The Notre Dame Energy Center and the Sustainable Energy Initiative combine forces to create the Center for Sustainable Energy at Notre Dame

The Notre Dame Energy Center (NDEC) and the Sustainable Energy Initiative (SEI) have linked together to create a new University Research Center known as the Center for Sustainable Energy at Notre Dame (cSEND). The new center will continue the mission of the NDEC and SEI, which is to enhance energy related research at Notre Dame and increase energy awareness and education through its outreach and education programs. The center will also serve as the primary hub on campus by which to obtain information and to seek advice on energy related topics and issues. By routinely interacting and collaborating with other departments, centers, and institutes on campus with similar energy interests, the center will create a “one-stop-shop” for the campus community and its local, regional, national, and international constituents for all matters related to energy.


“We are delighted by the University’s decision to designate these two outstanding organizations as one exceptional University research center,” says Dr. Joan Brennecke. “This is a true testament of the unprecedented efforts of our faculty and students and the more than $19MM in energy related research grants that have been awarded in just this past year.” Brennecke is The Keating-Crawford Chair in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and will continue to serve as the director of cSEND. Dr. Kenneth Henderson, Professor and Department Chair in Chemistry and Biochemistry, will serve as associate director, and Patrick Murphy as managing director. Several committees will be formed in the coming months to help lead and advance the cSEND mission. They are:  an External Advisory Board, consisting of nationally known experts in the energy field; an Executive Steering Committee, comprised of leaders in the various departments, centers, and institutes with energy related interests and intersections; and a Student Advisory Board, consisting of graduate and undergraduate students representing the interests of all students in all colleges and schools on campus.


The NDEC has been in existence since 2005 and was recognized as a College Institute by the University in 2009. The center focuses on five key areas in developing new technologies to meet the global energy challenge: energy efficiency; safe nuclear waste storage; clean coal utilization; carbon dioxide separation, storage, sequestration, and use; and solar and other renewable resources. In addition, the center is committed to playing key roles in energy education and literacy, the development of energy policy, and the exploration of the ethical implications associated with energy.


The SEI is a Strategic Research Investment (SRI) of the University, receiving an award in 2010 of $10MM over a three-year period to establish Notre Dame’s preeminence in three strategic areas – safer nuclear, cleaner fossil, and transformative solar – all focusing on the research and development of materials to help make clean energy more affordable and more readily available. The initiative also focuses its research on new and improved sustainable energy technologies and systems that will provide educational opportunities for scientists, engineers, social scientists and citizens to be leaders in their disciplines and literate in the systems of energy production and use.


cSEND will be rolled out over the next several months, combining the identities of both the Notre Dame Energy Center and the Sustainable Energy Initiative.