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RE3 Workshop 2015


The RE3 Workshop is held every other year on odd numbered years and highlights specific themes in renewable energy and energy efficiency research and implementation, including:

Solar Energy  *  Energy Materials Discovery  *  Membranes  *  Solar Fuels  *  Biofuels  *  Energy Storage  *  Energy Efficiency  *  Entrepreneurship

Each theme is organized by leading academic researchers and industry partners from Kentucky to feature eminent researchers and business people from across the US.

A short course is offered on specific R&D topics:

Tools for Materials Genome Research and Standard Research Practices for Renewables

Call for Papers & Posters!

Papers are invited on recent fundamental discoveries that can significantly further the science and technology of renewable energy and energy efficiency research. Papers are also invited that address the goal of implementing such technologies.

Student, post-doc and faculty posters will be judged during the poster session with awards given on Tuesday morning.

To apply, email 250 word abstracts to RE3workshop "at" gmail "dot" com by Monday, March 16, 2015.


Sunday 3/22

2:00 - 4:00 pm


4:00 - 6:00

6:00 - 8:00

Monday 3/23


8:00 - 8:30 am

8:30 - 10:00


10:00 - 10:15

10:15 - 11:30

11:30 - 12:15

12:15 - 1:30

1:30 - 3:15

1:30 - 2:30

Tuesday, 3/24


8:30 - 9:00 am

9:00 - 10:00

10:00 - 10:15


10:15 - 12:00

12:00 - 1:00 pm


1:00 - 2:45

2:45 - 4:15



Short Course

Medallion Ballroom A (1st Floor)

“Materials Genome Research and Standard Research Tools for Renewables”

Mahendra Sunkara, PhD, UofL
Jacek Jasinski, PhD, UofL
Josh Spurgeon, PhD, UofL

Course Description: The White House’s materials genome initiative states, “Advanced materials are essential to economic security and human well being, with applications in industries aimed at addressing challenges in clean energy, national security, and human welfare, yet it can take 20 or more years to move a material after initial discovery to the market. Accelerating the pace of discovery and deployment of advanced material systems will therefore be crucial to achieving global competitiveness in the 21st century.” The group led by Conn Center at UofL with UK and Iowa State and funded through NSF’s SOLAR initiative has been developing various statistical modeling, materials informatics, first principles computations, and materials synthesis approaches to accelerate the pace of discovery. PIs of this effort will provide pedagogical discussion of various techniques being developed and the status of this effort.


Learn about various research methodologies for understanding structure-property-performance relationships of advanced materials toward use in energy conversion and storage technologies. This short course will cover the following topics: 1) advanced microscopy, diffraction and spectroscopy techniques; 2) electrochemical techniques; and 3) photoelectrochemical techniques. The goal is to show the standard research practices to enable new materials development efforts toward dye sensitized solar cells, lithium ion batteries and solar fuels. 

Poster Session, Judging

Medallion Ballroom C-F (1st Floor)

Welcoming Reception

Medallion Ballroom Foyer (1st Floor)


Medallion Ballroom Foyer (1st Floor) 

Plenary Session

Medallion Ballroom A/B (1st Floor)

Opening remarks from Workshop Chairs:
Mahendra Sunkara, PhD, UofL
Rodney Andrews, PhD, UK

Neville Pinto, PhD
Dean, J.B. Speed School of Engineering
University of Louisville

"Improving innovation in Kentucky"

Babu Chalamala, PhD
SunEdison Fellow
SunEdison, Inc. 

"Solar-storage integration and commercialization of grid scale energy storage technology"


Solar Energy

Medallion Ballroom A/B (1st Floor)

Session Chairs:
Thad Druffel, PhD, PE, UofL
Hemali Rathnayake, PhD, WKU

Paul Lahti, PhD
Co-Director, PHaSE Energy Frontier Research Center
Professor, Chemistry
University of Massachusetts, Amherst

"Self-assembly and hierarchal assembly in organic photovoltaics with donor-acceptor molecules and polymers"

Richard Ahrenkiel, PhD
Research Fellow Emeritus, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Research Professor, Metallurgical and Materials Engineering
Colorado School of Mines

"Recombination physics in photovoltaics: A brief history of lifetime"

Medallion Ballroom A/B (1st Floor)

Session Chair:
Jagannadh Satyavolu, PhD, UofL 

Dibakar Bhattacharyya, PhD
University Alumni Professor, Chemical and Materials Engineering
Director, Center for Membrane Sciences
University of Kentucky 

"Functionalized membranes for green synthesis of nanoparticles and enzyme catalysis"

Lunch break - explore 4th Street Live!


