Selected Energy-X News:


  • Dec. 25th - 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 
  • Nov. 17th - Energy-X received Michigan Tech Research Excellence Fund (REF). 
  • Oct. 20th - Energy-X has been 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.
  • 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!


  • 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 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!

  • 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. ​  


  • 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!

  • 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). 


  • 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.


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

Energy eXploration Laboratory 

Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics Department 

Michigan Technological University

501 R.L. Smith Building, 1400 Townsend Drive, Houghton, MI 49931-1295

Tel: (906) 487 2747  |  Fax: (906) 487 2822 

 Energy     Lab

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