Selected Energy-X News:

2022

  • May 23-25th: The Energy-X team showcased its ARPA-E HITEMMP project (High-Density SSiC 3D-Printed Lattices for Compact HTHP Aero-Engine Recuperators) at the 2022 ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit, Denver, Colorado.
    • The ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit (The Summit) is an annual conference and technology showcase that brings together experts from different technical disciplines and professional communities to think about America's energy challenges in new and innovative ways. Now in its twelfth year, the Summit offers a unique, three-day program aimed at moving transformational energy technologies out of the lab and into the market. 
    • About ARPA-E: The Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) advances high-potential, high-impact energy technologies that are too early for private-sector investment. ARPA-E awardees aim at developing entirely new ways to generate, store, and use energy.​

  • May 15-18th: The Energy-X team delivered six presentations by Behzad, Shiying, Ike, Masoud, Amir, and Behnam at the 7th Thermal and Fluids Engineering Conference of the American Society of Thermal and Fluids Engineers (ASTFE) in Las Vegas, Nevada.

  • May 9th: Congratulations to the energy-X student team for being selected as a finalist for the GE/ASME Additive Manufacturing Heat Sink Challenge. The four finalist teams are Michigan Tech, Purdue University, University of Arkansas, and Berlin Institute of Technology. We will present our heat sink design during the 2022 IEEE ITherm Conference in San Diego, CA.
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  • April.: Congratulations to Masoud and Behnam for publishing their research on "Wickability-optimized textured liquid-desiccant air dehumidifiers for independent moisture management in energy-efficient buildings" in "Energy Conversion and Management".
    • Short abstract:​ Liquid-desiccant-based air conditioning systems are envisioned to enable independent humidity management, thereby improving the energy efficiency of future buildings. Existing liquid-desiccant-based air conditioning concepts, however, suffer from a poor liquid flow distribution deteriorating moisture removal rate. They are consequently flooded with the liquid-desiccant solution, which significantly degrades the energy efficiency of the dehumidification process. Here, the capillary forces and wickability effect of textured air dehumidifier surfaces are altered to minimize the liquid-desiccant flow rate of the fully wetted state, thereby transforming the physics of interfacial desiccant flow distribution. Consequently, the wickability-optimized air dehumidifier surface maximizes both moisture removal rate and dehumidification energy efficiency. The insights gained from the present study accelerate the development of advanced textured surface concepts for next-generation liquid-desiccant-based air dehumidification systems offering independent humidity management for future energy-efficient buildings.
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  • March: Congratulations to Amir and Ike for publishing their research on "Toward extreme high-temperature supercritical CO2 power cycles: leakage characterization of ceramic 3D-printed heat exchangers" in "Additive Manufacturing".
    • Short abstract:​ Future supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2) power cycles demand high-performance gas-to-gas heat exchangers (HXs) operating under extreme temperature and pressure conditions at which most existing superalloy materials fail to function safely. Ceramic HXs are deemed excellent candidates for advanced sCO2 power plants as they can withstand high-temperature working environments. Particularly, ceramic 3D printing enables compact HX topologies employing complex and efficient heat transfer features. However, ceramic 3D-printed walls separating hot and cold flow streams are susceptible to a through-plane leakage inherent to a powder-based manufacturing process. A potential leakage through ceramic separating walls poses a significant challenge in developing reliable ceramic 3D-printed HXs and could deteriorate thermal performance. In this study, various parameters, including feedstock slurry, 3D-printing direction, and post-processing conditions, are considered, for the first time, to characterize the argon gas leakage rate associated with alumina 3D-printed parts. Insights gained from the present study facilitate the development of complex ceramic 3D-printed HXs for next-generation high-temperature high-pressure sCO2 power cycles.​
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  • March: Gracie was selected as a recipient of the 2022 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) award. Great recognition, Gracie!
  • March: Congratulations to the energy-X student team (Behzad, Grace, Masoud, Kelsey, and Behnam) for being selected as a semi-finalist for the GE/ASME Additive Manufacturing Heat Sink Challenge. The eight semi-finalist teams are Michigan Tech, Berlin Institute of Technology, Purdue University, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Utah, Technical University of Denmark, University of Arkansas, and Technological University Dublin. In the next phase, GE will 3D print their heat sink designs.
  • Feb.: Energy-X received the Wood Next Fund Grant. This water grant was awarded to boost the R&D efforts on our American-Made Challenges: Solar Desalination Prize.
  • Jan.: Ike was selected as a recipient of the Outstanding Teaching Award by the Graduate School. Great recognition, Ike!

