The California State University, Los Angeles (Cal State L.A.) proposes to establish a new CREST Center for Energy and Sustainability (CEaS). CEaS embodies a new vision for a new CREST center that builds on existing strengths of Cal State L.A.?s Colleges of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology (ECST) and Natural and Social Sciences (NSS). The Center?s mission is threefold: 1) to increase the number of underrepresented students in STEM fields and, especially, to put them on a path towards the professoriate; 2) to conduct innovative, multidisciplinary, research in energy and sustainability; and 3) to increase public awareness and engage policymakers in this nascent movement. CSLA will be have a consortium of partners that includes representatives from institutions (i.e., middle and high schools, and a community college) with highly diverse student populations, public and private Ph.D.-granting institutions, the largest energy providers and utilities in the U.S., private industry, the Los Angeles Mayor?s office, and national laboratories. Collaborating with these institutions helps us pursue a vision of conducting cutting edge research and transforming sustainable energy from environmental chic to accessible technologies that excite 6th-graders and benefit society.
Under the unifying theme of Energy and Sustainability, the four center subprojects will engage in research to address the three cornerstones of energy sustainability: diversity in energy sources, efficiency in energy use, and long-term sustainability. The ?biofuels combustion? subproject will immediately tackle research projects to make current combustion more efficient and less polluting. The ?photovoltaics? subproject will work on developing highly efficient and inexpensive photovoltaic cells. The ?fuel cells? subproject is interested in creating micro-fuel cells for applications in portable electronics. Finally, the ?carbon sequestration? component is interested in understanding the impacts of carbon capture and storage on the environment. Together, these four subprojects have a good mix of scientists and engineers with both short- and long-term research agendas.