Rogers Subproject for Institution # SP0027267

Project: Research project

Project Details


The objective of this EFRC renewal proposal is to establish a Center for Bio-inspired Energy
Science (CBES) at Northwestern University in collaboration with five partner institutions,
Harvard University, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, University of Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania State University, and New York University. During the first cycle of this EFRC,
the grant supported the Non-equilibrium Energy Research Center (NERC), which has now
evolved into the CBES for the second cycle with the same team of scientists plus two new
members. Living organisms function under conditions of non-equilibrium as they efficiently
interconvert different types of useful energy involving light, chemical reactions, as well as
mechanical and electrical forces. Building on key discoveries made by the team on processes of
non-equilibrium during the first cycle, the objective of the CBES is to develop artificial matter
with energy use functions observed in living organisms. Examples of the Center’s specific
scientific objectives include: developing materials that function like muscle to convert chemical
to mechanical energy, creating micro-materials inspired by the organelles of cells that provide
new energy-saving strategies for chemical production, making dynamic living-like materials
based on small particles that in the presence of chemicals organize to act as motors or machines,
and designing materials inspired by the ion-pumping capabilities of cells for use in water
remediation and desalination, among others. The interactive culture of the team and its broad
range of scientific backgrounds covering synthetic chemistry, materials science, biomolecular
materials, computational methods, and condensed matter theory will provide all the necessary
capabilities and methods to tackle this exciting area of research. We expect as outcomes the
development of artificial materials with biological traits that can change the way we use energy
and new technologies inspired by biological systems.
Effective start/end date8/1/147/31/22


  • Department of Energy (DE-SC0000989-0005)


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