GLEI partners with faculty across Case Western Reserve University to promote energy-related research on campus. Through their research the following faculty work to catalyze breakthroughs and improve understanding of the way energy is harvested, distributed and used.
|Future Power||Energy Storage||Solar Power||Wind||Oil & Gas|
Alexis Abramson, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at CWRU, is the director of the Great Lakes Energy Institute. Dr. Abramson has been with the Case School of Engineering since 2003, where she has focused her research on novel techniques for thermal characterization of nanostructures; the design and synthesis of unique nanomaterials for use in alternative energy applications; virtual energy audits for building energy efficiency and strategies to accelerate technology commercialization at universities and research institutions.
On temporary assignment to the federal government from 2011 to 2013, Dr. Abramson provided strategic leadership and oversight to the Emerging Technologies Team at the Department of Energy's Building Technologies Office, which invests about $90 million per year in the research, development, and commercialization of energy-efficient and cost-effective building technologies that are within five years of being market-ready. Dr. Abramson's work focused on public engagement, peer-reviewed quantitative analysis and a re-structured prioritization of federal investment projects.
From 2006 to 2009, Dr. Abramson was a Senior Fellow at NorTech, Northeast Ohio's tech-based economic development organization. There, she focused on enabling economic development in Northeast Ohio by leveraging technology development and commercialization opportunities at companies and academic institutions in the region.
Dr. Mingguo Hong is an Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at CWRU. His current research is mainly concerned with the operation and control of power systems. In particular, his work focuses on microgrid system control, buildings-to-grid-integration, optimal power flow and electricity market. Prior to joining CWRU, Dr. Hong worked in the power engineering industry for 14 years.
Dr. Hostler's primary work is in the characterization of novel thermal materials. He is currently developing a class of materials that can be switched from thermally conducting to thermally insulating (and back) on demand. Prior to returning to Case, Dr. Hostler worked for waste hear recovery startup Echogen Power Systems. There he designed, built, and tested heat engines that use CO2 as the working fluid. His future research interests include unique approaches to energy conversion and utilization. Examples include CO2-based absorption heat pumps, non-aqueous hydraulic fracturing fluids, and cavitation-induced combustion.
Dr. Pan Li investigates security, privacy, and the optimization in energy systems. In particular, he addresses the cybersecurity issues in the smart grids, privacy concerns in energy management, energy theft detection, and economic activities in power systems, and system optimization including dynamic loading scheduling, and state estimation.
Natural hazards such as hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes pose a significant risk to energy infrastructure such as electric power plants, electric transmission and distribution systems, oil refineries, gas distribution systems, and petroleum terminals. Additionally, DOE has cautioned that climate change could restrict the supply of secure, sustainable, and affordable energy critical to the nation's economic growth. Natural hazards cause considerable physical damage to energy infrastructure which is expected to increase due to the impact of climate change. As such, a framework for risk assessment of energy infrastructure subjected to natural hazards is required which will ultimately form the basis for damage reduction which will lead to a more resilient energy infrastructure. Our current research involves developing a framework for risk-based assessment and strengthening of electric power systems subjected to natural hazards. Specific areas covered thus far include probabilistic seismic risk assessment and design of nuclear power plants, risk assessment of electric power transmission and distribution systems subjected to hurricanes and earthquakes, as well as the combined effect of both. Various risk mitigation strategies were proposed; their efficiency and cost-effectiveness assessed. Aging of energy infrastructure components has also been considered in the risk assessment as it has been determined to be one of the main issues facing the energy sector. Furthermore, the potential impact of climate change on intensity and frequency of future hurricanes and tropical storms has been investigated. Various adaption strategies were proposed and their cost-effectiveness investigated. Future research will focus on the impact of other natural hazards such as tsunamis, floods, ice storms, and tornadoes on energy infrastructure. Other sectors of the energy infrastructure such as power plants, oil refineries, gas distribution systems, and petroleum terminals will also be considered. In the area of climate change, other climate trends such as decreasing water availability for power generation and sea level rise will be incorporated into the research. The ultimate objective of the research is to develop a comprehensive decision support framework that will guide stakeholders to make risk-informed decisions regarding reliability and resilience of energy infrastructure systems as well as prioritize investment in risk mitigation and climate change adaption strategies. This requires an interdisciplinary approach and we work with researchers from electrical engineering, climate science, and social sciences to develop the required framework.