Speaker's Lunch 

Walnut Room (Mezzanine Level)

Energy Materials Discovery

Medallion Ballroom A/B (1st Floor)

Session Chairs:
Jacek Jasinski, PhD, UofL
Madhu Menon, PhD, UK

Priya Vashishta, PhD
Director, Collaboratory for Advanced Computing Simulations
Professor, Materials Science, Computer Science, Physics and Astronomy
University of Southern California

"Massively parallel reactive and quantum molecular dynamics simulations"


Anubhav Jain, PhD
Research Scientist, Electrochemical Technologies Group
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

"New energy storage and energy generation materials from first-principles calculations"


Miran Mozetic, PhD
Head Researcher, Department of Surface Engineering and Optoelectronics
Jozef Stefan Institute, Slovenia

"Materials for Energy – challenges in fusion reactors and nano-structured metal oxides"

Poster Session, Final Judging

Medallion Ballroom C-F (1st Floor)

Poster Session

Medallion Ballroom A/B (1st Floor)

Plenary Session
Medallion Ballroom A/B (1st Floor) 

Opening remarks from Workshop Chairs:
Mahendra Sunkara, PhD, UofL
Rodney Andrews, PhD, UK


David Link, PhD
Group Leader - Research and Development
LG&E and KU Energy, LLC

"Barriers for renewable energy"

Chris Downs
Account Executive - Municipal Solutions
Johnson Controls, Inc.

S. Rao Chitikela, PhD, PE
MUS Water Management
Johnson Controls, Inc.

"Overcoming obstacles to successfully implement efficiency and renewable energy projects"


Solar Fuels

Medallion Ballroom A/B (1st Floor) 

Session Chair:
Joshua Spurgeon, PhD, UofL

Chengxiang Xiang, PhD
Project Co-Leader for Scale-Up and Prototyping
Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis, California Institute of Technology

"Modeling/simulation and prototyping development of a solar-driven water-splitting cell"


Todd Deutsch, PhD
Senior Scientist, Hydrogen Systems
National Renewable Energy Laboratory

"High-efficiency tandem absorbers for economical solar hydrogen production"


Alex Martinson, PhD
Chemist, Materials Science Division
Argonne National Laboratory

"What atomic layer deposition can (and might) do for solar fuels”

Lunch break - explore 4th St. Live!

Speaker's Lunch

Walnut Room (Mezzanine Level)

Energy Storage

Medallion Ballroom A/B (1st Floor)

Session Chairs:
YT Cheng, PhD, UK
Gamini Sumanasekera, PhD, UofL

Mark Verbrugge, PhD
Director, Chemical Sciences and Materials Systems Laboratory
General Motors Research and Development

"Demographic trends and technological advancements in personal transportation"


Nancy Dudney, PhD

Group Leader and Senior Scientist, Physical Chemistry of Materials Group
Materials Science and Technology Division
Oak Ridge National Laboratory

"Batteries and battery materials by vapor deposition"

Entrepreneurship Panel Discussion

Medallion Ballroom A/B (1st Floor)

Session Chair:
Eugene Krentsel, PhD, UofL

Sean O'Leary
Associate Vice President
Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation 


Allen Morris
Director, Office of Technology Transfer
University of Louisville 


Vasanthi Sunkara
CEO and President
Advanced Energy Materials, LLC 


Tim Fogarty
Managing Director
Crimson Hill, LLC 


Poster Session

The scientific poster session is open to all high school, undergrad, and grad students, postdocs, and faculty with renewable energy and energy efficiency-related research projects. To submit a poster for consideration, send the title, author list, and 250-word abstract to Andrew Marsh, workshop coordinator, at RE3Workshop "at" before Friday, March 20.


Accepted posters are to be hung and discussed from 4 - 6 pm on Sunday 3/22 in the Medallion Ballroom of the Seelbach Hotel at 500 S. 4th Street. The poster session final judging will take place on Monday 3/23 from 4:30 - 7:00 pm, which also includes discussion. Awards will be given on Tuesday morning at the start of the lecture session from 8:30 - 9:00 am. Poster authors should attend these 3 functions. See AGENDA.

Poster sizes are 36" high or 44" high x 56" inch wide, horizontal alignment only. The bulletin boards on which posters will hang are 4' high x 8' wide on 3' legs.

The poster session is free and open to the public.


Featured posters are listed in alphabetic order by submitting author's last name and grouped by institution.

