Renewable Energy Center

People and Expertise

Solar Energy Group

  • The focus areas of the Solar Energy Group include materials and device development for (1) photovoltaic power, (2) solar-assisted water splitting to produce hydrogen, and (3) utilization of solar energy to produce fuels from carbon dioxide. Ravi Subramanian,assistant professor of chemical and materials engineering, is the lead for the Solar Energy Group. [READ MORE]

Hydrogen Group

  • Kwang Kim, professor and chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, has pioneered heat transfer enhancement techniques in condensers for use in geothermal power plants, as well as thermal compression of hydrogen utilizing geothermal energy. Kim’s research is helping close the gap between the possibility and the reality of making geothermal energy less costly and more viable for the nation. [READ MORE]

Biomass & Biofuels Group

  • The Biomass and Biofuels feedstock development and conversion group brings together plant biochemists and ecologists, civil, environmental, and chemical engineers, and economists to study basic and applied approaches for the efficient production of non-food feedstocks from forested or marginal lands with limited freshwater availability as sustainable and renewable sources for biofuel generation within regional production systems. John Cushman, professsor of biochemistry and molecular biology, is the lead. [READ MORE]

Geothermal Energy

  • At the Great Basin Center for Geothermal Energy, led by Wendy Calvin, Nevada researchers are collecting and synthesizing key data through GIS technology in an effort to produce favorability maps of the state’s geothermal potential. [READ MORE]

Power Grid Group

  • Mehdi Etezadi-Amoli (group lead) specializes in power systems analysis, planning and protection; renewable energy; electromagnetic transient simulations; large-scale system modeling; and neural networks and fuzzy control application to power systems. He is a registered professional engineer in the states of Nevada and New Mexico. [READ MORE]
  • C. Yaman Evrenosoglu specializes in electric power system analysis, operation and design; integration of distributed renewable energy systems; smart grid applications in power transmission systems; advanced techniques for power system monitoring and control; power system dynamic/static state estimation; fault location along power system transmission and distribution lines; optimal power flow studies; and power system visualization.
  • Sami Fadali specializes in classical and modern control systems; fault detection; physiological modeling; nonlinear and optimum control; fuzzy systems; and engineering education.
  • Cristian Lascu specializes in power electronics converters; control of electric machinery; active power filters for power systems, microcontrollers and DSP applications; low power analog and digital electronics design; and smart interfacing for wind and solar power system integration.
  • Andrew Trzynadlowski specializes in power electronics; control of electric motors; pulse width modulation techniques; noise, vibration, and EMI mitigation in adjustable speed drives; fault diagnosis in electromachine systems; application of DSPs in power conversion schemes; renewable energy systems; and novel structures of electric machines. He is a Fellow of IEEE.


  • At the University’s Redfield Campus, classrooms and research space are being utilized in teaching undergraduate and graduate students about renewable energy through the University’s new renewable energy minor. Ted Batchman, professor of electrical and biomedical engineering, is the lead. [READ MORE]


More Expertise

  • Researchers in the College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources are at the forefront in the next key evolution in biofuels and their use in Nevada. In the laboratory of John Cushman, professor of biochemistry, microalgae has been developed for biodiesel feedstock, as a sequester of carbon dioxide from coal and gas-fired power plants, and as a way to produce biomass, which can be used for heating pellets.
  • In addition to these projects, Nevada researchers continue to work closely with the faculty of its Nevada System of Higher Education partners, DRI, and UNLV. DRI has national and worldwide expertise in such key areas as hydrology, atmospheric science and renewable energy. Of particular note, DRI’s Renewable Energy Center has ongoing projects focused on wind energy, hydrogen application and bioenergy.
  • Nevada researchers in the College of Engineering, led by Amy Childress, professor and chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, have created novel methods using osmosis and forward osmosis to treat wastewater for potable reuse or for power regeneration. The method not only reduces the footprint of current power regimes, it could also revolutionize how large municipalities in the country effectively optimize their use of water as a power source.
  • The Center for Civil Engineering Earthquake Research is home to some of the nation’s most important large-scale structures laboratory and a unique world-renowned earthquake simulation facility. Using the largest earthquake shake tables in the nation, numerous earthquake simulations on the bi-axial shake tables have helped improve the design and structural stability of large-scale structures throughout the country. The structures group, led by Ian Buckle, is already leading infrastructure and earthquake mitigation research across the nation. Their efforts are complemented by a cadre of talented seismology scientists in the College of Science that specializes in the study of earthquakes.
  • The Western Regional Superpave Center, under the direction of Peter Sabaaly of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, is one of the nation’s leaders in promoting the implementation of pavement and asphalt technologies. Researchers have evaluated the tolerance of different paving materials for roads in areas that are prone to extremes in temperature, and provide high-tech, low-cost solutions to paving projects throughout the state and the nation.