Amanda Morris, associate professor of chemistry at Virginia Tech, will discuss cost and storage of solar energy, such as that collected by Eastern Mennonite University's solar array on the top of the Sadie Hartzler Library, during a March 14 Suter Science Seminar. (EMU file photo)

Tech professor to address cost and storage of solar energy during March 14 Suter Science Seminar

Amanda Morris, associate professor of chemistry at Virginia Tech, will present a Suter Science Seminar at Eastern Mennonite University Wednesday, March 14 at 4 p.m.

Morris will discuss overcoming the cost and storage barriers to solar energy adoption.

Dr. Amanda Morris, professor of chemistry, Virginia Tech. (Courtesy photo)

The seminar in Science Center Room 104 is free and open to the public.

In 1.5 hours enough sunlight hits the earth’s surface to power human civilization for a year. However, there are remaining technological barriers to its widespread adoption: cost and storage. The U.S. Department of Energy projects that to make solar competitive with conventional energy sources, by 2020 the cost of solar energy must be reduced from the current benchmark of 10 cents/ kWh to 3 cents/kWh. Secondly, the intermittent nature of the sun necessitates technology capable of harnessing the energy when the sun is shining and storing it for later use.

Morris has undertaken laboratory methods to address both of these scientific challenges.

Currently an assistant professor of inorganic and energy chemistry at Virginia Tech, Morris’s research education conducted at Penn State University (B.S.), Johns Hopkins University (PhD), and Princeton University (Postdoctoral) has been focused on using fundamental science to address critical environmental issues such as water remediation, solar energy harvesting and storage, and carbon dioxide conversion. Her independent research group’s current focus is on two aspects of solar energy conversion: solar energy storage through artificial photosynthesis and next-generation solar cells.

Morris has received numerous awards in recognition of her work including a Sloan Fellowship, Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, and the Inter-American Photochemical Society Young Investigator Award. In her spare time she enjoys reading, her family and working on house projects.

This is the third of five Suter Science Seminars this spring, which are made possible by the sponsorship of the Daniel B. Suter Endowment in Biology and the co-sponsorship of supporting programs.

The next seminar takes place on March 28, and features The Nature Conservancy’s Bronson Griscom speaking on natural climate solutions.

Discussion on “Tech professor to address cost and storage of solar energy during March 14 Suter Science Seminar

  1. It’s too bad that this event is scheduled at exactly the same time and date as the Department of Environmental Quality’s public hearing on proposed regulations to reduce Virginia’s carbon emissions from power plants. I would love to hear the Tech professor but plan to be offering comments at that meeting on behalf of a local grassroots nonprofit organization called Climate Action Alliance of the Valley. I hope you will post a summary of her remarks. And I hope you will encourage attendees to offer public comments on these regulations. The deadline for such comments is April 9. Details are on our website. Thanks.

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