Nuclear Science and Engineering

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CAES researchers have access to a wide range of equipment including a high-end Microscopy and Characterization Suite (MaCS) and the Idaho State University Accelerator Center.

CAES' nuclear research program supports the goals and objectives of national and international nuclear energy programs. Together, the CAES partner universities make up one of the largest nuclear science and engineering programs in the country.

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Materials Science and Engineering

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Materials research is crucial to solving some of the nation’s most pressing energy problems.

New materials that can withstand higher pressure levels and temperatures are needed to boost power plant efficiency. So are materials that can extend the life of the nation’s nuclear plants.

CAES researchers are working on these and other critical projects by creating and testing new materials to ensure they can withstand extreme environments. They also are experimenting with new welding techniques to ensure these materials can be used in a commercial setting.

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Geological Systems & Applications

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CAES researchers are studying how to turn the hot water flowing beneath Idaho into an economical source of geothermal energy. They are focusing on enhanced geothermal energy systems – a technology in which fluid is injected into hot, dry rock that has been fractured to extract heat that can be used to generate power.

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Energy Systems Design, Analysis and Testing

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With the evolution of the smart grid, it is increasingly important that research activity crosses traditional boundaries and embraces the fundamental trans-disciplinary nature of the next generation of energy systems.

CAES scientist and engineers from a wide variety of backgrounds and training are laying the foundation for a robust energy distribution system through research in embedded systems, multi-scale simulation and hybrid energy systems.

In addition to state of the art energy systems research, CAES participants are leading the region in energy efficiency research and outreach. Through the DOE-funded Industrial Assessment Center program, CAES partners contribute to the regional economy and help develop the next generation of energy engineers.

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Environmental and Resource Sustainability

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Higher oil prices, government investment and other factors are fueling a renewed interest in biofuel and other bioenergy products. Efforts are underway across the United States to turn corn, straw and other feedstocks into viable products.
Some of the biggest barriers, however, are cost and the perceived effect on food supplies when fertile ground is used to grow feedstocks.

CAES scientists are working to resolve these issues, particularly for Idaho and the region.

They are focused on:
>Conducting comprehensive life cycle analyses of feedstocks and determining which products they should be converted into, the most efficient process to do that and whether it makes financial sense.
>Converting regional feedstocks such as agricultural and forestry waste products into biofuel, fertilizer and other usable materials.
>Evaluating various oilseeds as potential feedstocks.

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Energy Policy

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Through its core Energy Policy Institute (EPI) staff and affiliate researchers are from the CAES partners, EPI has the resources to provide robust and timely research that meets the challenges of an increasingly carbon-constrained economy, which include the need for energy and environmental security, as well as sustainable economic development.

EPI’s interdisciplinary research focuses on both innovation and the more routine but still critical mission of improving government performance and industry/stakeholder collaboration in the implementation of energy policy.

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Fossil Carbon Conversion

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University of Wyoming leads the fossil carbon conversion core capability. The CAES consortium excels at developing and analyzing novel processes and technologies for the conversion of fossil carbon to value-added products and services.

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