Georgia Tech Researchers Rewarded in Record-Setting Summer for U.S. Department of Energy Grants

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Georgia Tech energy researchers began a new academic year with more than $12 million in new grants awarded over the summer from highly competitive federal research programs of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Spanning the entire energy spectrum from materials and primary generation to utilization and environmental migration, the awards demonstrate the depth and breadth of Georgia Tech’s energy expertise and the university’s leadership in addressing energy concerns of national importance.  

“The size and quantity of the DOE-funded energy research grants is reflective of the quality and distinction of Georgia Tech’s energy research and the significant contributions our researchers are making at the highest levels to develop clean and economically viable technologies that have the potential to shape our energy future on a global scale,” said Strategic Energy Institute Executive Director Tim Lieuwen. 

Randall Guensler, a professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), will serve as principal investigator (PI) and Michael Hunter, an associate professor in CEE will serve as co-PI on one of the grants awarded through the Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E). The $2.9 million project aims to combine real-time analysis of transportation network data with distributed simulation modeling to provide drivers with information designed to reduce energy consumption as they travel.

Researchers in Georgia Tech’s School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering (ChBE) were awarded two grants from the Department of Energy (DOE) for projects designed to enhance the operational efficiency of systems that reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from power plants. Assistant Professor Ryan Lively will lead a three-year, $2.5 million project that aims to drastically improve the efficiency through which carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are separated from power plant flue gases. ChBE faculty members Yoshiaki Kawajiri, Matthew Realff, David Sholl, and Krista Walton will also collaborate on the project.

Professor Lively will also lead an 18-month, $1.2 million collaboration with industrial gas supplier Praxair. The project aims to improve the cost and efficiency of gas separation technology for industrial-scale, pre-combustion carbon capture. ChBE faculty members Christopher Jones, William Koros, and Matthew Realff will also be working on project.

College of Engineering Dean Gary May said the impressive performance is reflective of the caliber of talent engaged in Georgia Tech’s research communities.

"It’s exciting to see a high percentage of these awards being led by early-career faculty,” said Dean May. “The intellectual cross-pollination and partnerships among new and experienced faculty creates a distinctive research culture that sparks the kind of innovative approaches to complex societal challenges that will continue to distinguish Georgia Tech a world-class research institution.”

Other notable Georgia Tech awards announced this summer include:

$1.7 Million, Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy’s (EERE’s)/Sunshot Initiative, “Robust, Cost-effective Heat Exchangers for 800°Celsius Operation with Supercritical C02, Principal Investigator. Asegun Henry, Devesh Ranjan (Mechanical Engineering).

$1.2 Million, EERE/Sunshot Initiative, “Sodium Ion Expansion Power Block for Distributed CSP,” Shannon Yee, Principal Investigator. Seung Woo Lee and Andrei Fedorov (Mechanical Engineering) are collaborating.

$800,000, National Energy Technology Laboratory’s (NETL), “Investigation of Autoignition and Combustion Stability of High Pressure Supercritical Carbon Dioxide Oxycombustion, Wenting Sun (Aerospace Engineering), Principal Investigator. Devesh Ranjan (Mechanical Engineering), Tim Lieuwen (Aerospace Engineering), and Suresh Menon (Aerospace Engineering are collaborating.

$800,000, NETL, “High Temperature, Low NOx Combustor to Minimize NOx Formation Rates,” Tim Lieuwen, Principal Investigator. Brian German, Jerry Seitzman, and Suresh Menon (Aerospace Engineering) are collaborating.

$600,000, National Nuclear Security Administration, “Detailed Measurements of Turbulent Rayleigh-Taylor Mixing at Large Atwood Numbers,” Devesh Ranjan (Mechanical Engineering), Principal Investigator.     

$300,000, EERE/Building Technology Office, “Building Efficiency Technologies by Tomorrow’s Engineers and Researchers (BETTER) Capstone,” Shannon Yee (Mechanical Engineering), Principal Investigator.

$200,000, NETL, “Technology Development for Modular, Lower-Cost, High Temperature Recuperators for Supercritical CO2 Power Cycles, Devesh Ranjan (Mechanical Engineering), Principal Investigator.



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