Kenneth A. Loparo was assistant professor of Mechanical Engineering at Cleveland State University from 1977 to 1979 and he has been on the faculty of the Case School of Engineering at Case Western Reserve University since 1979. He is the Nord Professor of Engineering and Chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and holds academic appointments in the departments of biomedical engineering and mechanical and aerospace engineering in the Case School of Engineering. He has received numerous awards including the Sigma Xi Research Award for contributions to stochastic control, the John S. Diekoff Award for Distinguished Graduate Teaching, the Tau Beta Pi Outstanding Engineering and Science Professor Award, the Undergraduate Teaching Excellence Award, the Carl F. Wittke Award for Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching, and the Srinivasa P. Gutti Memorial Engineering Teaching Award. He was chair of the Department of Systems Engineering from 1990 -1993 and associate dean of engineering from 1993 -1997.
Loparo is a Life Fellow of the IEEE and a Fellow of AIMBE, his research interests include stability and control of nonlinear and stochastic systems with applications to large-scale electricity systems including generation, transmission and distribution; nonlinear filtering with applications to monitoring, fault detection, diagnosis, prognosis and reconfigurable control; information theory aspects of stochastic and quantized systems with applications to adaptive and dual control and the design of distributed autonomous control systems; the development of advanced signal processing and data analytics for monitoring and tracking of physiological behavior in health and disease.
Soumyajit Mandal is an Assistant Professor in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department, where he leads the Integrated Circuits and Sensor Physics research group. His energy-related research interests include all aspects of energy-efficient sensor and sensor interface design. Current projects include self-powered temperature and vibration monitoring for smart buildings and electrical distribution networks, acoustically-coupled wireless sensors for monitoring batteries and fuel cells, and highly-reliable high-temperature sensing and control circuits for power electronics systems.
"Wide Bandgap and Ultra-Wide Bandgap Semiconductor Materials and Devices"
My research thrust falls under the umbrella of the synthesis and physics of wide bandgap (WBG) and ultra-wide bandgap (UWBG) semiconductor materials and devices, and the low-dimensional semiconductor nano-matierals and devices. Specifically, my research focuses on the metalorganic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) of III-nitrides, II-IV nitrides, and III-N/II-IV-N2 heterostructures; low pressure chemical vapor deposition (LPCVD) of UWBG Gallium Oxide semiconductor films; and LPCVD of nitride and oxide based semiconductor nanomaterials and structures.
The device applications include semiconductor light emitting diodes for solid state lighting, WBG/UWBG semiconductors for high power electronics, solar cells for renewable energy generation, semiconductor lasers for biomedical, display and communication applications, semiconductor nanomaterials and structures for chemical and biomedical sensing, and microelectromechanical/nanoelectromechanical systems (MEMS/NEMS). These interdisplicinary research areas are built upon multiple disciplines including Electrical Engineering, Applied Physics, Material Sciences, and Chemical/Biomedical Engineering. Fundamental knowledge from quantum mechanics, quantum electronics/optics, solid state physics, semiconductor physics, and electromagnetics will be used to solve problems related to semiconductors, optoelectronics, electronics and energy.
Liming Dai joined Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) in fall 2009 as the Kent Hale Smith Professor in the Department of Macromolecular Science and Engineering. He is also director of the Center of Advanced Science and Engineering for Carbon (CASE4Carbon). Dr. Dai's expertise covers the synthesis, functionalization, and device fabrication of conjugated polymers and carbon nanomaterials for energy-related and biomedical applications. He has published more than 400 scientific papers, and held about 30 issued/applied patents. He has also published a research monograph on intelligent macromolecules (Springer), an edited book on carbon nanotechnology (Elsevier), a co-edited book on carbon nanomaterials for advanced energy systems (Wiley), and another co-edited book on carbon nanomaterials for biomedical applications (Springer). Dr. Dai serves as an Associate Editor of Nano Energy (Elsevier) and editorial board member of several international journals. He is a Highly Cited Researcher (Thomson Reuters). He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE).
