 7/29/2020 to 11/12/2020, these videos were viewed 604 times. This dedicated channel for teaching the plasma simulation software currently has 14 subscribers.  This work is part of Barry Cheung’s (Department of Chemistry) NCESR project “Conversion of carbon dioxide to oxygenates by plasma catalysis”.

NCESR announces summer internship for 2021


The Nebraska Center for Energy Sciences Research (NCESR) is taking applications for the summer undergraduate internship in energy sciences research. The Darrell J. Nelson Summer Undergraduate Internship in Energy Sciences Research is being offered for the seventh time in the amount up to $5,000 per recipient for the summer of 2020.  For additional information about the 2021 application requirements, click here:  2021 NCSER Summer Internship Info Sheet.  For a copy of the application form (Word document),  click here:  NCESR Summer Undergraduate Internship – 2021 Application Form.  To learn more about previous summer undergraduate internship projects, go to http://ncesr.unl.edu/?page_id=9451

NCESR grant leads to breakthrough in fiber study

Dr. Yuris Dzenis, a faculty member in Mechanical and Materials Engineering, recently published an article in Applied Materials & Interfaces ( a journal of the American Chemical Society ) on a study that allowed him and other researchers on the project to explain the differences in fibrillation.  The article also received the honor of gracing the cover of the journal.  To view the article, go to Study yields breakthroughs in understanding failure of high-performance fibers.

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.

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

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