Tag Archives: energy

Energy research for a stronger society

Posted on 19. Feb, 2015 by .

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By Scott Gordon It’s hard to find an energy researcher in the College of Engineering who thinks only about one piece of the energy puzzle. Talk to an engine researcher about fuel efficiency, and pretty soon you’ll be discussing the engine as a bigger system. Ask an electrical engineer about power storage, and the conversation [...]

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Math + Power Grid = Extra Efficiency

Posted on 19. Feb, 2015 by .

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As technology has made public infrastructure more efficient, some areas, like electricity transmission systems, have been slow to keep up. Part of the problem, says Industrial & Systems Engineering Professor Jeffrey Linderoth (pictured), boils down to math. And as part of a Department of Energy initiative, Linderoth and ISyE Associate Professor Jim Luedtke are developing mathematical [...]

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Assessing the economics of bioenergy

Posted on 19. Feb, 2015 by .

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Biofuels researchers are increasingly thinking about how the energy market is changing, which challenges them to balance the basic science of new fuels with a more holistic view of the most commercially viable ways to produce them. So when a group of UW-Madison researchers began looking at how to make jet fuel from biomass, they [...]

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Fuel simulation for the real world

Posted on 27. Sep, 2013 by .

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Mechanical Engineering Assistant Professor Mario Trujillo confidently predicts that liquid fuels are not going away, but understanding how they’ll behave in fuel-injection systems will become increasingly complex. “There is probably going to be a wide range of new fuels with different physical properties, which means liquid fuel injection is going to change,” he says. “There’s [...]

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Future looks bright for carbon nanotube solar cells

Posted on 27. Sep, 2013 by .

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In an approach that could challenge silicon as the predominant photovoltaic cell material, UW-Madison materials engineers have developed an inexpensive solar cell that exploits carbon nanotubes to absorb and convert energy from the sun. The advance could lead to solar panels just as efficient, but much less expensive to manufacture, than current panels. The proof-of-concept [...]

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From helix to donut

Posted on 27. Sep, 2013 by .

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Understanding how a Pegasus plasma forms Because the UW-Madison experiment Pegasus is among the world’s most compact tokamaks, the device plays a unique role in global efforts to develop fusion as a viable energy source. In particular, Pegasus—a very-low-aspect-ratio tokamak that has a small center hole and nearly spherical shape—serves as a testbed for plasma [...]

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Biofuel conversion process cuts costly separation step

Posted on 01. May, 2013 by .

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Using a biomass-derived solvent, UW-Madison chemical and biological engineers have streamlined the process for converting lignocellulosic biomass into high-demand chemicals or energy-dense liquid transportation fuel. Their new method eliminates the need for costly pre-treatment steps that separate hemicellulose and cellulose, two main components of plant biomass that react at different rates. Pretreatment and extraction or [...]

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Gustafson named to National Academy of Engineering

Posted on 01. May, 2013 by .

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In February, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) named David Gustafson to its 2013 class of new members. Gustafson is director of the UW-Madison Center for Health Enhancement Systems Studies and a professor emeritus of industrial and systems engineering. The academy cited Gustafson for industrial and systems engineering methods to improve care for aging patients [...]

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Love of big ideas led inventor to Wisconsin project

Posted on 10. Dec, 2012 by .

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Fourteen years ago, Grainger Professor of Nuclear Engineering Gerald Kulcinski sat down for lunch with a fellow member of the National Academy of Engineering during a Washington, D.C., event. The two had never met, but had an enthusiastic exchange of ideas about their respective research interests. That’s common at big scientific meetings, but this was [...]

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A tool to test seafaring biofuels

Posted on 30. Aug, 2012 by .

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Because fossil fuels are a limited resource largely controlled by other nations, the U.S. Navy—the largest user of diesel fuel in the country—understandably is interested in alternative fuels that can be produced in the United States. However, the Navy has some unique needs for powering its fleet of ships, submarines, aircraft carriers, and other marine [...]

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UW nuclear engineering: A 50-year history of excellence

Posted on 29. Aug, 2012 by .

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In 1942, in a reactor known as Chicago Pile-1, physicist Enrico Fermi and his team achieved the world’s first sustained nuclear reaction. Three years later, in the final weeks of World War II, the United States exploded two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, demonstrating to the world the destructive power of nuclear. After [...]

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In theory, plasma heals itself

Posted on 29. Aug, 2012 by .

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The world’s largest stellarator uses external magnetic coils to generate fields that can contain the extreme conditions required to fuse nuclei. The Large Helical Device (LHD) operating in Japan creates a magnetic bottle that can hold hot plasma with the intention of re-creating conditions for nuclear fusion akin to those on the sun. Shaping and [...]

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Digging into energy from the earth

Posted on 29. Aug, 2012 by .

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Drawing on data gathered from a heavily instrumented Adams County, Wisconsin, home, Engineering Professional Development and Civil and Environmental Engineering Assistant Professor James Tinjum is seeking to provide scientific support for a deep insulated single-hole (DISH) geothermal heat pump system, a novel heating and cooling method that capitalizes on heat stored in geological structures deep [...]

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Creative energy: In new building, microgrid lab will spark practical solutions

Posted on 20. Apr, 2012 by .

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When the Wisconsin Energy Institute building opens on the UW-Madison campus in early 2013, it will include a high-power microgrid that will combine real and simulated power sources capable of reproducing the inherent technical challenges associated with intermittent energy sources. “We want to be able to create all of the different operating conditions that are [...]

