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Happy Spring from the Institute for Energy Efficiency! We are pleased to share with you some of our recent achievements and research breakthroughs that are blossoming on the UC Santa Barbara campus. We hope you were able to attend at our co-hosted seminar last quarter for Amory Lovins, who discussed his new book: Reinventing Fire: Bold Business Solutions for the New Energy Era. We appreciate your continued support and partnership in our mission to create a more energy efficient future. We hope you will stay in touch with the Institute's latest activities through our website and social media sites. 

John Bowers


Institute News

New Report on Scalable, Energy-Efficient Data Centers and Clouds
The Institute for Energy Efficiency and the Kavli Foundation hosted a Technology Roundtable in late 2011, to address the pressing need for technological solutions that will enable data centers and clouds to handle the projected exponential growth in data without a substantial increase in energy use. The event convened 23 leading stakeholders from across the field for a highly interactive discussion to identify the critical challenges to, and future needs for, scaling data centers to exascale and beyond. Discussions focused on key applications driving massive data and processing, and on challenges and future needs for computation, communication and storage. Participants prepared red a report based on the group's discussion identifying four themes that must be addressed to enable scaling. The Technology Roundtable Report has recently been released and is available for download on the Institute's website. Read More...

Steven DenBaars Elected to the National Academy of Engineering  
In February, the National Academy of Engineering elected Steven DenBaars as a new member to its esteemed community of educators and practitioners. Membership honors individuals who have made outstanding contributions to engineering research, practice and education, and acknowledges advancements and improvements in engineering methods. As a professor of electrical and computer engineering and materials at UCSB, Dr. DenBaars was recognized for his contributions in solid state lighting and displays. Read More...

Clean Car Calculator Now Available
Ever wonder how much money you could save by purchasing a hybrid vehicle? Visit the Clean Car Calculator at the Institute's website for a comprehensive comparison between any two vehicles. The development of this calculator was made possible through research led by  Sangwon Suh and jointly funded by the Institute of Energy Efficiency and the Donald Bren School of Environmental Science and Management. 

Summit Update
The next Santa Barbara Summit on Energy Efficiency will be held in 2013. We look forward to announcing dates later this year and hope that you will be able attend. Please contact Mikaela Mennen with any questions about the Summit or other Institute events.

Research News

Limits on Optical Transparency in Conducting Oxides
By using cutting-edge calculation methods, a team of researchers within UC Santa Barbara's Computational Materials Group recently discovered optical transparency limitations in conducting oxides. Transparent conducting oxides are used in a wide array of optoelectronic devices, such as photovoltaic cells, and the level of transparency directly impacts a device's energy efficiency. To learn more about this progressive research, read the paper by Drs. Hartwin Peelaers, Emmanouil Kioupakis, and Chris Van de Walle published inApplied Physics Letters in January. Read More...

Big Breakthrough for "Small Molecule" Organic Photovoltaics   
UC Santa Barbara researchers recently set efficiency records through a new method of producing organic solar cell materials. Two faculty members in the Institute's Production & Storage Solutions Group, Guillermo Bazan and Alan Heeger, explained their breakthrough in a recent paper in Nature Materials. Professor Bazan designed a new class of light-harvesting organic "small molecules" that can be produced through a high-yielding and simple manufacturing process. Then, Professor Heeger incorporated one such material into solution-processed organic solar cells and the team has now achieved a record-setting 7% power conversion efficiency. This achievement is particularly interesting due to the highly reproducible performance of these organic-processed solar cells in comparison to their polymer-based counterparts, which could lead to organic photovoltaics becoming the more economically feasible solar option. 

Special Visitors

Amory Lovins, Reinventing Fire
On March 21st, the Institute helped bring renowned physicist, environmental scientist, and writer Amory Lovins to UC Santa Barbara for a special seminar on topics from his latest book: Reinventing Fire: Bold Business Solutions for the New Energy Era. Lovins is the Co-Founder, Chairman and Chief Scientist at the Rocky Mountain Institute. In his speech he presented actionable, market-based solutions for achieving energy efficiency in transportation, buildings, industry, and electricity. Lovins' presentation is available on the Institute website and a video of his talk will be posted on the same page within the next few weeks.