While energy has long been an important topic, concerns about human's environmental footprint, such as that due to carbon dioxide, and concerns about security and rapid global development, have recently brought this field to the forefront.
The Department of Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering is focused on a number of areas critical to the future of energy. These include technological innovations for fossil fuel systems; with primary emphasis on carbon dioxide mitigation, control of fine particle and other pollutant emissions. The group works on novel combustion systems for coal, bio-fuels and other fossil fuels. An innovative staged, pressurized oxy-coal system has been designed and developed for efficient energy conversion, and providing an approach for cost effective control of emissions. Control technology development, capture and conversion of carbon dioxide to value added chemicals are being researched.
The second area of research is the collaborative, systems approach planned for bio-fuels development from plan based sources and environmentally-benign adaptation and implementation. A synergistic approach to power generation that is carbon dioxide neutral is being considered wherein next generation bio-refineries are located adjacent to coal fired power plants.
Finally, we are tapping into our strengths in advanced materials to accelerate the development and implementation of cost effective solar-based and energy storage technologies. A group of faculty are interested in the harvesting of solar energy, using informatics and machine learning techniques to guide the development of perovskite light harvesting systems. Another group is engaged in electrochemical engineering of fuel cells and other storage technologies.
The research is multi-scalar in nature with work done in laboratory scale to pilot scale systems.