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Energy

Pioneering technologies for resilient and sustainable power grids to improve power grid performance; developing novel catalytic processes for biomatter to create clean, sustainable biofuels and biodegradable plastics; creating novel, smart devices for microgrids and next-gen power electronics; and advancing technologies and materials for energy conversion and storage.

Solving the world’s energy needs—and doing so in a sustainable way—has become one of the most important topics in engineering, leading to heavy investment both from and to the college.

Research conduct by our faculty includes biofuels, fuel cells, energy conversion, energy storage, and the reliability and safety of the various energy systems that power our country and our world.

Collaborative efforts to help meet these challenges has led to the college partnering with or conducting research for both the Herbert College of Agriculture and College of Arts and Sciences at UT, the National Science Foundation, ORNL, and several other institutions and agencies.

Involved faculty

Kevin Tomsovic

Kevin Tomsovic

Professor
Monitoring, Modelling, or Production

Intelligent systems and optimization methodologies applied to various power system problems; distribution system design; electricity market analysis; equipment diagnostics and maintenance; operation of dispersed energy resources; production scheduling; stabilization control.

Yilu Liu

Yilu Liu

UT-ORNL Governor’s Chair
Monitoring, Modelling, or Production

Power grid monitoring; power grid security; power systems; smart grids; wide-area monitoring and anomaly analysis based on synchrophasor measurement; real-time control of power systems using GPS signals; using artificial intelligence to secure power systems; microgrids.

Fran Li

Fran Li

James W. McConnell Professor
Monitoring, Modelling, or Production

Engineering power systems; development of power systems; power grid security; economics of power grids; renewable energy; volatility in energy markets; power supply and demand; using deep learning to evaluate residential power use.

Fred Wang

Fred Wang

Condra Chair of Excellence
Monitoring, Modelling, or Production

Design, modeling, control, and integration of advanced power electronics converters; motor drives; wide bandgap device characterization; modeling, packaging, control, and application; power electronics application to transportation; renewable energy; utility systems; microgrids.

Leon Tolbert

Leon Tolbert

Min H. Kao Professor
Monitoring, Modelling, or Production

Electric power conversion; application of wide bandgap power electronic devices; multilevel converters; electric vehicles; interface with renewable and distributed energy resources; reactive power compensation; active filters; microgrids and power distribution.

Daniel Costinett

Daniel Costinett

Associate Professor
Monitoring, Modelling, or Production

Resonant and soft switching power converter design; high efficiency wired and wireless power supplies; on-chip power conversion; medical power supplies; electric vehicles; power electronics.

Jamie Coble

Jamie Coble

Southern Company Faculty Fellow
Monitoring, Modelling, or Production

Empirical modeling methods for process and equipment monitoring in nuclear energy production; anomaly detection and diagnostics; prognostics; risk assessment; characterization of used nuclear fuel; cybersecurity of reactor control systems.

Nicholas Brown

Nicholas Brown

Associate Professor
Monitoring, Modelling, or Production

Nuclear reactor safety and simulation of reactor and system transients; advanced nuclear fuel and cladding materials; nuclear fuel safety; assessment and simulation of sustainable nuclear fuel cycles.

Ondrej Chvala

Ondrej Chvala

Research Assistant Professor
Monitoring, Modelling, or Production

High performance computing applications in nuclear engineering; reactor core physics; molten salt based nuclear systems; nuclear physics; xenon behavior in molten salt reactors; modelling and simulation of advanced reactors.

Wes Hines

Wes Hines

Postelle and Chancellor’s Professor
Monitoring, Modelling, or Production

Artificial intelligence and advanced statistical techniques applied to process diagnostics in nuclear energy production; condition based maintenance; prognostics; development of new technologies to enhance reliability; role of cybersecurity in control and instrumentation processes; improved particle optimization.

Art Ragauskas

Art Ragauskas

UT-ORNL Governor’s Chair
Emerging Resources and Supplies

Biorefining; nanolignocellulosics; green chemistry; biofuels; bio-based materials and chemicals; biocomposites, biopower; fiber modification; pulping and bleaching; chemistry of natural biopolymers including cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin; polysaccharides; organic-carbohydrate chemistry.

Rigoberto Advincula

Rigoberto Advincula

UT-ORNL Governor’s Chair
Emerging Resources and Supplies

Synthesis of new functional nanomaterials capable of ordering at surfaces and interfaces; application of surface sensitive spectroscopic; microscopic, optical, and electrochemical analytical techniques to understand ordering and phenomena; additives and nanomaterials for oil-gas energy production; electro-optical devices and sensor applications of ultrathin films and particles; biotechnology and biomedical applications; additive manufacturing and 3D Printing.

Siris Laursen

Siris Laursen

Associate Professor
Emerging Resources and Supplies

Biomass conversion to fuels and value-added chemicals; catalytic upgrading of CO2 to reduced C1 molecules and carbonates; fundamental surface science; electronic structure of molecules and materials; fundamentals of chemical kinetics and thermodynamics; materials synthesis and rational design.

Cong Trinh

Cong Trinh

Ferguson Faculty Fellow
Emerging Resources and Supplies

Bioenergy, biofuels, and biochemicals; systems and synthetic biology; metabolic engineering; biochemical engineering; microbiome engineering; computational biology; metabolic network modeling; cell physiology; pathogens; genome editing; CRISPR technology; therapeutics; diagnostics; antimicrobials.

Tom Zawodzinski

Tom Zawodzinski

UT-ORNL Governor’s Chair
Emerging Resources and Supplies

Electrolytes and composite electrodes for fuel cells; fundamentals of energy storage materials and systems; water management in fuel cells; lithium batteries; new electrolytes and methods for studies of transport and electrode materials; self-assembled monolayers for device preparation; artificial muscles; electrochemical reactors.

Matthew Mench

Matthew Mench

Condra Chair and Chancellor’s Professor
Emerging Resources and Supplies

Electrochemical power conversion and storage including polymer electrolyte fuel cells, flow battery systems, and biological energy systems; multi-phase transport visualization and characterization; computational simulation of electrochemical power conversion and storage systems; electrochemical methods of hazardous waste conversion; simulation of rapidly evolving socio-cultural factors on decision making and group opinion dynamics.

Paul Frymier

Paul Frymier

Professor
Emerging Resources and Supplies

Thermal and temporal stability of hydrogen from the isolated, metalized photosystems of thermophyllic cyanobacteria; improving the kinetics of electron transport in isolated photosystems and cytochromes; enhanced electricity and hydrogen production from microbial fuel cells.

David Donovan

David Donovan

Associate Professor
Emerging Resources and Supplies

Fusion energy science; plasma physics; plasma-material interactions; near term applications of nuclear fusion devices; material characterization tools; helium ion damage to tungsten in fusion relevant environments; plasma and heat flux diagnostic development and implementation; surface chemistry analysis; boundary plasma experimental research; impurity transport studies in magnetically confined fusion devices.

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