Energy and Fuel Cell Laboratory
Affordable and Efficient Concentrating Solar Power
High volume energy storage and power dispatch is possible using large scale concentrating solar thermal technologies but how can this technology scale like Photovoltaics? Dr. Li’s research is focused on finding a high-temperature heat transfer fluid to advance the efficiency of concentrated solar thermal power to develop the next generation of CSP technology. This is a MURI Project funded by the Department of Energy (Perry Li et al.)
Dr. Peiwen (Perry) Li
Professor Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering
Director, Energy and Fuel Cell Laboratory
Professor Pyun calculates that for every 19 gallons of gasoline produced, it leaves half a pound (230 grams) of sulfur as a waste product. Of the 60 million tons of sulfur produced ever year, 7 million tons are surplus to requirements. How can "the garbage of transportation" (as he terms the waste sulfur) be used to make a new kind of lithium-sulfur (Li-S) battery. The new approach is to use liquid sulfur to make a moldable polymer, a use for which sulfur isn't ordinarily suited due to its unwillingness to form polymer chains.
By the creation of sulfur-based plastics with enhanced conductivity, he will eliminate the need for conductive carbon fillers in these devices and create Li-S batteries with 200-300% greater volumetric energy density. This advance will afford high energy density Li-S batteries that are both lightweight and more compact. This process utilizes inexpensive starting materials and can be synthesized in two synthetic steps, which are attractive features crucial for commercialization by the chemical industry.
Dr. Jeffrey Pyun
Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry at the University of Arizona
Smart Grid Optimization
Building energy infrastructures with high efficiency and renewable energy sources is an important yet challenging task for a sustainable future. Smart grid is a term referring to the nation’s next generation electrical power systems. As smart grid gains increasing interests, research communities, government agencies and industries are getting actively involved in various aspects of smart grids.
System and optimization models have always been playing an important role in power systems. Some of the classical problems include unit commitment, optimal power flow, and generation expansion. In smart grids, technologies need to be developed for integration of large-scale renewable energy, demand-side control, wide area sensing and monitoring, and advanced control for reliability and stability. These unprecedented technologies inspire new problems and topics in system and optimization research.
Here at the University of Arizona researchers in the Department of Systems and Industrial Engineering are developing models for long-term planning, operational planning, economic dispatch and flow dispatch to meet NERC reliability for smart grid optimization.
Dr. Neng Fan
Assistant Professor, Department of Systems and Industrial Engineering
Dr. Young-Jun Son
Professor and Department Head; Department of Systems and Industrial Engineering