Dennis Assanis, professor of Mechanical Engineering and director of the Automotive Research Center, and Marios Papaefthymiou. professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and director of the Advanced Computer Architecture Laboratory, have been awarded the Energy Research Opportunity Grants, sponsored by the Michigan Memorial Phoenix Energy Institute and the College of Engineering.
The grants are intended to develop alliances and to position for the expected increase in funding opportunities. Selection criteria for the peer-reviewed proposals included:
- Strength of proposed ideas and completeness of a plan
- Potential for external alliances and/or partnerships
- Potential for external funding
- Existing expertise or ideas for gaining needed expertise to support the plan
Assanis’ proposal is for an NSF Engineering Research Center for Carbon-Neutral Vehicles. It noted the world consumption of energy, increased greenhouse gas emissions and the current energy mix are not sustainable. Multidisciplinary opportunities will be in the areas of biofuels, life cycle analysis, energy storage and conversion, powertrain development, development of novel energy harvesting materials and expanded work in to the ‘smart’ grid. Additionally, U-M’s depth in public policy will enable the evaluation of various policy options and the economic impact of transforming the transportation system. Dennis’s proposal includes a “who’s who” of potential academic and industry partners including, but not limited to: MIT, MSU, UC Berkley, GM, Ford, Toyota, Dow, A123 Systems and the State of Michigan.
Papaefthymiou’s proposal calls for the establishment of Energy-Efficient Data Centers. Computing is an energy-intensive industry. The world’s largest Internet companies are reviewing options to significantly re-engineer their data centers to reduce significantly energy consumption. The biggest energy drain is in the IT equipment itself, followed by powering the cooling equipment necessary to keep the systems running. In three years, the cost of powering and cooling servers exceeds the server’s purchase. It will take a multidisciplinary approach to address key challenges in framework modeling, hardware and software energy efficiency improvements as well as the development of standards for measurement and instrumentation. Papaefthymiou’s multidisciplinary team includes faculty from EECS, CSE, ME, CEE, MSE and AOSS. Industry partners include APC, AT&T, HP, Goggle and Microsoft.