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Center for Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Energy

The Center for Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Energy at UL Lafayette is dedicated to researching ways to save energy and to produce energy in a clean and sustainable manner.

The Director of the Center is Dr. Terrence Chambers and the Associate Director is Dr. Sally Anne McInerny.  Currently there are 5 faculty members, 1 full-time research scientist, 1 technician, 2 PhD students, 5 MS students and 10 undergraduate students working with the Center.

The mission of the Center for Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Energy is threefold: to promote sustainable energy technologies, to promote economic development, and to provide education and outreach services to inspire and motivate the next generation of sustainable energy professionals.

Sustainable Energy Methods and Technologies

Solar Energy

The Louisiana START Lab is a key research facility within the Center.  The Solar Technologies Applied Research and Testing Lab, supervised by Dr. Terrence Chambers, is pursuing the DOE goal of making solar energy cost competitive without subsidies by 2020.

Energy Efficiency

The team led by Dr. Sally Anne McInerny focuses on providing energy efficiency outreach services for Louisiana. Her group provides energy audits and efficiency recommendations for industry, government, and hospitals.  Current andecent projects include the DNR smart and Secure Energy Assessment program, the DNR Save Energy Now program, and the DOE Industrial Assessment Center.  By using a large number of students in her projects, Dr. McInerny is training the next generation of energy-savvy engineers.

Smart Grids

Working with the Lafayette Utilities System on a DOE-funded project, center personnel are evaluating the effect of the installation of smart meters in the city of Lafayette.  The project includes an investigation of the potential effect of time-of-use pricing, and an evaluation of the potential benefit of deploying smart thermostats.

Fault-tolerant Control of Wind Turbines

Dr. Afef Fekih is working on improving system performance of wind turbines by detecting and compensating for faults, in which system variables exceed normal expectations.

Hydrokinetic Power

A recent NSF-funded project modeled the performance of a proposed hydrokinetic turbine for possible river applications.

Improved Non-Glass Reflectors

Improved Solar Collector Design

Center personnel are partnering with solar manufacturers to design and test innovating low-cost collector designs.

Hybrid Concentrating Solar PhotoVoltaic (CSPV)

Center personnel are providing field testing for a hybrid CSPV system designed by Greenfield Solar.  The CSPV system uses a dichroic cold mirror to redirect a portion of the solar radiation (between 500 and 1000 nm) to the Vertical Multi-Junction (VMJ) cell, while allowing normal solar thermal operation.  Initial tests have shown a PV module efficiency of 30%, a thermal efficiency reduction of 9%, and an overall increase in efficiency of the power plant.

Economic Development

The Center for Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Energy is working to: 1) Develop local expertise in sustainable power technology design, development, manufacturing, and deployment, 2) Assist small to medium sized businesses develop and commercialize new sustainable power products, and 3) Encourage sustainable power businesses to locate in Louisiana.

Education and Outreach

The center engages in many education and outreach activities.  In order to expend the reach of center personnel to reach the public, an interactive Virtual Reality (VR) game has been created of the solar energy facility, in order to teach high school students and members of the community about solar energy.  We have received an NSF grant received to use the VR game to help introduce K-12 students to solar energy concepts, and we have received a Department of Education grant received to teach alternative energy concepts across the NAFTA countries of Canada, Mexico, and the United States.