Dr. Gurkan's research focuses on the design of nonflammable electrolytes based on ionic liquids and highly porous materials for energy storage and conversion, with an emphasis on the fundamental understanding of the electrode-electrolyte interactions. Ionic liquids are salts at liquid state and they have unique properties such as wide electrochemical window, non flammability, negligible volatility and wide liquidus range which are promising for battery and supercapacitor applications. We employ computational and experimental tools to understand the underlying physical and electrochemical phenomena at interfaces involving ionic liquids.
Synthetic chemistry is a powerful tool for developing new materials and dictating their properties in a bottom up approach. The Pentzer Groups uses fundamental organic reactions to tune chemical functionality, and in turn assembly behavior of small molecules, polymers, and nanoparticles. Such modification is used to improve the electronic activity of known materials and produce new materials with unprecedented properties. Our overarching goals seek to develop polymer composites with directional properties, polymer films with enhanced dielectric permittivity, novel polymers with a high degree of backbone functionality, and polymer systems for data storage and sensing. The Pentzer Group focuses on understanding structure-property relationships of soft materials, collaborating with researchers across sciences and engineering to understand the harvesting and interconversion of energy.
Vikas Prakash received his PhD in Engineering from Brown University in 1993. He joined the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the Case Western Reserve University in January1993 as the Warren E. Rupp Assistant Professor of Science and Engineering, and attained the rank of Professor in 2004. Over the years he has made use of his knowledge of engineering mechanics to work on fundamental problems related to dynamic shock compression of solids; dynamic strength and failure of ductile and brittle materials under intense stress wave loading; dynamic frictional slip at material interfaces under extreme conditions; slip-weakening and rupture of earth crustal faults; and design and fabrication of 1D, 2D and 3D hybrid carbon-nanomaterial networks with applications to thermal energy management and electrochemical energy storage. A more recent focus of his work has been on understanding the dynamic strength of technologically important metals as they transition through melt at ultra-high plastic strain rates under extreme thermo-mechanical loading conditions. The project is supported by DOE’s NNSA program and has applications to national security. A second thrust of his current research is the design and development of high performance and safe multifunctional structural “building blocks” with integrated energy storage capabilities that can provide both mass and volume savings to aero- and space-vehicles, thereby extending their range and endurance during flight. This project is in collaboration with researchers at NASA GRC, WPAFB, and industry. A parallel thrust of his research in energy is on the development of innovative integrated energy storage technologies that provide new opportunities to link thermal energy storage and electrochemical energy storage. These new integrated energy storage technologies have the potential to change the way we currently power our grids, homes, buildings, vehicles, and industry, enabling higher operational efficiencies and shift to a low-carbon future. Dr. Prakash is an author of 185 technical publications. He is a Fellow of the ASME. During 2011-12 he served as the Chair of the ASME Materials Division, and as the Chair of the ASME Nanotechnology Institute from 2010-14. He has served on the Editorial Board of the international journal of Experimental Mechanics as an Associate Technical Editor and currently serves on the Review Editorial Board of Frontiers in Nano-energy Technologies and Materials, Nature Publishing Group. He has been an invited participant to the 2006 Frontiers of Engineering Symposium organized by the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), Irvine, CA; 2013 National Academy of Engineering Global Grand Challenges Summit, London, UK, organized by the US NAE, UK Royal Academy of Engineering, and the Chinese Academy of Engineering; and the 2013 National Academies Keck Futures Initiative (NAKFI) on Energy, organized jointly by the US NAS, NAE, and IOM. Over the years, the sponsors of his research have been the NSF, DOE, ONR, DARPA, NASA, ARO, ARL, AFOSR, AFRL (WPAFB and Eglin), USDA, USGS, Ohio Board of Regents (OBR), and OFRN.