2021

  • Dec.: Masoud won the "2022 Winnikow Fellowship Award". This is a one-year fellowship that will include a stipend and tuition for Spring, Summer, and Fall semesters. Dr. Svetlana Winnikow was a professor in the ME-EM Department at Michigan Tech from 1967 to 1981. In her will, Dr. Winnikow left an endowment to MTU with the request that it be used for graduate fellowships in the Energy-Thermo-Fluids area. Congratulations, Masoud!
  • Dec.: Masoud was selected as a recipient of the Doctoral Finishing Fellowship by the Graduate School. Great recognition, Masoud!
  • Dec.: Shiying was selected as a recipient of the Outstanding Teaching Award by the Graduate School. Great recognition, Shiying!
  • Dec.: Congratulations to Mahesh, Masoud, and Behzad for publishing their research on "A novel lung-inspired 3D-printed desiccant-coated heat exchanger for high-performance humidity management in buildings" in "Energy Conversion and Management".
    • Short abstract:​ Offering an independent humidity management method for buildings, desiccant-coated heat exchangers (DCHXs) are deemed a promising approach for improving the overall energy efficiency of air conditioning (AC) systems. State-of-the-art DCHXs, however, are bound with conventional HX topologies either providing a limited desiccant-air interfacial area or introducing excessive pressure drop penalties. Here, a novel 3D-printed DCHX concept inspired by the bronchi arrangement of a human lung is introduced to address the shortcomings inherent in existing DCHX designs. The proposed lung-inspired DCHX utilizes two intertwined bicontinuous flow networks enabling highly efficient heat and mass transfer characteristics for augmented adsorption and regeneration processes at low pressure drop penalties. Experimental results indicated the proposed lung-inspired 3D-printed DCHX outperforms existing DCHX systems by demonstrating an excellent balance between a high volumetric adsorption rate and a low pressure drop penalty. Therefore, the proposed lung-inspired 3D-printed DCHX offers a new solid-desiccant-based air dehumidification pathway for next-generation high-performance AC systems.
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  • Dec.: Congratulations to Behzad for publishing his research on "Performance Evaluation of hi-k Lung-inspired 3D-printed Polymer Heat Exchangers" in "Applied Thermal Engineering".
    • Short abstract:​ Polymer heat exchangers are attractive thermal management solutions due to their low-cost, lightweight, antifouling, and anti-corrosion characteristics. They, however, demonstrate poor thermal characteristics mainly due to the low thermal conductivities of typical polymers. Additive manufacturing of high thermal conductivity polymer heat exchangers utilizing complex heat transfer topologies could potentially address the issue. In this study, thermal performances of 3D-printed polymer heat exchangers with intricate internal geometries including a lung-inspired design at low-to-high thermal conductivities are experimentally and numerically examined. It was found the high thermal conductivity lung-inspired polymer heat exchanger offers high thermal duties at reduced pressure drop penalties and exceptionally high effectiveness of 70-80% that is comparable to that of metal-based heat exchangers. Insights gained from this study could offer new pathways for designing innovative 3D-printed polymer heat exchanger technologies with unprecedented heat transfer rates at reduced pressure drop penalties for lightweight, antifouling, and/or anti-corrosion applications.
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  • Sept.: Congratulations to Behnam and Masoud for publishing their research on "Performance Analysis and Limiting Parameters of Cross-flow Membrane-based Liquid-desiccant Air Dehumidifiers" in "Int. Journal of Refrigeration". 
    • Short abstract:​ Directly capturing humidity, membrane-based liquid-desiccant dehumidification systems separate sensible and latent cooling (SSLC) loads and thus offer a promising pathway for a high-performance AC solution. Design of an energy-efficient SSLC-AC system, however, rests largely on detailed understating of the dehumidification process. While some studies have identified the dehumidification process mainly depends on membrane characteristics, other studies have argued that the process is limited by desiccant liquid or alternatively air thermo-hydraulic physics for typical humid climate conditions. Decoupling the thermodynamic and hydraulic effects, the present study reveals that the dehumidification rate is a linear function of the water vapor pressure potential (J=α ΔP) summarizing the system's thermodynamic state. The slope of the curve (i.e., α) depends on hydraulic transport characteristics of the membrane pores, air stream, and desiccant solution. More importantly, it was found that the air dehumidification process is mainly limited by the air-side transport physics for thin liquid-desiccant films and commonly used porous superhydrophobic membranes. 
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  • August: Sajjad served as a reviewer for the 2021 DOE's Building Technologies Office Annual Merit Review - Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
  • June 21st: July 19th - Energy-X hosted different student groups from Michigan Upper Peninsula Middle and/or High Schools under the Michigan Tech 2021 Summer Youth Program (SYP).
    • Since 1972, Summer Youth Programs (SYP) at Michigan Technology University has offered students in grades 6–11 a variety of hands-on explorations in engineering, science, technology, computer science, business, design, and the humanities. During their time on campus, students live in our full-service residence hall, eat in the dining hall, and participate in their chosen exploration.
  • June 16-18th: The Energy-X team delivered six presentations at the 2021 ASME Summer Heat Transfer Conference (SHTC) - Virtual. 

