Energy Boost Seed Grants

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This competitive, peer-reviewed program provides initial support for new, long-term programs of collaborative interdisciplinary research that is energy related and that will have strong potential to attract external funding. Proposals should involve multiple colleges, centers, and/or SIU campuses. Proposals must include at least one junior (pre-tenure) and one senior (tenured) faculty investigator, should represent new initiatives, and must target external funding opportunities that existing programs cannot access. Proposals for this program are reviewed by one or more ad hoc advisory committees selected by the Advanced Coal and Energy Research Center. External reviews may be solicited. Awardees must submit a proposal related to their interdisciplinary seed grant topic to an external funding source no more than twelve months after the award period begins. This program is funded by ACERC's Energy Boost.

FY 20 Grants

Submissions Due: January 31, 2019
Start Date:
July 1, 2019
Up to 12 Months
Grant Amount:
Up to $50,000

Application - FY20

Download PDF Application Packet.

Download Budget Form.


Download FY20 Purchase Pre-Approval Request Form.

Final Report Cover Sheet

FY 19 Winners

Development of Gallium Oxide Based Wireless Smart Sensor Platform for in-situ Oxygen Monitoring in Coal-Fired Power Plant
Dr. Chao Lu, Assistant Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering - PI
Dr. Shaikh Ahmed, Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering - CoPI

Predictive biosensor for CO2 conversion to methane and related industrial useful molecules
Dr. Farhan Chowdhury, Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering and Energy Processes - PI
Dr. Poopalasingam Sivakumar, Assistant Professor, Physics - CoPI
Dr. Punit Kohli, Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry - CoPI

FY 18 Winners

Social Media Footprints of Public Perception on Energy Issues and Their Policy Implications
Dr. Ruopo Li, Assistant Professor, Geography and Environmental Resources - PI
Dr. Justin Schoof, Professor, Geography and Environmental Resources - CoPI

Related Publications:

Ruopu Li, Jessica Crowe, David Leifer, Lei Zou, Justin Schoof, Beyond big data: Social media challenges and opportunities for understanding social perception of energy, Energy Research & Social Science, Volume 56, 2019, 101217, ISSN 2214-6296, (
Abstract: Social perception, i.e., public advocacy and sentiment, on various energy issues deeply affects our energy future. This type of information is traditionally collected through structured energy surveys and statistics, which is often cost-formidable and labor-intensive. As free communication platforms with massive amounts of public opinions, social media can be used as a new lens for examining the dynamics of social perception towards both fossil and renewable energy. Compared with energy surveys, the analytics of social media leverage crowd-sourced public opinions instead of those from a directed and targeted audience. Based on a preliminary pilot study, we compare Twitter-based data mining results with a recent survey in three regions with different historic ties to fossil and renewable energy. We identify the critical issues associated with social advocacy and sentiment over energy development and consumption, and summarize policy implications. Furthermore, we discuss opportunities and challenges of using social media for understanding energy-related public perception. We conclude that more social media research on energy-related perception may lead to an in-depth understanding of polarized social perception, social contexts of energy policies, and possible strategies of bridging the gaps in and expanding the energy market.
Keywords: Social perception; Social media; Survey; Representativeness; Twitter; Energy policy

Jessica A. Crowe, Ruopu Li, Is the just transition socially accepted? Energy history, place, and support for coal and solar in Illinois, Texas, and Vermont, Energy Research & Social Science, Volume 59, 2020, 101309, ISSN 2214-6296, (
Abstract: Given a myriad of challenges and technological advancement, the energy system has been constantly evolving and transforming, which requires compatible adjustments in energy policies. For regions with highly diverse energy sources, such as the United States, it's important to not only analyze public perceptions of various energy sources, but also examine relative levels of support for energy transition policies. We examine public perceptions of two energy sources, coal and solar energy, as well as the public's support for energy transition policies that assist the transition from coal to renewable energy, specifically solar. To better understand how place influences attitudes and policies of coal and solar, we sampled respondents from three areas with varying ties to coal and solar: Saline County, IL, Houston, TX, and Burlington, VT. Our results suggest that one’s place has an important effect in differentiating the public perceptions of renewable and nonrenewable energy and for support in an energy transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. While residents of places with historical attachment to coal mining have positive attitudes toward coal, our data show that they have even more positive attitudes toward sustainable energy sources. These attitudes hold for future development and government assistance. If federal or state governments seek to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (and consequently energy from coal, a major source of greenhouse gases), solar and other sustainable energy policies need to be targeted at places with historical ties to coal and other fossil fuels to ensure a procedurally just energy transition.
Keywords: Coal; Solar; Just transition; Energy justice; Energy perceptions

Investigations of Atomic Layers of MoS2 and Doped MoS2 for Electrochemical Reduction of Carbon Dioxide
Dr. Dipanjan Mazumdar, Assistant Professor, Physics - PI
Dr. Thushari Jayasekera, Assistant Professor, Physics - CoPI
Dr. Saikat Talapatra, Professor, Physics - CoPI

FY 17 Winners

Vibration Energy Harvesting Devices for Simultaneously Powering Multiple Electrical Loads
Dr. Christopher Cooley, Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering and Energy Processes – PI
Dr. Tan Chai, Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering and Energy Processes - CoPI
Dr. Tsuchin Chu, Professor, Mechanical Engineering and Energy Processes - CoPI
View Cooley's Energy Day 2017 Videos and Slides

Hybrid Porous Materials relevant for Selective Capture and Catalytic and Electrocatalytic Conversion of greenhouse Gases to Chemical Fuels
Dr. Pravas Deria, Assistant Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry – PI
Dr. Qingfeng Ge, Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry – CoPI

Exploring Electrochemically assisted Methane Production from Coal by Microbial Electrolysis Cell Systems
Dr. Mohtashim Shamsi, Assistant Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry – PI
Dr. Yanna Liang, Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Co-PI
View Shamsi's Energy Day 2017 Videos and Slides