Nick Melosh and Zhi-Xun Shen awarded $1.8 million from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

Zhi-Xun Shen ( Image courtesy Peter Ginter/SLAC)

It has been quite a month for Stanford’s NICK MELOSH and ZHI-XUN SHEN. Melosh, an assistant professor of materials science and engineering, and Shen, the Paul Pigott Professor in Physical Sciences and chief scientist at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, are part of a team that has discovered PETE, a solar energy conversion process that shows promise in significantly reducing the cost of solar energy production.

Nick Melosh
Nick Melosh (Photo: L.A. Cicero)

On Aug. 1 their research was featured in Nature Materials and since then has garnered attention from scientific colleagues, media and venture capitalists.

This week Shen and Melosh received word from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation that they have been granted $1.8 million to support the development of PETE, which stands for “photon enhanced thermionic emission.”

“We are delighted that the Moore Foundation is providing generous support for a high-risk project,” Melosh and Shen wrote in an email. “The PETE concept originates from an unexpected observation of electron emission in fundamental research at Stanford and SLAC.”

The team also has support from the Global Climate and Energy Project.

“With the Moore support, we should be able to bring this ‘out of the box’ concept of solar energy harvesting to a point that we can benchmark it against the standard solar energy technologies,” Shen added.