Energy Conversion

Blue flames
  • Combustion technologies—develop cleaner burning technologies by studying the fundamental physics and chemistry of combustion
  • Fuel cells performance and durability using multiscale mathematical modeling and associated advanced diagnostics
  • Examination of structure/function/property relationships of ion-conducting polymers and thin films
  • Production of renewable hydrogen using electrochemical technologies
  • New technologies and materials for interconversion of thermal, electrical, mechanical, and chemical energies

Advanced technologies for converting energy are necessary foundations for a clean, sustainable energy system. The use of renewable energy including production of fuels and their utilization in fuel cells and fuel-cell-like systems are required to meet deep decarbonization goals. Related to this are efficient combustion technologies and efficient, new technologies for the interconversion of different energies including thermal, chemical, electrical, and mechanical.

The Energy Conversion Group approaches these challenges through understanding and optimizing next-generation fuel-cell and related energy-conversion components and materials mainly through physics-based, multiscale modeling of cell behavior and advanced diagnostics of cell properties and phenomena. The work focuses on exploration of transport phenomena including charged and neutral species along with structure/function/property relationships of the essential components common to many of these technologies to improve device performance and durability.

For thermal energy conversion, we focus on being a leader in the development and deployment of carbon neutral and near-zero pollutant small-scale, heat and power systems and the policies encouraging their deployment. Specifically, we focus on the development of low emission (pollutant and GHG) burners for appliances and systems: gas turbines, boilers, furnaces, cooking appliances, and water heaters, measurement of various emissions, rapid analysis of new biofuels, and development of lean business plans and private/public partnerships to accelerate commercialization of heat and power system technologies.

The group comprises a multidisciplinary team of electrochemists, chemical engineers, mechanical engineers, theorists, and material scientists. We have active collaborations between industry, academia, and national laboratories.

Group Leader

Principle Researchers