Dr. Delia Milliron wins 2015 Resonate Award

DeliaDelia Milliron stands among the six other panel presenters who received the Resnick Institutes' Resonate Award at the Aspen Ideas festival in Aspen, Colorado. Milliron, associate professor in the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering, has been awarded a 2015 Resnick Sustainability Institute Resonate Award for her research utilizing nanomaterials to enhance energy technologies and lower their costs.

Resonate Awards honor breakthrough achievements in energy science and sustainability. The awards celebrate innovators with new ideas or contributions to the field of sustainability that may not already have gained widespread attention.

Milliron’s research group was the first to demonstrate smart window technology that allows users to independently control light and heat coming in from the sun, which saves energy and money, and optimizes thermal comfort in buildings and homes.

Her team has created a transparent, infrared-blocking nanocrystal coating that can be applied to windows using an inexpensive technique similar to spray-painting a car.  Windows with these coatings, along with a simple control system, can adapt to changing weather conditions and dramatically reduce energy consumption.

Their low-cost process could yield a fivefold reduction in the cost of smart window production, enabling more consumers to adopt the technology. The outcome could save millions as buildings account for 40 percent of energy consumed in the U.S. and much of it is wasted due to poor management of day lighting and thermal losses because of inefficient windows.  It’s estimated this costs the U.S. economy $100 million a day, and that energy wasted is equivalent to the output of more than 400 coal-fired power plants.

“This award is a wonderful recognition of how our dynamic window technologies can have an impact on sustainability by significantly improving energy efficiency of buildings,” Milliron said. “To have this work highlighted as an important innovation will help us keep our momentum in overcoming the technical and market barriers that remain to develop a commercial product.”

Private and public funds exceeding $6 million have been committed to this technology, allowing the possibility of reducing the nation’s dependence on imported oil for heating, saving money and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Improving the energy efficiency of buildings will also reduce pressure on electrical grids.

Milliron received the award July 2 at the Aspen Ideas Festival in Aspen, CO. As a result of the recognition, she becomes a member of the institute’s Society of Innovators, which helps guide the direction of future awards.

Milliron joined the UT Austin faculty in 2013. Previously she has served as the Director of the Inorganic Nanostructures Facility and Deputy Director at the Molecular Foundry at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, and worked for IBM’s research division. In 2012, she co-founded Heliotrope Technologies, a start-up company developing smart window technology. She received her Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley and an A.B. in chemistry and materials science at Princeton University. Her other recent awards include a 2013 R&D 100 Award, a Mohr Davidow Ventures Innovators Award, and a Department of Energy Early Career Research Award.

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