Tuesday, May 11, 2010

New Eni-MIT energy center focuses solely on the sun

MIT is stepping up its research into solar energy, hoping to finally make sunlight an affordable, efficient power source.

In a new research center officially opened last week, 21 Massachusetts Institute of Technology faculty members and dozens of students are working together to make advances in solar technology. Called the Eni-MIT Solar Frontiers Center, it is funded largely with a grant from Italian energy giant Eni, which recently provided $2 million in equipment for two new labs, in addition to a $5 million annual commitment for the next five years.

Moving away from fossil fuels is essential for global security, to meet growing demand for energy, and to protect against further climate change, MIT president Susan Hockfield said after a brief ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The center, she said, aims to “fundamentally transform how the world produces and consumes energy.’’

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