Masoud Ahmadi: Role of Surface Structures in Liquid-Desiccant-Based Air Dehumidifiers​

Masoud Ahmadi: Flow Boiling on Homogenous and Gradient Wick Surfaces

Behnam Ahmadi: Experimental Evaluation of a Membrane Based Liquid Desiccant Regenerator

Behnam Ahmadi: Two-phase Multispecies CFD Modeling of a Liquid Desiccant Dehumidifier

Behzad Ahmadi: Experimental Evaluation of Ceramic 3D Printed Heat Exchangers at High Temperatures

Amir Bayani:  Towards extreme HTHP 3D-printed energy systems: Permeability charac. of ceramic structures​

  • May 24-27th: Energy-X showcased its "High-density SSiC 3D-printed Lattices for Compact HTHP Aero-engine Recuperators" project in the 2021 ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit.
  • April 16th: Shivam successfully defended his master defense. Congratulations!
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  • April 2021: Energy-X is selected to receive the second phase of the "American-Made Challenges: Solar Desalination Prize". Special thanks to the students involved and our collaborators from Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Rackam, and Artic Solar Inc. The funding allows us to advance a novel sorption-based desalination technology for the ZLD treatment of high salinity brines by solar thermal energy. The contest is sponsored by the Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Thanks for the support!
  • Jan. 27th: Sajjad gave an invited talk titled “Thermochemical Materials (TCM) for Building Energy Improvement” in “A high-end workshop on thermal energy storage for building applications” at the National Institute of Technology Rourkela.
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  • Jan. 16th: Congratulations to Sunil for publishing his research on "Multiple-effect Desiccant-based Zero Liquid Discharge Desalination Systems" in "Desalination". 
    • Short abstract:​ State-of-the-art zero liquid discharge (ZLD) technologies are currently bound with either intensive use of high-grade electrical energy such as mechanical vapor compressors or high capital cost with environmental concerns such as evaporation ponds. The present study aims to address these issues by an innovative desiccant-based ZLD desalination system in which a multiple-effect distillation (MED) unit is uniquely embedded at the heart of an absorption-desorption system. Here, the MED and absorption systems are inherently coupled enabling both heat and mass transfer processes between a hypersaline brine slurry and a desiccant solution. The proposed technology employs an absorption-based thermally-driven vapor compressor concept to pressurize the vaporized brine of the ZLD crystallizer unit from a low-pressure absorber to a high-pressure desorber module. The low water vapor pressure environment required for the ZLD treatment is established by the strong hygroscopic properties of an aqueous lithium bromide (LiBr) salt capturing a large volume of water vapor from the brine slurry. This eliminates the need for energy-intensive electrically-driven mechanical vapor compressors currently employed in advanced brine crystallizers. Insights gained from the present study have a high potential to truly transform thermal desalination and, in particular, ZLD treatment industries.
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2020

