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Ohio State Joins $42 Million DOE Project for Innovative Buildings Research

The Ohio State University was named among the funding recipients in a recently announced U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) $42 million project to support innovative residential and commercial building technologies for energy efficiency.

As part of the overall program, Ohio State Associate Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering Hongping Zhao is set to lead an almost $600,000 project for the research proposal “High Efficiency InGaN Light Emitting Diodes (LED) emitting Green, Amber and Beyond.”

Zhao arrived at Ohio State in 2017 as an Associate Professor with a joint appointment in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering

According to DOE, buildings use 75 percent of the nation’s electricity and account for 40 percent of its overall energy use. 

“We are excited to be selected to tackle the challenges that current LED technology is facing. InGaN LEDs emitting in blue have achieved high quantum efficiencies with commercialized products available on the market. However, LEDs emitting in green, amber and longer wavelength still suffer from low efficiencies," Zhao said. "In this project, we will develop novel materials and structures to address this issue."

The proposal is a collaborative project with Co-PI and Professor Kathleen Kash from Case Western Reserve University.

Zhao’s group is addressing improved green and amber emitters based on nitride materials through an investigation of growth parameters such as temperature, pressure, and molecular ratios.

“Energy efficiency is a key driver of overall economic efficiency and part of DOE’s mission to increase energy affordability and energy security,” the DOE program release states. “The technology developed from these early-stage R&D projects is designed to help consumers and businesses save energy costs and drive domestic economic competitiveness.”

This project for Ohio State is among 11 selected for solid-state lighting (SSL) research and devlopment, which support key scientific advancements to help accelerate LED and organic LED lighting products to significantly improve energy affordability for American families and businesses, ensuring the U.S. remains a global leader in SSL innovation.

In total, the 11 selected projects will receive $11 million and make a cost-share contribution for a total public-private investment of over $15 million, as they help to further reduce the cost and improve the quality of SSL products. This is the 13th round of DOE investments in SSL R&D. 

A total of 46 research teams were selected as a result of three fiscal year 2018 funding opportunity announcements issued by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Building Technologies Office. 

Major focus areas under each FOA address different issues, such as:

• Buildings Energy Efficiency Frontiers & Innovation Technologies – 19 selections for $19.5 million
• Advanced separation technologies for dehumidification
• Innovative materials for thermal insulation
• High performance windows
• Advanced controls and automation in building energy management
• Innovative technologies using natural gas
• Solid State Lighting (SSL) – 11 selections for $11 million
• Core technology research for LEDs and organic LEDs (OLEDs)
• Proof-of-concept and prototype development for LEDs and OLEDs
• Advanced manufacturing R&D focuses on chemistry and physics of LED/OLED panel fabrication
• Building America – 16 selections for $11.5 million
• Development and validation of high performance residential envelope systems that provide moisture management and validation of high performance envelope specifications for performance and durability
• Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) installation and performance
• Gap analysis of building industry standard practices

Institute for Materials Research Director and ECE Professor Steven Ringel made it his mission a decade ago to make Ohio State a leader in materials science.

Zhao said facilities such as Nanotech West, the Center for Electron Microscopy and Analysis (CEMAS), the Clean Room (SEAL), and the university’s commitment toward establishing the metal organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) capability for wide bandgap semiconductors help solidify Ohio State's influence. Additionally, her efforts are tied to Ohio State's Materials and Manufacturing for Sustainability (M&MS) Discovery Theme.

For more information on the selections visit the Energy Department’s Building Technologies Office website.