Researchers in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at UTEP will collaborate with researchers at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, to study combustion of metals as recyclable zero-carbon fuels.
“The scientific goal of the program is to achieve a better understanding of processes occurring during combustion of powdered metals as energy carriers that provide a transformative solution of the energy storage problem, enabling a faster growth of the renewable energy sector in power generation and propulsion,” said Evgeny Shafirovich, Ph.D. associate professor in mechanical engineering and the lead on the project at UTEP.
The team was awarded nearly $250,000 from the National Science Foundation for use over three years. The work will be conducted through the MIRO Center for Space Exploration and Technology Research at UTEP.
Each summer of the three-year project period, four students from UTEP will spend 12 weeks at McGill, participating in fundamental research on combustion of metals as clean energy carriers. The students will be integrated into existing research groups, where they will use unique facilities and techniques under the mentorship of highly qualified Canadian researchers.
The project will help establish long-term, sustainable collaboration between UTEP and McGill, which will lead to new projects, student exchanges, and scientific publications in the area of combustion for clean energy applications.
In addition, the collaboration will inspire, recruit and retain students from the border region, including underrepresented minority individuals, pursuing careers in areas related to combustion, energy and the environment.
On a larger scale, a great impact on clean energy technologies is expected through creating a fundamental scientific basis for implementation of a new concept for chemical energy storage in power plants based on renewables.
Work on the grant is expected to start in the 2017 fall semester.