iSee Logo
Select Page

Energy Transitions

icon-energyEnergy, a vital part of the world economy, is needed in ever-increasing amounts to sustain economic growth, raise living standards and reduce poverty. As the world’s population grows and economies become more industrialized, nonrenewable energy sources will become scarcer and costlier.

In fact, some reports caution that the world will need 40% more energy by 2030. That energy will need to be found in renewable sources — quickly and with reliability.

iSEE is fostering path-breaking new works in numerous areas of energy transitions:

  • Renewables
  • Optimization of supply and demand
  • Systems and controls
  • Micro grid and storage
  • Pollution


Funded Projects

Smart Farms


The U.S. Department of Energy awarded $3.3 million, and later another $4.5 M, for this project in 2020.

Led by Natural Resources & Environmental Sciences Assistant Professor Kaiyu Guan, the team will establish the Midwest Bioenergy Crop Landscape Laboratory (MBC-Lab) to precisely measure greenhouse gas emissions. The research will enable new technology for managing bioenergy crops, improving yield, reducing overfertilization, and designing new tools for “smart farms.” 

Keep reading >>>

Next-Generation Feedstocks


The U.S. Department of Energy awarded $5 million for this project in 2018, with Illinois leading a group of several partner institutions.

Led by Crop Sciences Professor D.K. Lee, the project will work to learn what energy crops will be the most productive and valuable — and best for the environment. The team team will assess field-scale yield of advanced switchgrass varieties such as “Independence” (developed by Lee) for pre-commercialization.

Keep reading >>>

Critical Infrastructure and Transportation


Awarded $350,000 in July 2015.

Led by Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Ximing Cai, this project will create a framework for new strategies to expand and operate interdependent critical infrastructure systems (ICIs) — using multiple renewable energy sources to fuel better regional and national transportation systems.

Keep reading >>>

iSEE-affiliated Research Center

Former iSEE-funded Projects

Oil Pollution Treatment: Nano-CarboScavengers


Awarded $170,000 in July 2015.

Led by Bioengineering Associate Professor Dipanjan Pan, the team continued developing and optimizing a Nano-CarboScavenger (NCS), a particle designed to attract oil for easy removal from water.

Keep reading >>>


Cooking with the Sun: Stored Solar Stove


Awarded $140,00 in June 2014.

Led by Agricultural and Biological Engineering Emeritus Professor Bruce Elliott-Litchfield, researchers developed and field-tested prototype cooking systems that use stored solar energy.

Keep reading >>>

Former iSEE-affiliated Research Center


Energy at Illinois

Illinois is home to many experts who research the myriad of issues surrounding energy. Explore Illinois’ area of expertise; labs, facilities, and centers; and find individual experts at the Energy at Illinois website.



Illinois Energy Farm

Researchers at the University of Illinois have access to a gigantic “living laboratory” — the 320-acre Energy Farm on the Urbana-Champaign campus’ South Farms. Read more here >>>


Illinois Geothermal Coalition

The Illinois Geothermal Coalition is working to direct future geothermal energy research and applications on the University of Illinois campus. Led by Yu-Feng Forrest Lin and supported by the Illinois Water Resources Center and iSEE, the Coalition will be specifically exploring the future of low-temperature geothermal. Visit the website >>>