Addressing The Problems
The USCEI has a number of strategic initiatives that address pressing energy problems. Three examples are:
Smart-grid The USC Energy Institute is leading an effort to deploy and demonstrate technologies on campus and evaluate the potential for improving efficiency through the development of a smart electric grid. Funded by the Department of Energy (DOE), the USCEI is working in conjunction with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) to develop new technology protocols for a smart electric grid network to improve the overall efficiency of the current electric grid system. This project includes a significant effort to integrate and understand the impact of information and smart grid technologies on behavioral aspects of electricity use.
Water-Energy Nexus Water plays an important role in the world's economy and is one of the largest driving factors in energy production. The USCEI is spearheading an effort to develop a broader understanding of the interactions between energy and water. This will assist water agencies in reducing the energy required to deliver water while also assisting energy providers to reduce the amount of water required to produce energy. This will decrease the world's dependency on water and help combat climate change issues.
Solar Photovoltaic Power (PV) The invention of new and improved solar cell technologies will reduce the overall cost and increase the efficiency of existing solar technologies. USC's solar project is led by a DOE Energy Frontiers Research Center for Emerging Materials for Solar Energy Conversion and Solid State Lighting (EFRC). The EFRC is developing new PV materials based on nanostructured semiconductors, organic semiconductors, and hybrid structure in order to enable PV energy conversion to become a significant portion of the world's electricity infrastructure in the future.