  • Dec. 17th: Behnam successfully defended his Ph.D. proposal defense. Congratulations!
  • Dec. 10th: Congratulations to Masoud for publishing his research on "Energy-efficient Sorption-based Gas Clothes Dryer Systems" in "Energy Conversion and Management".
    • Short abstract:​ Standard electric resistance and fuel-driven dehydration technologies exhibit a maximum COP of well below 1 mainly due to enthalpy losses associated with the air leaving the dehydration system. To improve energy efficiency, condensing dryer systems condense the moisture captured from a product in a closed-loop air circulation cycle. Existing condensing dehydration systems including heat pump dryers, however, need to significantly cool the air to achieve dehumidification. The added cooling and subsequent heating to return the air to the desired drying temperature consume substantial energy and thus reduce drying performance. Here, an innovative sorption-based gas dehydration system is proposed to overcome barriers deteriorating energy efficiency in existing systems. Decoupling latent and sensible loads, the system employs a liquid-desiccant solution to directly capture air humidity, thereby allowing circulation of the air in a closed loop to achieve high drying energy efficiency. In other words, the system captures waste latent heat from the moisture produced during the dehydration process and reuses it to improve energy efficiency. The technology pursued here can potentially be employed as a platform for many fuel-driven equipment to take advantage of available waste thermal energy in the environment instead of simply burning a fuel.
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  • Dec. 2nd: Congratulations to Behnam and Behzad for passing their Ph.D. qualifying exams.
  • Dec. 2nd: Mahesh successfully defended his master thesis. Congratulations!
  • Nov. 25th: Congratulations to Masoud for publishing his research on "Gradient Wick Channels for Enhanced Flow Boiling HTC and Delayed CHF" in "International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer".
    • Short abstract:​ Liquid supply to wick structures of flow boiling surfaces is fundamentally restricted by the capillary limit at which the pressure drop of the wicked liquid surpasses texture-amplified capillary forces. Gradient wick structures partially decouple permeability and capillary pressure, thereby delaying the capillary limit. In this study, gradient wick channels facilitating out-of-plane liquid delivery are introduced to postpone the capillary limit and thus enhance the two-phase flow boiling HTC and delay CHF. Here, the permeability of the gradient wick channels is augmented by large-pore-size meshes employed near the bulk fluid while capillary pressure is maximized by small-pore-size meshes utilized near the hot boiling surface. This combination of wick structures enables to preferentially guide the cooling liquid, deionized water, from the far-field cold liquid toward the bottom hot substrate. The spatial distribution of individual gradient wick channels promotes separate liquid-vapor pathways, thus facilitating the vapor escape process. The proposed gradient wick channel topology offers new pathways for designing innovative surface technologies with high heat removal capabilities, thereby potentially improving the energy economy in myriad modern energy applications.
    • Link to a related poster presented in an NSF workshop on New Frontiers of Thermal Transportpdf version and recorded video 
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  • Nov. 17th: Energy-X received Michigan Tech Research Excellence Fund (REF). 
  • Oct. 20th: Energy-X is selected to receive the "American-Made Challenges: Solar Desalination Prize" for innovation. Working on the next stage of the prize, the team in collaboration with Oak Ridge National Laboratory and an industry partner aims to develop a solar-driven zero liquid discharge (ZLD) desalination technique to treat high salinity brines in a promising energy-efficient and economic manner. The contest is sponsored by the Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Thanks for the support!
    • The American-Made Challenges are a series of prize competitions that incentivize the nation’s entrepreneurs to strengthen American leadership in energy innovation and domestic manufacturing.
    • The Solar Desalination Prize is a multi-stage prize competition intended to accelerate the development of low-cost desalination systems that use solar-thermal power to produce clean drinking water from saltwater. It is intended to help achieve the goals of the Water Security Grand Challenge.
    • The prize is part of the Water Security Grand Challenge, a White House-initiated, DOE-led framework to advance transformational technology and innovation to meet the global need for safe, secure, and affordable water.
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  • Oct. 5th: Sunil joined ZT systems (in Secaucus, NJ) as a thermal engineer to work on data center cooling.
  • July 1st: Sunil successfully defended his master thesis. Congratulations!
  • June 12th: Chetan joined Amazon as a thermal engineer working on server cooling systems. Best of luck with your career.
  • March 2nd: Ms. Shiying Cai joined the group as a Ph.D. student to work on high-efficiency desalination systems. Welcome!
  • Jan. 31th: Sajjad gave a talk titled "Thermal Management of Future EVs during XFC", Research and Innovation Center, Ford Motor Company, Dearborn, MI.
  • Jan. 6th: Mr. Rasoul (Amir) Bayani joined the group as a Ph.D. student to work on HTHP heat exchangers. Welcome!
  • Jan. 2020 - Energy-X is selected to receive support from ARPA-E (Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy) of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Over the next 3 years, the Energy-X team in collaboration with its industrial partners and ORNL will use advanced ceramic-based 3D printing technology to develop next-generation light, low-cost, ultra-compact, high-temperature high-pressure (HTHP) heat exchangers. These will be able to operate at temperatures above 1100°C (2012°F) and at pressures above 80 bar (1160 psi). (Link)

