April 14, 2023
Scott Institute Research Showcased at US DOE ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit
By Katelyn Haas-Conrad
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) Energy Innovation Summit is an annual event that gathers leading technical professionals to discuss innovative solutions to energy challenges. The Scott Institute was represented throughout the 2023 Energy Innovation Summit Technology Showcase. The showcase highlighted the recent ARPA-E awardees and a highly selective group of other companies and research organizations. Learn about their energy accomplishments below.
Faculty Affiliate Anthony Rollett presented research titled “High Energy Density Modular Heat Exchangers through Design, Materials Processing, and Manufacturing Innovations”. Rollett leads a team that received a $2.4 million grant from ARPA-E as one of 18 high-temperature materials projects that are a part of the High Intensity Thermal Exchange through Materials and Manufacturing Processes (HITEMMP) program. Below is a picture of a full size heat exchanger that Rollett and his team recently printed. It’s rated at 50 kW, with supercritical CO2 as the working fluid which runs at pressures between 50 and 250 bar (atmospheres) and temperatures 750-850 °C.
Rollett was also at ARPA-E to showcase work being done with Prabhu Energy on an NETL-funded project entitled “The Oxiperator for Methane Slip from Lean Burn Gas Engines and Much More” for which the group will be printing prototypes of the Oxiperator device for methane mitigation, i.e. oxidizing lean-methane air streams (< 1% methane).
Biorobotics Lab at the School of Computer Science Booth at the ARPA-E Showcase
As part of the ARPA-E’s Rapid Encapsulation of Pipelines Avoiding Intensive Replacement (REPAIR) Program, CMU researchers are creating innovative robotic technologies for inspecting and repairing America’s crumbling critical infrastructure. Led by Professor Howie Choset and Project Scientist Lu Li, from the Biorobotics Lab at the School of Computer Science, two research projects had been presented at the summit: “Confined Space Mapping Module for In-Pipe Repair Robots” is a research project aims to create a novel robotic sensing solution that can capture high-definition in-pipe 3D scans, pipeline maps, and be able to automatically detect potential defects; And project “Autonomous Rehabilitation and Maintenance of Natural Gas Pipes” utilizes advanced self-healing polymer and modular robots to repair legacy pipelines without expensive digging, trenching and excavation operations. The combined goal of these two projects is to fundamentally change the current best practice of pipeline inspection and repair processes, to improve critical pipeline safety, reduce hazardous emissions, and vastly cut down infrastructure maintenance or repair costs.
Beltran and Litster presenting at the ARPA-E Showcase Booth (Photos provided by Shawn Litster)
Postdoc Diana Beltrán presented research titled, “Ionomer-Free Electrodes for Ultrahigh Power Density Fuel Cells” that she conducted along with Energy Fellow Shawn Litster. Diana Beltrán completed her Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at CMU in October of 2022 with a dissertation based on research characterizing the degradation of the platinum-group metal-free cathode in polymer electrolyte fuel cells. She is a postdoc working with Energy Fellow Shawn Litster. Litster received $3.2 M from ARPA-E for this research project. Along with PhD candidate Juan Mesa, the group is working to develop novel electrochemical interfaces based on functionalized mixed conductors (FMCs) that produce transformative improvements in polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) technology by eliminating the ionomer from the electrode.
Energy Fellow Venkat Viswanathan, Yet-Ming Chiang Chief Scientist & Co-Founder of 24M, Mohit Singh, Brett Helms, Austin Sendek (Photo taken by Venkat Viswanathan)
Energy Fellow Venkat Viswanathan participated in the ARPA-E Showcase in many capacities. Viswanathan presented with Shashank Sripad about their SCALEUP project with 24M Technologies on lithium metal batteries for electric aviation titled, “Next-Generation Lithium Metal Anode Cells for Electric Aviation”. Aionics, Inc. co-founder, Austin Sendek presented with Viswanathan about their efforts on machine-learning guided battery materials optimization. CMU startup Chement co-founder Breakthrough Energy Fellow Gregory Houchins presented about their progress on zero-carbon cement.
Kevin Byerly, Co-Founder and Lead Engineer CorePower Magnetics (Photo taken by ARPA-E)
CMU startup CorePower Magnetics presented about their project titled, “Scaled In-Line Processing Facility for Permeability Engineered Nanocrystalline Magnetics”. CorePower Magnetics was selected by the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) Seeding Critical Advances for Leading Energy Technologies (SCALEUP) program.
CMU Mech E PhD candidate Lance Kavalsky was selected to attend the summit through the ARPA-E Student Program. He is pictured above with one of his collaborators from Citrine Informatics (Dr. Vinay Hegde, Research Scientist). Kavalsky is currently a PhD Candidate in Energy Fellow Venkat Viswanathan's group in Mechanical Engineering.