Dupont Manual High School

  • How to make the use of supercapacitors useful by testing different electrodes and activated carbon fiber samples from renewable resources
    Simran Khiani

  • Impact of Shading on Energy Production by a Solar Panel
    Vishal Polepalli

Kentucky Country Day High School

  • Evaluation of Agricultural Seed Fibers as a C5 Sugar Source for Biofuels
    Sriram Satyavolu

University of Kentucky

  • Computational Pre-Screening of Organic Materials for Energy Storage Systems
    Corrine Elliott, Aman Preet Kaur, Selin Ergun, Matthew D. Casselman, Chad Risko, Susan A. Odom

  • Nanoparticle-Catalyzed Membrane for Water Detoxification 2nd Place Winner
    Sebastián Hernández, Lindell Ormsbee, and Dibakar Bhattacharyya

  • Defect and ionic transport in lithium ion batteries 3rd Place Winner
    Jie Pan, Yue Qi, Yang-Tse Cheng

  • Plasma Treated TiO2 for Photocatalytic and Supercapacitor Applications
    Allen D. Reed and Syed Z. Islam


  • Biomolecule immobilized electrode system towards energy generation
    Rupam Sarma and Anne-Frances Miller

  • Novel Techniques to Determine Mechanical Properties of Thin Films for Lithium Ion Batteries
    Qinglin Zhang and Yang-Tse Cheng

University of Louisville

  • Plasma-assisted solution synthesis of metal oxide alloys 
    Babajide Patrick Ajayi, Sudesh Kumari, Daniel Jaramillo, Jacek Jasinski, Josh Spurgeon and Mahendra Sunkara

  • Solvo-Plasma Synthesis of Porous Tin Oxide Nano wires
    Veerendra Atla, Tu Nguyen, and M.Sunkara

  • Synthesis of C5 Bio-chemicals and Bio-fuels Utilizing D-xylose Obtained from Biomass
    Madeline R. Beatty, Kari E. Oigarden, Dania A. Fonseca and Christopher T. Burns

  • First principle material simulation using VASP code
    Indira Chaudhuri, Madhu Menon and Mahendra K Sunkara

  • Fabrication of sulfur cathode electrode for Lithium Sulfur batteries
    Ruchira Dharmasena, Gamini Sumanasekera, Mahendra Sunkara, Arjun Thapa, Jacek Jasinski

  • Alternative Creation of Elemental Copper for Printed Electronics by Intense Pulsed Light treatment of Copper Nitrate Hydroxide 3rd Place Winner
    Gabriel L. Draper, Ruvini Dharmadasa, Meghan Staats, Brandon Lavery, and Thad Druffel

  • Application of Post-Hydrolysis Carbons: Carbon Electrodes in Monolithic Perovskite-based Solar Cells
    Zachary Herde, Jagannadh Satyavolu, Gamini Sumanasekera, Ruchira Dharmasena, Azadeh Celaymanian

  • Towards Integrated Bio-refinery: Carbonization of Post-Hydrolysis Agricultural Fibers
    Zachary Herde, Jagannadh Satyavolu, Gamini Sumanasekera, Azadeh Celaymanian

  • Spectroscopic investigation of charge carrier dynamics in novel solar cell materials
    Abdelqader Jamhawi, Hamzeh Telfah, Mahendra Sunkara, and Jinjun Liu

  • Large Single Crystal Growth of Gallium Nitride
    Daniel F. Jaramillo-Cabanzo and Mahendra K. Sunkara

  • Self-oriented gallium nitride growth on melt gallium layer by Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition (PECVD)
    Daniel F. Jaramillo-Cabanzo and Mahendra K. Sunkara

  • New Approaches Towards Selective Hemicellulose Hydrolysis to Lower Costs for a More Cost-Effective Integrated Bio-Refinery
    Eurick S. Kim and Jagannadh Satyavolu

  • Electrochemical Hydrocarbon Fuel Production from CO­2 3rd Place Winner
    Bijandra Kumar, Sudesh Kumari, Robert T. White, Mahendra Sunkara, Joshua Spurgeon

  • Creating Larger Grain Sizes In Perovskite Solar Cells Using Intense Pulsed Light 1st Place Winner
    Brandon W. Lavery, Venkat Vendra, Thad Druffel, Mahendra Sunkara

  • Building a better lithium battery anode with nanostructured composite electrodes
    Alejandro Martinez-Garcia, Arjun Kumar Thapa, Ruvini Dharmadasa, Tu Q. Nguyen, Jacek Jasinski, Theodore L. Druffel & Mahendra K Sunkara