    • The funding is under the ARPA-E HITEMMP (High-Intensity Thermal Exchange through Materials and Manufacturing Processes) program which seeks to develop new approaches and technologies for the design and manufacture of high temperature, high pressure, and highly compact heat exchangers and components. Thanks for your support!​

2019

  • Dec. 12th: Masoud successfully defended his Ph.D. proposal defense. Congratulations!

  • Nov. 21th: Congratulations to Ikechukwu and Masoud for passing their Ph.D. qualifying exams.

  • Oct. 16th: Sajjad attended NASA SLPSRA Fluid Physics Workshop hosted by the Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio.

  • Sept. 2nd: Mr. Behzad Ahmadi joined the group as a Ph.D. student to work on HTHP heat exchangers. Welcome, Behzad!

  • July 15-17th: the Energy-X team attended the 2019 ASME SHTC (Summer Heat Transfer Conference) in Seattle, WA. Masoud presented his research on "Flow boiling on textured surfaces". Sajjad presented Vishna's research on "Engineered surfaces for enhanced condensation heat transfer of completely wetting liquids".

  • July - Energy-X is selected to receive support from the Building Technology Office (BTO) of the Department of Energy (DOE) under BENEFIT (Buildings Energy Efficiency Frontiers & Innovation Technologies) program. Over the next 3 years, the Energy-X team in collaboration with Samsung Electronics America and ORNL (Oak Ridge National Laboratory) will develop next-generation high-efficiency natural-gas driven equipment. Thanks for your support!

  • July 8-10th: Sajjad attended 2019 ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit in Denver, CO.

  • July 2nd: Chetan joined Amazon (in Seattle, WA) as a thermal/mechanical engineer to work on data center cooling of Amazon Web Services.

  • July 1st: Mr. Behnam Ahmadi joined the group as a Ph.D. student to work on high-efficiency HVAC systems. Welcome! 

  • June 10th: Chetan successfully defended his master thesis. Congratulations!

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  • Spring: Sajjad served as an NSF panelist - Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental and Transport Systems, National Science Foundation (NSF). 

  • Spring: Sajjad served as a reviewer for a 2019 DOE AMR meeting - Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

  • May 8th: Mr. Mahesh Puttur joined the group as a master student to work on high-performance HVAC systems. Welcome!