The central aim of the Renner Research is to develop protein engineered materials for use in and study of electrochemical systems. Protein engineering is a uniquely powerful tool, which harnesses the complexity and specificity of proteins found in nature. By taking advantage of the ability to precisely define protein sequences, a new generation of materials are being created for energy and water applications.
Energy-related projects include:
1) Electrochemical ammonia production
2) Enzyme-based electrodes
3) Controlling membrane electrode assembly (MEA) architecture
Water projects include:
1) Nitrogen and phosphorous recycling strategies
2) Sensors for toxic water contaminants
Professor Savinell’s research interest has been directed at fundamental engineering and mechanistic issues of electrochemical systems/device design, development, and optimization. He applies mathematical and experimental techniques to achieve an understanding of the interactions among kinetics, thermodynamics and transport processes at interfaces within electrochemical systems. The technologies he has worked on include batteries, sensors, chlor-alkali synthesis, bromine recovery, wastewater treatment, high surface area electrode applications, fuel cells of several types, electrochemical capacitors, and electrolysis cells of various types. Professor Savinell is the co-inventor of PBI/H3PO4 high temperature proton conducting membrane for fuel cells and other electrochemical applications. In recent years he has focused his efforts on chemistries, materials and designs for flow batteries for large scale energy storage. He has patents and pending patents on several flow battery chemistries, and components for flow battery performance enhancements. He has demonstrated concept of the all-iron flow battery system with a slurry electrode that allows designs that decouple power capacity from energy capacity in scaling the flow battery for large applications. His research is now in the translational mode and is working with commercialization partners along with through ARPA-E funding. Professor Savinell also has research on materials, fabrication, and degradation processes of electrochemical capacitors.
Professor Savinell is an elected Fellow of the Electrochemical Society, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and the International Society of Electrochemistry. He is the current Editor of the Journal of the Electrochemical Society.
Dr. Alp Sehirlioglu's interests include electronic ceramics with a focus on extreme environments. His research involves bulk piezoelectrics and thermoelectrics, and hetero-interfaces with unique 2D behavior. As an experimentalist, his approach incorporates materials chemistry, microstructural engineering and the resulting multi-scale structure - property relationships. He employs solid state processing, solidification, mechanochemical alloying and pulse laser deposition techniques to develop materials. The characterization techniques that are available in his labs include several impedance analyzers, signal generators and ferroelectric/piezoelectric analyzers that allow electrical, thermoelectric and electromechanical characterization as a function of temperature, frequency, electric field, atmosphere and stress. His current activity is on (i) high temperature perovskite based ferroelectric-piezoelectrics and their depoling characteristics, (ii) two dimensional electron gas formation at oxide hetero-interfaces and the effects of local structure and composition around the interface, (iii) high temperature silicide based thermoelectrics, and (iv) enhanced cation conductivity both in bulk as a part of structural batteries and at interfaces as a part of miniaturization efforts in solid state electrolytes.
Dr. French's research group of more than 20 students and associates uses vacuum ultraviolet and optical spectroscopies, spectroscopic ellipsometry, and computational optics to study optical properties, electronic structure, and radiation durability of optical materials, polymers, ceramics, and liquids. His group is also developing a Hadoop2-based distributed computing environment for data science and analytics of complex systems. This allows multi-factor real world performance to be integrated with lab-based experimental datasets to, for example, identify degradation mechanisms and pathways active over a technology's lifetime. These approaches have a commonality in network modeling, using structural equation, and graph-based models for large-scale global systems such as photovoltaic (PV) power plans and buildings.
Lifetime and degradation science (L&DS) looks at long-lived environmentally-exposed materials, components and systems such as PV technologies and energy-efficient lighting, roofing, building exteriors and more. The Solar Durability and Lifetime Extension (SDLE) center uses data science and analytics methods for a broad range of energy and materials projects, including a DOE-ARPA-E funded building energy efficiency project and a DOE-NETL funded Rapid Alloy Quantification project.
