NSF, Killeen on hand to launch POETS in style
The Center for Power Optimization of Electro-Thermal Systems, or POETS, held its kickoff meeting on the Urbana campus. The grand opening celebration featured speakers such as University of Illinois President Timothy Killeen and National Science Foundation Director France Cordova.
“This new engineering research center is what we at NSF like to call a really big deal,” said Killeen, a former NSF assistant director. “These are very difficult grants to get. Incredibly competitive. Best ideas across the country competing. To win an engineering research center is something that we’re immensely proud of.
“It affirms the world-class know-how here that has helped land a first-of-its-kind center sought by the top universities from across the country. It’s a big deal for our faculty and a big deal for our students, putting them on the very leading edge of research, education, and discovery in an arena that is so critically important for societal prosperity into the future. It’s clearly a big deal for our state and our nation, promising next-generation power sources that would not only serve society’s needs but also create new products and new industries to drive economic growth.”
NSF Assistant Director of Engineering Pramod Khargonekar commended Alleyne and his team for their outstanding proposal. One of only three centers awarded out of 198 applicants, POETS stood out for its scientific and technological opportunity, the team of universities and industry partners involved, its commitment to education, and the strong ecosystem it will create, structuring a straight path from the lab to real-world application.
“We want to increase the total power density in vehicles by 10 to 100 times,” said Alleyne, the Ralph & Catherine Fisher Professor in MechSE. “Today’s electrical technologies are at their thermal limit.”