Research Focus Appointments Degrees Publications  


Research Focus

The research in the Advanced Power and Energy Program (APEP) focuses on energy generation, distribution and utilization including the production of electricity, motive power, and propulsive power. The research explores as well the environmental impact of these energy systems, the dynamic between energy generation and atmospheric quality, and the development of environmentally preferred, high-efficiency energy systems.

The research is conducted in APEP, the National Fuel Cell Research Center (NFCRC), the UCI Combustion Laboratory (UCICL), and the Pacific Rim on Energy, Combustion, and the Environment (PARCON).

The UCICL is a major research facility for advanced stationary gas turbine power systems, the NFCRC is leading the evolution of power generation fuel cells, and the PARCON accelerates the development and deployment of advance energy systems. As a result, the APEP is addressing the cutting edge of pre-commercial technologies, and the major challenges of connectivity and load management in distributed and dispersed power generation scenarios.

National Fuel Cell Research Center (NFCRC). The research in the NFCRC is directed to the development of low cost, reliable, and flexible fuel cell systems and fuel cell hybrids. Research is conducted on full scale, grid-connected systems as well as critical component technologies such as controls, reformers, inverters, and distributed power management. The goals is to accelerate the development and deployment of practical systems into the market, and to explore and demonstrate strategies that racket up efficiency and racket down pollutant emission per kW -hr.

The Center is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, the California Energy Commission, HORIBA Ltd, Southern California Edison, Southern California Gas, the California Air Resources Board, The South Coast Air Quality Management District, FuelCell Energy, LG Fuel Cells of America.

UCI Combustion Laboratory (UCICL). The research in the UCICL encompasses the development of advanced gas turbine, rocket, furnace, and boiler systems. Research is conducted as well on the needed research resources including laser diagnostics, model combustors with clean boundary conditions and optical access, boiler and furnace simulators, model liquid and gaseous fuels, statistical modeling for the experimental testing of practical systems, comprehensive numerical simulation for the development of mechanistic understanding of combustion performance.

Recent pioneering work includes "smart" (optimized and controlled) injectors for fuel-air mixing, and advanced high-speed and high-resolution diagnostics for two-phase reacting flows.

The goal is to accelerate the evolution of high-efficiency, environmentally responsible power generation systems, understand and control the aerothermochemical behavior of continuous combustion systems including the dynamics, and the relationship of this behavior to combustor performance and environmental impact. A major effort is directed to the formation and emission of soot and oxides of nitrogen, the atomization and mixing of liquid and gaseous fuels, and turbulent transport in reacting flows.

Participating organizations include NASA, the Air Force, the U.S. Department of Energy, Southern California Gas Company, Parker Hannifin, GE Aircraft Engines, Solar Turbines, Capstone Turbine, and Ener-Core.

Pacific Rim Consortium on Energy, Combustion, and the Environment (PARCON). The PARCON encompasses universities and industry that share the responsibility of maintaining a common air resource healthy and preserving its natural resources. PARCON emphasizes communication and the exchange of technologies and tools available to address the energy challenges in the world with immediate focus on those germane to the region. The PARCON was established in 1992 with the goals to advance the evolution of energy and environmental control technologies, and to promote more informed decision making. Five Pacific Rim Countries participate in PARCON with expansion planned to seven countries over the next two years. In each country, at least two industries and two universities participate. The participants meet twice a year for three-day workshops, sponsor exchanges, support six study groups, sponsor an annual international colloquium, and maintain a clearinghouse of information germane to high efficiency, and environmentally responsible energy technologies.