  • Vehicle to Grid Utilizing a Backstepping Controller for DC/DC Full Bridge Converter and Five Level Active Neutral Point Clamped DC/AC Inverter
    Mohammad Mohebbi, Michael L. McIntyre, Joseph Latham

  • A Novel Two Stage DC/AC Power Converter Optimized for Energy Efficiency
    Mohammad Mohebbi, Michael L. McIntyre, Joseph Latham

  • A study of a novel Na ion battery and its anodic degradation using sodium rich Prussian blue cathode coupled with different titanium based oxide anodes
    Santanu Mukherjee, Nicholas Schuppert, Byungrak Son, Joogon Kim, Osung Kwon, and Sam Park

  • High temperature CO2 capture using Solvo-plasma™ synthesized Li4SiO4 nanomaterials
    Apolo Nambo, Juan He, Tu Quang Nguyen, Thad Druffel, Mahendra Sunkara

  • Scalable Production of Metal Oxide Nanowires Using a Solvo-PlasmaTM Technique
    Tu Nguyen, Venkat Vendra, Jacek Jasinski, and Mahendra Sunkara

  • Kenaf – a potential energy crop for Kentucky
    Nathan Prince and Jagannadh Satyavolu

  • Using Mean Age for Simulating Reaction Progress in Enzymatic Hydrolysis Reactors
    David C. Russ, Zhuoliang Ye, R. Eric Berson


  • Strain Capacitor as an Energy Storage Device
    Pranoy Deb Shuvra and Shamus McNamara

  • New Visible Light Absorbing Materials for Solar Fuels, GaSbxN1-x Alloys
    Swathi Sunkara, Alejandro Martinez Garcia, Venkat Vendra, Jacek Jasinski, Madhu Menon, Mahendra Sunkara

  • High Capacity and High Energy Density Lithium-ion Battery
    A.K. Thapa, A. Martinez-Garcia, V. Vendra, M. Carreon, J. B. Jasinski, T. Paronyan, G. U. Sumanasekera, and M. K. Sunkara

  • Partial Shading Abatement through Cell Level Inverter System Topology
    Steven Tidwell, Mark Elliott, Joseph Latham, Michael McIntyre


  • CdSe Semiconductor Nanoclusters Passivated with Strongly Interacting PDTC Ligands: Energy Level Alignment and Photoinduced Ultrafast Charge Transfer Processes 
    Yizhou Xie, Meghan B. Teunis, Bill Pandit, Rajesh Sardar, and Jinjun Liu

Western Kentucky University
  • ‘Hybrid’ Graphene / Conducting Polymer Multilayers as High-performance Supercapacitors: Layer-by-Layer Assembly via Electropolymerization and Property Characterization
    Carson Price and Sanju Gupta

  • Electrostatic Self-assembled Graphene/Carbon Nanotube Hybrid Multilayers as Efficient Energy Storage “All Carbon” Supercapacitors
    S. Gupta, E. Heintzman, and C. Price

  • Graphene-based Hybrids with Electrochemical Synthesized Manganese Oxides Polymorphs as Tailored Interfaces for Renewable Energy Sources
    S. Gupta, M. Van Meveren, J. Jasinski

  • Graphene-Inorganic ‘hybrids’ with Cobalt Oxide Polymorphs for Electrochemical Energy Storage and Electrocatalysis Applications 2nd Place Winner
    S. Botero, B. McDonald and S. Gupta

  • Cracking the Silicon Case: Graphene and Mesoporous Silicon Composite Nanoarchitectures as Stable, High-performance Li-Ion Batteries Anodes
    J. Walden and S. Gupta

  • Donor-Acceptor Core-Shell Nanoparticles for Organic-based Solar Cells
    Aubrey Penn, Anna Braun, Kelly McKenna, John Ferguson, and Hemali Rathnayake

  • Cost effective carbon based solar cells for renewable energy sources
    Swapnil Sahare, Jacob Strain, Manda Venkata Ramana, John Ferguson, and Hemali Rathnayake

  • Fused Arenes-based molecular systems as additives for organic photovoltaics
    Ananthakrishnan Jeevarathinum Soundaram, Jacob Strain, Rachana Neesu, Dharmesh Patel, and Hemali Rathnayake

  • Multifluorescent core-shell silsesquioxane particles for Energy Harvesting
    Niharika Neerudu Sreeramulu and Hemali Rathnayake


Mona Shirpour, PhD, Chair
Assistant Professor
Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering
University of Kentucky

Sanju Gupta, PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Physics and Astronomy
Western Kentucky University

H. Sam Park, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Mechanical Engineering
University of Louisville

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