  • March 28th: Sajjad served as a judge for the 2019 Graduate Research Colloquium (GRC) at Michigan Tech. 

  • March 7th: Douglas received the 2019 SURF (Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship) award from Pavlis Honors College. Congratulations! 

  • Feb. 1st: Venkatesh joined Rheem Manufacturing (in Fort Smith, Arkansas) as an R&D engineer to model and optimize packaged gas/electric heat pump/AC units. Best of luck with your career. ​

  • Jan. 1st: Sampath joined Hanon Systems (in Novi, Michigan) as an application engineer to work on compact heat exchanger designs. Best of luck with your career. ​  

2018

  • Nov. 11-14th: Sajjad served as a session chair at the 2018 ASME IMECE (International Mechanical Engineering Congress & Exposition) conference in Pittsburgh, PA. Also, he gave a presentation on "Enhanced flow boiling process". 

  • Sept. 15th: Mr. Sunil Pinnu joined the group as a master student to work on high-efficiency desalination systems. Welcome! 

  • Sept. 15st: Vishnu joined RGD Consulting Engineers (in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida) as a mechanical designer to work on a diverse range of projects including water, condensate, storm, fuel gas, and fire protection systems. Best of luck with your career. ​ 

  • August 30th: Mr. Masoud Ahmadi joined the group as a Ph.D. student to work on high-performance HVAC and appliance systems. Welcome!

  • August 22nd: Mr. ​Ikechukwu (Emmanuel) Okoh joined the group as a Ph.D. student to work on next-gen. HTHP compact heat exchangers. Welcome!

  • August 14th: Mr. Douglas Pedersen joined the group as an undergrad student to work on thermal batteries. Welcome!

  • May 2018 - Energy-X is selected to receive support from Ford Motor Company to work on disruptive thermal management systems needed for the realization of future electric vehicles. Thanks for your support!

  • April 9th: Vishnu has successfully defended his master thesis. Congratulations! 

  • March 23rd: Tania presented her project at the 2018 Michigan Tech Undergraduate Research Symposium (URS). 

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2017

  • Oct. 17th: Tania received the 2017 URIP (Undergraduate Research Internship Program) award from Pavlis Honors College. Congratulations! 

  • Sept. 15th: Sajjad gave a talk titled "Past, present, and future of the HVAC&R industry" in the ASHRAE meeting of NE Wisconsin Chapter.

  • Sept. 4th: Mr. Chetan Agarwal joined the group as a master student to work on enhanced pool boiling surfaces. Welcome!

  • August 27th: Sajjad attended the 2017 ASME ICNMM (International Mechanical Engineering Congress & Exposition) conference in Cambridge, MA.

  • Spring: Sajjad served as a DOE panelist - Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

  • March 25th: Ms. Tania Demonte Gonzalez joined the group as an undergrad student to work on building energy efficiency. Welcome!

  • March 20th: Mr. Leroy Kincannon joined the group as an undergrad student to work on next-gen. cooling systems for EVs. Welcome!

  • Feb. 1st: Mr. Sampath Boyapally joined the group as a master student to work on HVAC systems. Welcome!

  • Jan. 14th: Mr. Gnana Vishnu Durgam joined the group as a master student to work on enhanced condensation surfaces. Welcome! 

  • Jan. 14th: Mr. Venkatesh Narsingrao Mantalwad joined the group as a master student to work on HFO-based cooling systems. Welcome!

  • Jan. 14th: Mr. Peter Nguyen joined the group as a Ph.D. student to work on enhanced boiling surfaces. Welcome!

  • Jan. 8th: Sajjad attended the 2017 Gordon Research Conference (GRC) on "Micro & Nanoscale Phase Change Heat Transfer - Fundamental Mechanisms to Applications of Phase Change Heat Transfer" in Galveston, TX.

2016

  • Sept. 1st: Energy-X laboratory at Michigan Technological University has officially launched.