PIRE: Materials for Renewable Energy NaturE’s Way (RENEW)

PIRE: RENEW’s research will explore the use of naturally derived and other biobased materials in renewable energy applications where intermolecular and interfacial interactions play a key role in self-assembly and aggregation, in building structural materials with exceptional properties, and in nanoscale optoelectronics. To carry out this vision, interdisciplinary research will:

  • Explore building wind turbine blades from biobased nanocomposites with engineered interfaces consisting of biobased matrix materials reinforced with high performance carbon nanotubes (CNT) and cellulose nanowhiskers (CNW). These innovative biobased nanocomposites will be compared with composites consisting of glass or carbon fibers and biobased or petroleum-derived resins.
  • Explore molecular and supramolecular structure-property relationships relevant for charge transport and transfer in self-organized molecular dendron and electronically functionalized cellulose nanowhiskers, bacterial cellulose fibrils, and sophorolipid surfactants for solar energy.

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