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Research Council Lecture - Dr. Robert Braun

Thursday, March 31, 2022
3:00pm - 4:30pm
Boettcher Room
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Coffee/tea and snacks will be served. Register to join us in person, or join on Zoom: https://mines.zoom.us/j/98882758846

Prospects of Emerging Electrochemical Energy Systems for Energy Storage and Conversion

2021 Senior Excellence in Research Award winner Dr. Robert Braun, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Energy & Materials Program

This presentation will highlight research acccomplishments related to emerging solid oxide cell and protonic ceramic electrolyzer technologies, which are increasingly being targeted as attractive distributed energy solutions. Movement towards predominately low-carbon energy systems requires renewable resources and could be accelerated by integration with high temperature electrochemical technologies. Currently, substantial penetration of wind and solar resources into the electric power grid is challenged by their intermittency and the timing of generation which can place huge ramping requirements on central utility plants. This talk will discuss advances being made in distributed power generation, novel electrical energy storage systems derived from reversible fuel cell technology, and advances in protonic ceramics as dispatchable energy resources. In particular, full-scale hybrid fuel cell/engine system development progress targeting 70% electric efficiency will be highlighted. Reversible solid oxide cells (ReSOCs) are capable of providing high efficiency and cost-effective electrical energy storage. These systems operate sequentially between fuel-producing electrolysis and power-producing fuel-cell modes with storage of reactants and products (CO2/CH4 gases) in tanks for smaller-scale (kW) applications and between grid and natural gas infrastructures for larger scale (MW) systems. Physics-based modeling and simulation of these novel energy systems is a central element to our work, supporting and guiding technology development. The developed models are used to accelerate the design and development of hybrid fuel cell systems, as well as ReSOC and protonic ceramic electrolyzer technologies for both grid-scale energy storage and as a Power-to-Gas platform that can address issues with high renewables penetration. Peformance characteristics, scale-up and demonstration activities, and techno-economic outlook of these ceramic electrochemical energy conversion technologies are summarized.

Dr. Robert Braun is the Rowlinson Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the Colorado School of Mines and the Director of the Mines/NREL Advanced Energy Systems Graduate Program. He received a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 2002. From 2002-2007, Dr. Braun was at United Technologies Fuel Cell and Research Center divisions where he last served as project leader for UTC’s mobile solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) power system development program. Dr. Braun has multi-disciplinary background in mechanical and chemical engineering. His research focuses on energy systems modeling, analysis, techno-economic optimization, and numerical simulation of transport phenomena occurring within fuel cell and alternative energy systems. His industry experience encompasses development of low-NOx burners, CO2-based refrigeration, and various fuel cell technologies (incl. PEMFC, PAFC, MCFC, SOFC, and PCFC). Dr. Braun’s current research activities focus on hybrid fuel cell/engine systems, renewable energy pathways to synthetic fuel production, grid-scale energy storage, novel protonic ceramics, supercritical CO2 power cycles, and concentrating solar power. More information is available at aes.mines.edu. He is a Link Energy Foundation Fellow, a member of ASME, ECS, and ASHRAE, has over 55 journal publications, and holds seven U.S. patents.

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Research Council Lecture - Dr. Robert Braun


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Dr. Robert Braun


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