Energy Research Development Grants Full Description Past Years


1999 Energy Research Development Grants

Reactant Gas Management for Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells, Trung Van Nguyen, Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, $9,828

Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cells are becoming more popular as energy conversion devices because of their efficiency and simplicity in design and operation. The attractiveness of this fuel cell system has increased significantly within the past several years because of the following improvements. The catalyst loading has decreased significantly, and membranes with improved conductivity, water permeability and thermal stability have been developed. Electrode/membrane contact area has increased and materials processing and preparation cost has decreased. However, before this system can become economically competitive with existing technologies, its performance must be improved further.

Development of a National Database of Energy Savings in Space Cooling and Heating Loads Produced by Radiant Barrier Technology, Mario Medina, Architectural Engineering Department, $7,579

The purpose of this proposal is to request seed funds to support the initial development of a National database of energy savings in space cooling and heating loads produced by radiant barrier technology and to train students in the field of energy in buildings, mathematical modeling of energy transfer in buildings, and related fields.

Novel Catalysis Method, Galen J. Suppes, Chemical and Petroleum Engineering and Karen Nordheden, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, $3,000

This proposal is on an exploratory investigation of a novel catalytic method that could revolutionize the chemical industry. It is based on the following hypothesis:
Hypothesis: Since the electronic structure and/or oxidative state of a metal catalyst directly impacts its catalytic activity then control of electronic states/structure through the application of voltage to a surface can also control the catalytic capabilities.
Or alternatively stated:
Hypothesis: Since the electronic structure and/or oxidative state of a metal catalyst directly impacts its catalytic activity and since the addition or withdrawal of electrons impacts electronic structure then control of electronic states/structure through disposition of a "+" or "-" charge on the bulk metal can be used to control catalytic activity and/or adsorption/desorption.

Next-Generation Building Energy Systems Design Software -
Brian A. Rock, Architectural Engineering

Approximately one-third of the total annual U.S. energy use is in residential and commercial buildings. Most of this energy is used for space heating and cooling, ventilation, and water heating. Software is used daily by designers to size building systems to meet these needs, but less frequently software is used to optimize energy use. The next generation of design software should automatically optimize energy use through detailed computational models and expert-system routines.

The two software packages most widely used for designing heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems are proprietary (TRACE and E20-II) and lack the rigor of energy analysis codes. The two major DOE-funded energy analysis codes (DOE 2 and BLAST) are "user-hostile" and were not developed for design purposes.

This proposed KU ERC Energy Research Development Grant begins a long-term effort to develop a center of excellence for preparing advanced building energy systems design software at KU. The ultimate goal would be the continued development of industry-leading design software at KU. Potential outside funding sources for such work are the DOE and its national laboratories, NSF, KEURP and EPRI, GRI, KCCC, ASHRAE, and HVAC manufacturers such as Carrier, Trane, and York.

1998 Energy Research Development Grants

Exploratory Research in the Analysis of Fluid Flow through Rock Core Samples - Cynthia Larive and Joseph Heppert, Department of Chemistry

This proposal requests funds to initiate a new collaborative research effort for the measurement of diffusion and flow of aqueous polymer solutions through rock core samples. The analytical methodology that will be used is Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Imaging.

Fundamental Studies - Pour Point Depression of Fischer-Tropsch Fuels - Dr. Galen J. Suppes, Chemical and Petroleum Engineering

A goal of this project is to obtain freezing point depression data on complex paraffin mixtures. Additional goals of this project are to develop a fundamental understanding of freezing point depression on paraffin mixtures, to model freezing point depressionn, and to relate the freezing point depression data to ranges of mass fractions of solids in solution that lead to gelling.

Biological Routes to In-Situ Coal Gasification - Galen J. Suppes1, Russell D. Ostermann1, and Clarence S. Buller2, 1Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, 2Microbiology

Viable methods of in-situ gasification of coal would be of immense value to Kansas and the U.S. This technology would extend natural gas reserves from a few decades to over a century. In addition, this technology could make development of Kansas coal both economical and environmentally acceptable. Essentially all previous efforts in this area have focussed on in-situ thermal gasification. The tremendous heat capacity of geological formations surrounding coal beds will likely prohibit this approach from ever being viable. The propensity of low temperature gasification options is much greater-biological gasification has the greatest potential of meeting the needs for this application.

MOCVD Buffer Technologies for Coating High-Tc Superconductors on Metal Substrates - Judy Wu, Department of Physics and Astronomy

This proposal requests support from Energy Research Center (ERC) at the University of Kansas to carry out experimental research to investigate the growth mechanism of oxides buffer layers on metal substrates in metal-organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) process and to develop a scalable MOCVD buffer technologies on metal substrates for coating epitaxial high-Tc superconductors (HTSs) including YBa2CU3O7 (YBCO) and the newly discovered Hg-based superconductors (Hg-based HTSs). This research is in response of DOE's current interest in development of high current superconducting tapes with minimum energy loss and will be carried out in collaboration with DOE laboratories and industry.

July 2002
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