Professor Burda's spectroscopic research targets the photophysical nature of nanomaterials with energy application. He studied the energy transport and charge separation properties in quantum dots, nanowires, and at type-II semiconductor interfaces. In recent years, he also focused on 2-dimensional metal-halide based perovskites, which have had a major impact on the field of photovoltaics with device efficiencies reaching up to 20.1%. Perovskites have been the focus of much research due to their performance as photosensitizers for solar energy conversion applications. By studying the photophysical properties of these sensitizers, valuable information about the charge carrier relaxation processes is gained and insight into charge transfer and recombination processes that occur within the sensitizer material and its interfaces after photosensitization. In the Burda group, the photophysics of photactive structures will be studied with femtosecond time resolution and the charge carrier dynamics of nanomaterials or films will be investigated with a broad array of optical spectroscopic techniques. For example, the role of the cation, methylammonium, within the perovskite lattive and the implications on device efficiencies are being studied.
I am the operations director of the Materials for Opto/electronics Research and Education (MORE) Center, an optoelectronic materials core facility with a research and educational scope that spans science and engineering departments. Additionally, I have developed research projects and collaborations that focus on understanding and controlling the chemistry of thin film processing in optoelectronic and electronic applications. This includes the use of self-assembled monolayers to tune local electronic and bonding properties to enhance performance, cost, and/or stability. I have applied interfacial modifies to the problem of mitigating transparent conductive oxide (TCO) degradation. This has led to the development TCO modification protocols to understand and control the undesired chemical reactions that are associated with metastability in the context of optoelectronic applications. Other recent work includes the synthesis of thin film perovskites using vacuum techniques and wet chemistry, to study degradation of the material and seek substitute materials and chemistries. In collaboration with Momentive Performance Materials Inc., and the Department of Chemical Engineering, I worked on thermal pyrolytic graphite deposition and characterization for thermal management applications, e.g. aerospace and solid-state lighting.
Research summary: Our group works on the fundamental understanding of energy conversion and transport processes in materials or devices important for energy harvesting technologies such as thermoelectrics and photovoltaics. Through investigating how energy is converted and transported by different carriers (electron, phonons, photons) in solid state materials at nanoscale, we hope to find insights and strategies for designing advanced materials with high efficiency in thermoelectric and photovoltaic energy conversion. The current materials of interest include semiconductor nanomaterials (nanowires, graphene-like two-dimensional nano-sheets) and metal-organic halid perovskites.
Examples of Energy Related Research:
1. Design, processing, and operation of energy efficient innovative materials, buildings, and infrastructure
2. Smart wind turbine technology for wind energy
3. Earth dam and concrete dam design for hydropower
4. Energy harvesting from ambient environment (thermoelectric, microbial, piezoelectric, wave, etc...)
5. Geothermal system design and analyses
6. Sensor and technologies for health monitoring and control
7. Renewable energy application for highway infrastructure and transportation
8. Rock mechanics, rock characterization and geophysics for shale energy exploration
1. Foundations for offshore wind turbines: laboratory tests and numerical simulation of foundations for offshore wind turbines subjected to loading induced by wind, waves, and ice. In addition, evaluation of the stability of such structures under earthquake loading.
2. Stability of coal waster tailings dams: flow behavior of slurry stored in coal waster impoundments; seismic stability of tailings dams; long-term stability and techniques that can enhance stability of slurry impoundments.
3. Critical nuclear infrastructures under earthquake loading: seismic response of nuclear structures, liquefaction evaluation and countermeasures for soils susceptible to liquefaction under earthquake loading.
