Research in Energy Conversion and Heat Transfer is focused on improving the efficiency of energy conversion machines, development of novel energy transducers and advancing our understanding and modeling of heat transfer processes, especially at the nano and micro scale for application in micro devices. Combined with this quest for more energy efficient technologies, is the focus on the reduction of energy-related emissions.
Thermal energy conversion: In the area of thermal energy conversion, active research is focused on fundamental and applied combustion research; analysis and design of thermal power generation plants; cogeneration of heat and power as well as thermodynamic analysis of various thermal systems. Combustion research is focused on the experimental characterization and modeling of the combustion properties of a wide range of fuels, both of conventional and renewable sources. Experiments focus on ignition and determination of pollutant formation while modeling and simulations are aimed at the development of combustion models to facilitate computational analysis of combustion in systems such as, internal combustion engines, gas turbines and industrial furnaces.
Solar energy: Another area of research involves the analysis and design of solar energy systems, such as solar water heating systems, solar powered water desalination systems and solar thermal power plants. For built environments, work is also focused on the coupled transport of heat, air moisture and pollutants.
Fluid machines: Research in non-thermal fluid machines focuses on the design and optimization of wind turbines and other turbo machine components, which are crucial to improving the energetic efficiency of the turbo machines.
Fuel Cells: Research at the department focuses on Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFCs) for small scale energy generation. Work includes fabrication, testing and system characterization. The configuration of modules of these high-temperature fuel cells influences the overall efficiency of the systems. At Syracuse, fuel cells in dual and single chamber as well as chamber-less fuel cell set-ups are characterized. Associated with this work is also the development of meso- and micro-combustors/heat exchangers.
Heat Transfer: Research in heat transfer is focused on the characterization of heat transfer in materials for heat exchangers as well as heat transfer in various areas of nano science and nano technology. In the latter, fundamental work includes the use of molecular dynamic simulations to derive transport properties, which are needed for the development of nano mechanical devices.