Energy Transitions

Safe and climate-conscious energy solutions for our generation and the next.

As the world changes, our energy sources and technologies must adapt. Grainger engineers are innovating safer, more efficient, cleaner and more sustainable ways to generate the energy that powers everything we do.

With our experts developing micro nuclear reactors, wide-bandgap semiconductors and hydrogen fuel cells, Grainger Engineering is leading the charge to a more sustainable future in energy and training the emerging clean-energy-focused workforce.

Featured Research


Midwestern Hydrogen Partnership

The Midwestern Hydrogen Partnership advances and promotes the development and adoption of hydrogen technologies to enable clean, secure and resilient energy sources, and create economic development opportunities throughout the Midwest. 

Hydrogen fuel cell technologies are clean technologies that can help combat global warming. Fuel cell-powered cars and buses are now a reality, but new opportunities are also appearing to deploy these technologies in industries like rail, maritime, aviation, steel production and industrial heating. 

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Nuclear microreactors are small nuclear reactors that utilize a fission chain reaction to generate between one and 20 MW of heat energy, or one third of that as carbon-free electrical energy.

Grainger Engineering is partnering with the Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation (USNC) to construct a research facility, the Micro Modular Reactor (MMR®), on the Urbana-Champaign campus. The MMR will make the University of Illinois the first to demonstrate how microreactor systems can integrate with fossil fuel infrastructure to accelerate the decarbonization of existing power-generation facilities. 

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Batteries of Tomorrow

Grainger engineers like Christopher Evans, Xiao Su and Paul Braun are focusing their efforts on developing higher-performance batteries to power our future. Self-healing and recyclable batteries could minimize the danger of explosive lithium-ion batteries, and make it easier to withdraw the materials to recycle materials. 

With support from DARPA and the U.S. Department of Energy, our researchers are also advancing sold-state batteries, liquid electrolytes, wireless sensor networks and electric vehicles.