Skip to Content

All University of South Carolina system institutions will be closed through the end of the spring semester. Columbia campus virtual instruction will continue through the end of the Summer II semester (Aug 1). Details can be found on the coronavirus landing page.

College of Engineering and Computing

Faculty member and graduate student work in laboratory

SAGE: Strategic Approaches to the Generation of Electricity

From charging your phone to large-scale manufacturing – everyone relies on reliable and affordable electricity. The rapid development of the world has resulted in a dramatic increase in the demand for energy resources and spurred the growth of a global energy economy.

A SmartState Center for Economic Excellence

The SmartState Center for Strategic Approaches to the Generation of Electricity (SAGE) is developing a broad, cutting edge research portfolio focused on novel technologies to enhance the environmental performance of electricity production, by providing sustainable solutions to the industrial based research problems in a fast pace with the development of high-throughput experimentation for nanomaterials discovery and optimization.

As stationary sources constituting the majority of electricity generation, part of the research in the center focuses on developing novel nanomaterials for mitigating the pollutant emissions, catalysts for syngas production, and coal slagging gasification reactors by combining our national leading capacities, including multi-purpose high-throughput screening, advanced spectroscopic techniques, and patented nanomaterial synthesis methodology. Additional research efforts at SAGE are on the development of combustion technologies, i.e., oxy-combustion, while trying to understand the combustion chemistry as well as the pollutant formation at a more fundamental level.

Aside from the research aimed at coal powered stationary sources, electricity generation from alternative feedstock (AFs) (CO2, hydrogen, biofuels, etc.) gains more interests, and our approaches to the AFs ranged from fuel production like CO2 hydrogenation and biodiesel production to emission control, such as mitigation of NOx emissions from biodiesel engine.

Areas of Research

Dr. Jochen Lauterbach and his research group work on advancing fundamental and applied research in heterogeneous catalysis and the synthesis of new nanomaterials. Our research has applications in environmental processes for hydrocarbon based power generation:

  • Using alternate feedstocks (CO2 utilization) to generate chemicals and fuels
  • Hydrogen generation, from ammonia and jet fuel, for mobile fuel cell applications
  • Exhaust gas aftertreatment of engines running on biofuels

They use advanced spectroscopic techniques, such as photo-modulated infrared spectroscopy and infrared spectral imaging, to gain insight into molecular level processes on catalysts. They develop novel high-throughput screening methods to rapidly discover and optimize new material formulations for energy applications. The high-throughput techniques yield optimized catalysts within fractions of the time and budget of traditional sequential research strategies.


Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.

©