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Our Mission

The Clean Energy Institute (CEI) at the University of Washington (UW) was founded in 2013 with funds from the state of Washington. Our mission is to accelerate the adoption of a scalable and equitable clean energy future that will improve the health and economy of our state, nation, and world. To accomplish this, CEI supports the advancement of next-generation solar energy and battery materials and devices, as well as their integration with systems and the grid. The Institute creates the ideas and educates the people needed to generate these innovations, while facilitating the pathways to bring them to market.

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CEI is educating the next generation of clean energy leaders. Our programs provide unique training opportunities for scientists and engineers seeking to mitigate climate change.
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CEI is creating fundamental knowledge and exploring new research frontiers across all scales of clean energy. We support the recruitment of world-class faculty to the UW and seed interdisciplinary research initiatives.
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CEI leads the network needed to accelerate clean energy research pathways to the marketplace. We develop facilities, partnerships, and programs that reduce the time and capital needed for research to be translated into clean technologies.
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CEI offers open access to R&D instruments and research staff expertise at its Washington Clean Energy Testbeds. The Testbeds and the future Center for Advanced Materials & Clean Energy Technologies position UW and the region as a climate tech hotbed.

History Highlights

  1. 2013

    December: The Clean Energy Institute (CEI) at the University of Washington is founded with funds from the state of Washington.
  2. 2014

    The Washington Research Foundation (WRF) creates the Fund for Innovation in Clean Energy to support CEI faculty and postdoctoral fellows.
  3. 2015

    September: CEI hosts Pacific Northwest Energy Storage Symposium with Washington State University, Joint Center for Energy Storage Research, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Researchers, students, government regulators, energy entrepreneurs, utilities and industry experts share success stories, cutting-edge research, and regional challenges.
  4. 2016

    August: CEI hosts U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, Washington Governor Jay Inslee, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, U.S Representative Derek Kilmer, and clean energy leaders from across the Pacific Northwest for the Northwest Regional Clean Energy Innovation Partnership Workshop.

    October: With support from the National Science Foundation, CEI launches the Data Intensive Research Enabling Clean Technologies (DIRECT) program, training graduate students in data-enabled discovery and design of advanced materials for clean energy.

  5. 2017

    February: CEI opens the Washington Clean Energy Testbeds with funds from the Washington State Legislature and Washington Research Foundation.

    October: CEI opens its Research Training Testbed in the NanoES building, providing UW students access to industrial-quality research tools and training in clean energy. CEI faculty establish a hands-on “Energy Materials, Devices, and Systems” course in the RTT for upper-level undergraduate and first-year graduate students. 

  6. 2018

    June: CEI director Daniel Schwartz wins Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM), the highest U.S. award for STEM mentors.

    December: Testbeds Managing Director Michael Pomfret wins 2018 CleanTech Alliance & Northwest Environmental Business Council Energy Leadership Achievement Award.

  7. 2019

    December: Five CEI faculty members named to annual Highly Cited Researchers list of the world’s most influential scientists.
  8. 2020

    April: CEI researchers and Washington Clean Energy Testbeds join US-MAP coalition to accelerate the domestic commercialization of perovskite technologies.
  9. 2021

    Washington Clean Energy Testbeds partner with CleanTech Alliance, VertueLab to form the Northwest Cleantech Innovation Network (NWCIN) under U.S. DOE Energy Program for Innovation Clusters (EPIC) initiative.

    NWCIN launches CleanTech Hardware Innovation Prototyping (CHIP) program, providing entrepreneurs and early-stage startups with up to $25k of in-kind access to the Testbeds.

  10. 2022

    March: UW regents approve the 69-acre Portage Bay Crossing development.

    July: New state funding enables CEI to establish the Community Engagement Testbed to support tribes and Washington communities adopting clean energy.

    CEI establishes the Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellowship and recruits its first cohort of four recent Ph.D. graduates.

  11. 2023

    The Community Engagement Testbed executes its first co-designed research project in partnership with Front and Centered and UW civil & environmental engineers, and its first co-designed engineering project in partnership with the Yakama Nation Housing Authority.

    UW Engineering seniors work with tribal and county agencies on the North Olympic Peninsula to execute the first three Community Capstones in Clean Energy.