New American-Korean Clean Energy Research Partnership

clean energy research partnership
From left: Duane Dimos, UTA vice president for research, and Lee Ki-woo, president of The Korean Institute for Energy Research. CREDIT UTA

The University of Texas at Arlington and The Korea Institute of Energy Research have joined forces to develop clean energy technologies that improve the lives of citizens worldwide.

“South Korea is a strong proponent of the development of clean energy sources and the Korea Institute of Energy Research is leading the way in the development of new technologies,” said Duane Dimos, vice president for research at UTA.

“This agreement is a great fit for us as we focus our attention increasingly on developing and commercializing technologies with real global environmental impact within our Strategic Plan 2020: Bold Solutions | Global Impact.”

South Korea’s government recently unveiled a plan to invest about $36.6 billion in developing renewable energy industries, such as solar and wind power and eco-friendly power plants, by 2020. The government also raised the required ratio of renewable energy generation to 5 percent by 2018 and 7 percent by 2020.

Lee Ki-woo, president of the KIER, underlined that UTA’s cross-disciplinary approach to developing new energy technologies by applying knowledge from both science and engineering, enables the university to develop outstanding new research in the area of renewable energies.

“We at KIER are looking forward to working with UTA’s multidisciplinary teams, which have already proven they are at the forefront of new technologies in the clean energy arena,” Ki-woo said. “The innovations we have seen from different groups at UTA are really world-class.”

UTA’s Center for Renewable Energy and Science Technology leads the university’s efforts to find a cheaper, more environmentally friendly source of energy. CREST is a collaborative group effort across various disciplines in the College of Science and the College of Engineering to find solutions for a sustainable energy future.

Earlier this year, CREST researchers demonstrated a one-step conversion process that turns carbon dioxide and water into liquid hydrocarbons using both light and heat, proving that the potential exists for creating a sustainable, carbon-neutral liquid fuel. This research, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, received worldwide attention.

CREST researchers have also designed and built a microfluidic electrochemical reactor for NASA that converts exhaled carbon dioxide into oxygen and gaseous hydrocarbons through carbon dioxide electrolysis. The research team was one of four and the only university-based group selected by NASA’s Game-Changing Development Program to develop innovative life support systems needed for deep-space exploration. They delivered their prototype, built in the CREST lab, to the space agency at the end of July.

UTA has a strong connection with Asia through its academic and research programs. Previous agreements with Korean institutions include one between UTA’s College of Education and Ewha Womans University, which resulted in training for pre-service teachers from Seoul. The university also offers Korean language courses and the opportunity to study abroad in Korean universities.

“This agreement will create opportunities for collaboration at the faculty, graduate and undergraduate levels for both research and study,” Dimos said. “Deepening our understanding of Korea – one of Asia’s great cultures and a technology powerhouse — will also strengthen UTA’s position as a university that has real global impact.”

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