Welcome to the Energy Systems Design Laboratory (ESDLab)
Energy systems present some of the most exciting research challenges of the 21st century. With continuing growth of world wide energy consumption and increased concerns about its environmental impact, a greater emphasis is being placed on developing new sustainable energy production, transmission and conversion devices.
In order to improve the design of energy systems, all the disciplines involved in their design (such as fluid mechanics, structures, heat and charge transfer and economics) must be analyzed and optimized simultaneously. Conventional trial-and-error approaches cannot solve such intricate problems in a timely and economically feasible manner. Computational design is therefore essential to the development of energy systems because it is the only technique capable of dealing with design problems involving a multiplicity of disciplines, objectives and design parameters.
The goal of this research laboratory is to develop computational tools for the design of energy systems that minimize enviromental and socio-political impact while maintaining reliability, durability, efficiency and cost effectiveness. To achieve this goal, the following approach is used:
- Develop physical models of the energy system using fluid mechanics, mass transport in porous media, charge transport and electrochemistry.
- Develop an optimization formulation for the design of the energy system.
- Construct and test the computationally optimized energy systems.
The laboratory is currently using this approach in the design of polymer electrolyte fuel cells. In this area, the laboratory has established partnerships with industry, national laboratories and academia.
Future research projects will include: i) hydrogen production, ii) integration of renewable energies to the current electrical system and, iii) integration of renewable energies and hydrogen technologies for remote applications.