The PETRO Case and Advincula Research Group (ARG) focuses on challenging problems and high value adding in the Oil & Gas and Energy industries. In particular, the use of high performance chemical additives, polymers, and coatings for specific upstream to downstream performance requirements and their stress testing. This focus includes materials for high pressure and high temperature (HPHT) environments. The use of new synthesis and fabrication strategies along with novel testing methods is what differentiates our work from other oil & gas consortia. Opportunities for shale oil and gas and geothermal projects abound. Current projects include: 1) proppant resin research and development, 2) 3-D Printing with high performance polymers and nanocomposites, 3) Flow assurance studies with polymeric chemical inhibitors, 4) Smart and high performance protective coatings for anti-corrosion and anti-scaling, 5) Flow testing and permeability studies under high pressure and high temperature studies, 6) Corrosion mechanism and long-term stability testing, and 7) Smart Fluids and rheological modifiers. The group works with GLEI to provide the chemical and materials solutions for the energy industries and collaborative research.
The ultimate research goal of Dr. Heo's MHS-DRISK (Multi Hazard and multi Scale structural Dynamics and Risk research) Lab is to identify resilient structural clusters in complex systems against various types of potential hazards based on probabilistic methodologies. Structural cluster includes energy production facilities and urban communities where houses, buildings and infrastructure are organically linked. Dr. Heo received her Ph.D in Civil and Environmental Engineering from University of California, Davis in 2009. Dr. Heo has expertise in modeling and simulation of nonlinear dynamic performance at different structural levels such as material, member and system level; and probabilistic hazard and risk assessment including hazard characterization for natural and man-made events (e.g. earthquake, explosion, fire, dropped object impact, collision, etc.) in both Civil and Offshore Engineering fields. Dr. Heo was formally a senior researcher in the Offshore Technology R&D Division at Samsung Heavy Industries from 2010 until she joined the Department of Civil Engineering at Case Western Reserve University as Assistant Professor in August 2014. Dr. Heo has contributed to advances in hazard and risk mitigation for offshore energy production systems collaborating with world-class oil companies and research institutions such as Shell Corporation, and GexCon AS, Norway. Please visit MHS-DRISK Lab webpage to find more details about Dr. Heo's research interests.
Jonathan H. Adler is the inaugural Johan Verheij Memorial Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Business Law & Regulation at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law, where he teaches courses in environmental, administrative and constitutional law. Professor Adler is the author or editor of seven books and over a dozen book chapters. His articles have appeared in publications ranging from the Harvard Environmental Law Review and Supreme Court Economic Review to The Wall Street Journal and USA Today. He has testified before Congress a dozen times, and his work has been cited in the U.S. Supreme Court. A 2016 study identified Professor Adler as the most-cited legal academic in administrative and environmental law under age 50. Professor Adler is a senior fellow at the Property & Environment Research Center in Bozeman, Montana and at the Center for the Study of the Administrative Slate at the George Mason University School of Law. Professor Adler's research includes work federal-state relations in environmental and energy policy and non-regulatory approaches to environmental protection. Recent papers include "Climate Balkanization: Dormant Commerce and the Limits of State Energy Policy," 3 LSU Journal of Energy Law & Resources 153 (2014) and "Eyes on a Climate Prize: Rewarding Energy Innovation to Achieve Climate Stabilization," 35 Harvard Environmental Law Review 1 (2011), and "Heat Expands All Things: The Proliferation of Greenhouse Gas Regulation under the Obama Administration," 34 Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy 421 (2011).
My energy related research is focused on the renewable energy and energy efficiency in major economies as sustainable development solutions to today's environmental and ecological challenges of the global economy. The research projects I have completed include environmental and ecological impact of carbon based energy production and consumption; renewable energy promotion policies, and legislations, and regulations, such as feed-in tariffs, fuel taxes and carbon tax, renewable energy targets, CO2 reduction targets: investment, installation and consumption of renewable energy technologies. These projects resulted in two books, Rolling Back the Tide of Climate Change: Renewable Solutions and Policy Instruments in the USA and China (2015) and Renewables Are Getting Cheaper (2016), and a number of peer reviewed journal papers, book chapters, book reviews, and conference papers. My current energy related research interest includes the following areas: research and development of renewable energy technologies; advantages and challenges of renewable energy technologies, grid integration and energy storage; energy efficiency in transportation and buildings; and teaching, training, and public education of renewable energy transformation.