University of California, Berkeley, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) issued a press release today announcing the establishment of the The Kavli Energy NanoSciences Institute which is receiving an initial funding from a $20 million endowment, and initial start-up money from the Kavli Foundation, an organization “dedicated to advancing science for the benefit of humanity, promoting public understanding of scientific research, and supporting scientists and their work.”
According to the press release:
The new institute will explore fundamental issues in energy science, using cutting-edge tools and techniques developed to study and manipulate nanomaterials – stuff with dimensions 1,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair – to understand how solar, heat and vibrational energy are captured and converted into useful work by plants and animals or novel materials.
Institute co-dirctor Omar Yaghi sayse ““I think that by bringing together people who make new forms of matter, others who know how to manipulate matter on a fine scale, and those who try to understand how electrons or light propagate through these materials, we will get the kind of out-of-the-box thinking from which whole new areas of research emerge.”
From the press release it appears that there will be a focus on looking at how energy operates within nature and on the quantum level, and then try to replicate some of nature’s tricks by artificial means to find new ways of producing useful energy. There’s no mention of the study of LENR here, but it would seem that would be a field that would be compatible with the institute’s mission. If LENR is able breaks out of it’s current place in the fringes of science, research projects like this might start to examine it more seriously.