The Center for Energy Research is a focus area for research, information exchange, and education in energy topics. Issues of particular interest to our geographical region include more general topics such as: solar energy utilization schemes, arid regions energy systems (e.g. dry cooling considerations), advanced cooling concepts (e.g. refrigeration systems that do not use CFCs), and nuclear waste issues are of particular importance. On a broader application basis, conventional power generation systems, energy conservation devices and systems, and environmental control issues for energy systems are of interest. The Center serves as a generator and catalyst for ideas, a stimulus for interdisciplinary cooperation, and a facilitator for commercialization.
The Center acts as a base for bringing together people from a variety of disciplines to work on specific problems of interest. These problems may be defined within the Center without particular knowledge of funding, drawing upon strengths of the people involved. People within the Center then seek possible funding sources for this work. Alternatively, funding opportunities may become known to Center personnel, and focus groups will be formed to attack these problems. Since the Center does not receive discretionary funding, most projects are of the latter type.
Information exchange and educational activities are an integral part of the function of the Center. To cite examples of each of these, a Solar Energy Interest Group has been formed under the auspices of the Center. This group sponsors discussions of solar applications, and hosts professionals in the field for visits and seminars to UNLV. A second type of function is the stimulus for formal class offerings. Under the encouragement of Center personnel, a class offering, EGG 450/650, Introduction to Solar Energy Applications, is being offered at UNLV. Faculty from Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Environmental Studies, Architecture, and Political Science give various portions of the course.
While the Center is broad in its scope and welcomes interactions with any interested party within the University and Community College System of Nevada as well as laboratories elsewhere, a major thrust is located in the Howard R. Hughes College of Engineering at UNLV. Close affiliations exist with the College of Science and the School of Architecture at UNLV. The Director of the Center reports to the Dean of the Howard R. Hughes College of Engineering.