Dr. Thomas W. Peterson, fourth from left, and other National Science Foundation officials gathered with FREEDM Systems Center leaders on Nov. 19. (Photo: Sarah Burnside)
Dr. Thomas W. Peterson, head of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Directorate for Engineering, visited North Carolina State University Nov. 19 and toured the Future Renewable Electric Energy Delivery and Management (FREEDM) Systems Center.
FREEDM is an NSF Engineering Research Center (ERC) that aims to revolutionize the nation's power grid and enable the delivery of renewable electric-energy technologies into millions of homes and businesses.
Peterson was joined by Barbara H. Kenny and Bruce Kramer, the ERC program directors for the federal science agency.
Headquartered on NC State's Centennial Campus, FREEDM was established by NSF in 2008. The center is supported by a five-year, $18.5 million ERC grant from NSF and receives additional funding through institutional support and industry membership fees. More than 36 utility companies, electrical equipment manufacturers and alternative energy start-ups are part of the global FREEDM partnership.
The center's partner institutions are Arizona State University, Florida A&M University, Florida State University, Missouri University of Science and Technology, RWTH Aachen University in Germany and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.
Prior to joining NSF, Peterson was dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Arizona from 1998 to 2008. He was the head of chemical and environmental engineering at Arizona from 1990 to 1998 and led the merger of those two programs. He holds three degrees in chemical engineering: a bachelor of science degree from Tufts University, a master of science degree from Arizona, and a doctorate from the California Institute of Technology.