Sustainable Energy

sunrise-beach-n-belize

Pictured is the WRE Wind Energy Project at sunrise on the beach in Belize. One morning a very strong thunderstorm came in just before dawn. Researchers on site, Tim Price, Ph.D.’15 and Derek Jensen, Ph.D.’16, were sure the towers would get struck by lightning or blown over in the wind. Upon inspection the towers at sunrise and everything was in great shape; plus nature gave them a nice double rainbow to remember the experience.

 Sustainable Energy

Advances in sustainable, clean energy systems are needed to avoid the risk of using energy sources that increase atmospheric greenhouse gasses. These systems involve clean energy production systems like wind, geothermal and solar;  energy storage for heating and air conditioning, and for daily electrical energy storage; and integration of high efficiency technologies like Combined Heat-Power Cycles  and waste heat power conversion devices into energy systems. The faculty in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Utah are actively engaged in research and teaching in each of theses areas.

  • Assistant Professor Marc Calaf researches the interactions between wind turbines in wind farms.
  • Professor Kuan Chen studies thermoacoustic wave generation powered by solar energy or waste heat.
  • Assistant Professor Mathieu Francoeur is engaged in developing thermal PV energy conversion systems.
  • Associate Professor Meredith Metzger conducts research in renewable energy technologies and is currently developing a helical turbine for the built environment as well as a submerged wave energy harvesting machine for off-shore ports.
  • Professor Eric Pardyjak  and Assistant Professor Rob Stoll are developing tools for aiding planners in designing sustainable cities.
  • Professor Eric Pardyjak conducts wind energy assessments with the intent of improving our understanding of atmospheric boundary layer physics and the impacts of complex terrain on wind resources.  Examples are Spanish Fork Canyon (Utah) and Belize.
  • Assistant Professor Keunhan Park is active in developing new direct photovoltaic energy conversion devices.
  • Assistant Professor Amanda Smith studies the integration of high efficiency heat and power systems in a wide range of applications and their effects on the environment.
  • Professor Kent Udell is conducting research on  geothermal energy production enhancement and energy storage systems including seasonal energy storage in soils, Advanced  Solar-Assisted Compressed Air Energy Storage, and thermo-chemical thermal batteries.