Exploring Creative Energy Solutions

The Energy Initiative supports and promotes a wide variety of energy-related research across the university, ranging from projects by individual investigators to activities that partner our faculty, staff and students with outside institutions, corporations, governments and non-governmental organizations. In every case, our researchers work to maintain the highest standards of intellectual rigor, transparency and objectivity. 

Current energy research focal points at Duke include new energy materials and fuels; energy economics and modeling for improved energy policies and market decisions; energy data analytics to inform energy production and use; and science and technologies for reducing the impact of energy on the environment.

The Energy Initiative supports this research by providing direct seed funding for new investigations and access to other financial and human resources. We organize and sponsor workshops and seminars where current research results may be shared. We keep a database of energy-focused faculty and staff that can be searched for collaborators and subject-matter experts, or simply browsed to view the broad range of inquiry being pursued at Duke.

More than 1.2 billion people around the world lack access to modern energy, and more than 2.7 billion still use biomass for cooking. Residents of many rural areas struggle to find reliable sources of electricity and other modern fuels. These and other energy poverty problems have profound effects on human health, local and regional economic prosperity, and environmental quality. Duke faculty with expertise in environmental health, development economics, and energy poverty are contributing to better understanding of these issues and ways to address them. Potential solutions include finding ways to deploy cleaner cookstoves and bringing off-grid renewable energy to remote areas. Learn more about our recent research in global energy access.
Energy data systems – found in electricity, transportation, industry, buildings and energy markets – are facing tremendous change as the U.S. electric grid and other systems adapt to new technologies. As they develop, these systems increasingly provide massive amounts of highly detailed data about energy use and production. Duke's groundbreaking Energy Data Analytics Lab is developing and applying advanced data analytics tools to transform this information into insight, allowing individuals and organizations to apply it in practical ways that improve energy system reliability, resilience, environmental sustainability, productivity and affordability. Learn more about how we're using innovative analytic tools in our research.
Duke researchers operate at the leading edge of energy materials discovery, investigating ideas such as how to improve the efficiency, reliability, and affordability of solar cells or produce hydrogen fuel more cleanly and efficiently. Faculty and staff, often working with student assistance, are developing new technologies and imagining novel applications for existing systems. These teams aim for a range of energy-related goals, from improving the efficiency of the current energy system to reducing the environmental impact of energy production and use. Learn more about our research on energy materials.
Demand for energy is rising globally and, as energy producers race to keep up, society seeks to understand, manage, and reduce environmental impacts on air, water, land and their inhabitants. Duke researchers are at the forefront of efforts to find efficient, sustainable and clean energy sources and processes. They examine energy resources and tools around the globe and at all points along the production chain, seeking economically viable technologies and practices that can ensure a reliable, affordable supply of energy while protecting the environment around us. Learn more about our work on sustainable technology.
Faculty from across Duke University bring expertise in economics, business, law, diplomacy, systems modeling, psychology, and more to deliver market- and policy-relevant analyses that guide governments, businesses, and other decision makers across the world. Our researchers address market dynamics and policies regarding energy systems, climate change mitigation and adaptation, consumer energy decision-making, international energy policy, resource taxation, and other topics. Duke’s experts have served in some of the top tiers of government, including domestic and international posts for the U.S. government, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and in state governments across the country. Learn more about our recent research in economics, policy and related areas.

Mailing Address

Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability
Box 90467
Durham, NC 27708

Street / Delivery Address

Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability
140 Science Drive
Gross Hall, Suite 101
Durham, NC 27708