Energy Storage and Renewable Energy

electric car plugged in to charge

To fully harness the potential of renewable energy, new storage systems are needed that are efficient, cost-effective and long-lasting. The Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering is researching new materials and manufacturing processes to produce higher-performance energy storage technologies for use in buildings, fuel cell systems, wind turbine systems, EVs, aircraft, portable electronics and more. 

We’re exploring structural batteries to embed batteries into the structure of a device, in order to increase efficiency and reduce weight—all while enhancing safety. Our research delves into multi-functional materials and structures that can carry a load while also storing energy. Especially for aerospace systems, we’re optimizing for both weight and volume, as well as thermal management. The reliability and safety of embedded battery cells is critical, which is why we’re focused on the thermal runaway of battery cells to better understand their combustion and propagation prevention. We’re also exploring how best to monitor the health and degradation of embelled cells to ensure performance and safety over time. With clear applications in almost all transportation systems of the future, we’re also aware that everything could and should store energy. 

Through integrated experimental and mathematical modeling, we’re studying lithium ion batteries, lithium sulphur batteries, solid-state lithium batteries and more. We’re also conducting thermal studies to help improve the understanding of batteries’ internal mechanisms and governing factors for battery performance. Our goal is to increase the analytic capacity and density of batteries, extend their lifetime and enhance their safety in a variety of applications.

Institutes, centers and labs related to Energy Storage and Renewable Energy

Faculty who conduct research in Energy Storage and Renewable Energy

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Chirag Kharangate

Assistant Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Explores energy, thermal management of electronics and computational fluid dynamics

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Brian Maxwell

Assistant Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Develop next-generation propulsion systems and develop advanced theory of supersonic and reactive systems

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Vikas Prakash

Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Engineers lithium-metal batteries, designs carbon nanomaterial composites for aerospace applications, and develops characterization techniques form materials subjected to multi-axial thermo-mechanical extremes

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Chris Yingchun Yuan

Associate Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Researches manufacturing science and sustainability performance of lithium-ion batteries, solar cells and nanotechnologies