Research projects

UT Austin and SwRI support five collaborative energy research projects

The University of Texas at Austin and the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) have selected five projects for funding through the Energize program, a new opportunity for enhanced scientific collaboration between the two institutions focused on energy research.

“I am confident that with the combined capabilities and expertise of SwRI and UT Austin, these projects will have a strong and positive impact on some of our biggest challenges in the energy sector,” said Walt Downing. , Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of SwRI.

The Energize program includes two funding opportunities. The first, overseen by UT’s Energy Institute, funds projects in any energy field with a focus on decarbonization. The second, managed by the Hildebrand Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering, funds projects in all areas of energy-related research, including oil and gas, renewable resources, hydrogen, carbon storage and geothermal energy. All projects include at least one principal investigator from each institution.

As part of the program led by The Energy Institute and SwRI, three projects have been selected:

  • UT Austin’s David Bogard and SwRI Senior Research Engineer Ellen Smith will work to develop and evaluate an improved method of turbine cooling to facilitate the use of larger hydrogen engine applications. clean. Hydrogen fuel exhaust is free of carbon by-products, but it requires higher engine combustion temperatures, resulting in higher heat transfer. Smith and Bogard will use additive manufacturing to design and build a turbine leg with advanced cooling technologies to enable high temperature operations. The design will incorporate film cooling configurations recently developed at UT Austin and will be tested at SwRI’s hydrogen combustion facility. Bogard is a professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the Cockrell School of Engineering, where he is associate chair of the department and holder of the Baker Hughes Incorporated Centennial Professorship in Mechanical Engineering.
  • Professors Alex Hanson and Jean Anne Incorvia, both from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Cockrell School of Engineering, will collaborate with SwRI Principal Scientist Jianliang Lin to create reliable and affordable magnetized chip technology for energy technologies new generation. Many next-generation climate-related technologies (data center power supply, grid-scale smart transformers, advanced solar and battery management systems, and climate-related Internet of Things applications) require expensive components, which hampers their widespread adoption. Magnetic chips are very energy efficient, but integrating magnetic components can be difficult and expensive. The team will develop large-scale rapid coating deposition technology to synthesize high-quality and affordable magnetic materials for use in a wide range of technologies. Hanson holds the Jack Kilby/Texas Instruments Endowed Faculty Fellowship in Computer Engineering and Incorvia holds the Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) Chair in Computer Engineering.
  • UT professors Austin Thomas C. Underwood, Fabrizio Bisetti, Graeme Henkelman, and C. Buddie Mullins will work with SwRI’s Michael Miller to create a cost-effective and environmentally friendly method of producing hydrogen. Although hydrogen can help decarbonize transportation, power generation and manufacturing, conventional industrial production of hydrogen from natural gas creates significant greenhouse gas emissions. The project aims to develop a plasma-enabled catalytic process to remove carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide emissions, by converting methane directly into hydrogen and solid carbon near room temperature and atmospheric pressure. The project builds on expertise in plasma-enhanced chemical processes and catalysis at UT Austin and SwRI. Underwood is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics (ASE/EM) at The Cockrell School. Bisetti is an associate professor in the ASE/EM department and is affiliated with the Oden Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences. Henkelman, also affiliated with the Oden Institute, is a professor in the Department of Chemistry at the College of Natural Sciences, where he holds the George W. Watt Centennial Professorship. Mullins is a professor in the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering at The Cockrell School and holder of the Richard B. Curran Centennial Professor of Engineering.

The Hildebrand Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering has selected two projects, each to be funded by SwRI and UT Austin. The projects are:

  • SwRI’s Angel Wileman and Sarah Stuart will collaborate with UT Austin professors David DiCarlo and Masa Prodanovic to study CO2 foams to improve long-term carbon storage in depleted oil and gas reservoirs. Although carbon storage is a viable method to reduce atmospheric carbon, there are significant challenges in ensuring that stored CO2is stable in the tank and does not rise to the surface. To solve this problem, researchers will take advantage of traditional CO2 improved oil recovery methods to study the stability and behavior of CO trapped in froth2 under high temperature and high pressure reservoir conditions. DiCarlo is an Associate Professor in the Hildebrand Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering at The Cockrell School, where he holds the George H. Fancher Centennial Teaching Fellowship in Petroleum Engineering. Prodanovic is a professor in the Hildebrand Department and holder of the Frank W. Jessen Chair in Petroleum Engineering.
  • SwRI’s Kevin Supak, Jordan Nielson, and Kelsi Katcher will work with UT’s Yingda Lu to study CO2 pipeline flow behaviors as part of a broader effort to facilitate large-scale carbon utilization and storage (CCUS). Before CCUS technology reaches its harmful CO reduction potential2 emissions, a cost-effective method for transporting large amounts of CO2 is necessary. To facilitate the design and operation of large-scale CCUS transport systems, the project team will study the flow behaviors of CO2 under typical pipeline transport conditions. The project utilizes UT Austin’s expertise in multiphase flow modeling and SwRI’s expertise in large-scale multiphase flow research. Lu is Assistant Professor in the Hildebrand Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering at The Cockrell School.

Energize Program projects will begin in September.

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