The Kavli Foundation has endowed a new institute at the University of California, Berkeley, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) to explore the basic science of how to capture and channel energy on the molecular or nanoscale, with the potential for discovering new ways of generating energy for human use.
The Kavli Energy NanoSciences Institute (Kavli ENSI), announced today (Thursday, Oct. 3) will be supported by a $20 million endowment, with The Kavli Foundation providing $10 million and UC Berkeley raising equivalent matching funds. The Kavli Foundation also will provide additional start-up funds for the institute. The Kavli ENSI will explore fundamental issues in energy science, using cutting-edge tools and techniques developed to study and manipulate nanomaterials – stuff with dimensions 1,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair – to understand how solar, heat and vibrational energy are captured and converted into useful work by plants and animals or novel materials.
Read the press release.
The Kavli Foundation brought together the institute’s director, Paul Alivisatos, and its two co-directors, Omar Yaghi and Peidong Yang, to discuss the Kavli ENSI’s goals and the emerging science of energy conversion at the nanoscale.
Read an edited transcript of the discussion.
Image: Omar Yaghi has developed a new class of highly porous repeating structures. By creating cavities and adding enzymes, catalysts, and molecules that convert sunlight to energy, he hopes to create sophisticated nanostructures that can split water or turn methane to methanol fuel. (Credit: Lawrence Berkeley National Lab)