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Benson, Carbon, among nation’s elite engineers

Posted on 19. Apr, 2012 by .

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On February 9, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) named two UW-Madison engineering faculty members to its 2012 class of new members. Wisconsin Distinguished Professor of Geological Engineering and Civil and Environmental Engineering Craig Benson and Engineering Physics Professor Emeritus Max Carbon are among 66 new members and 10 foreign associates elected to the NAE [...]

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Optimizing internal combustion

Posted on 19. Apr, 2012 by .

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For decades, engineers have studied low-temperature combustion as a means of creating engines with diesel-like efficiency and no pollutant emissions. Yet, the very nature of low-temperature combustion involves a reaction with little active control: inject the fuels, mixing occurs, and then some time later, combustion starts. To investigate a new technique for measuring the temperature [...]

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Retaining quality faculty

Posted on 09. Dec, 2011 by .

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Collective giving effort keeps star prof on board The offer was expansive: a chance to join the leadership of a new center for environmental technology in a brand-new building and a brand-new lab, collaboration with one of the leaders in the field of environmental engineering, and a chance to work in a state—Arizona—with huge support [...]

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DOE awards UW-Madison engineers $5.6 million for future reactor technology

Posted on 06. Oct, 2011 by .

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The U.S. Department of Energy Nuclear Energy University Program awarded five out of 51 grants nationwide to researchers in the Department of Engineering Physics. In total, DOE awarded $39 million in research grants aimed at developing cutting-edge nuclear energy technologies, and training and educating the next generation of leaders in the U.S. nuclear industry. Izabela [...]

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Does ‘green’ behavior occur in a green building?

Posted on 06. Oct, 2011 by .

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Completed in December 2010, the UW-Madison Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery Building marries majestic light-filled public spaces with state-of-the-art scientific facilities. But while a hallmark of the building is its visual appeal, equally important to its users are the mechanical, electrical and other systems that operate behind the scenes. In each of these systems, building designers [...]

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New ‘wave’ of energy research

Posted on 04. Oct, 2011 by .

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A renewable energy source that could serve the majority of the U.S. population often flows by unnoticed, even as it continuously rolls and crashes onto the shores of a country searching for petroleum alternatives. Electrical and Computer Engineering PhD student Jennifer Vining has brought the attention of Wisconsin Electric Machines & Power Electronics Consortium researchers [...]

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Engineers testify about coal combusion products, nuclear safety

Posted on 22. Jun, 2011 by .

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Nuclear expert testifies about U.S. reactor safety In the wake of the devastating earthquake in Japan and the effects of the resulting tsunami on the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactors, Wisconsin Distinguished Professor of Engineering Physics Michael Corradini presented testimony April 6, 2011, to a U.S. House subcommittee about the state of U.S. nuclear plants and [...]

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Monroe manufacturer partners with UW-Madison on electric truck

Posted on 22. Jun, 2011 by .

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Monroe, Wisconsin, is a small city with a big reputation for its cheese. Now, a partnership between manufacturer Orchid Monroe and UW-Madison engineers may expand the city’s expertise to include clean vehicle technology. Orchid Monroe is providing support for researchers from the Wisconsin Electric Machines & Power Electronics Consortium (WEMPEC) to develop a particularly rugged [...]

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UW-Madison fusion experiments earn nearly $11 million in grants

Posted on 21. Jun, 2011 by .

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Dating back nearly a half-century, the UW-Madison programs in plasma physics and fusion technology are among the oldest, broadest, largest and most productive programs of this kind in the nation. On campus, they include approximately 75 faculty and staff members, 60 graduate students and 30 undergraduate students whose education and research frequently cross departmental and [...]

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Air Force honors young researchers

Posted on 21. Jun, 2011 by .

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Three UW-Madison engineers are among 43 researchers to receive prestigious Air Force Young Investigator Research Program funding through the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR). The program is designed to foster creative basic research in science and engineering, enhance early-career development of outstanding young investigators, and increase opportunities for those investigators to recognize the [...]

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Engineers receive $3.7 million for nuclear research

Posted on 01. Sep, 2010 by .

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The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded UW-Madison engineering researchers nine of 42 total grants distributed through its Nuclear Energy University Program. The researchers received $3.7 million to advance nuclear education and develop the next generation of nuclear technologies. The research includes projects in fuel cycle research and development, generation IV reactor research and development, [...]

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Salt of the earth

Posted on 01. Sep, 2010 by .

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Extracting oil, with heat With a material as simple as salt, engineering physics scientists and students are testing ways to store and transport heat for applications as diverse as storing solar energy and extracting oil. Their expertise is useful for oil companies such as Shell, which someday could use the powerful heat-transferring properties of molten [...]

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Fusion for energy—and medicine

Posted on 01. Sep, 2010 by .

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The UW-Madison Fusion Technology Institute and Middleton, Wisconsin-based Phoenix Nuclear Labs (PNL) share an ambitious long-term goal: clean, abundant and affordable nuclear fusion power. To fund the pursuit, PNL is developing nuclear technologies into near-term solutions for modern-day global problems, including mitigating the risk of nuclear attack, producing state-of-the-art high-voltage power systems, and generating critical [...]

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Nano coatings show big potential for energy storage

Posted on 01. Sep, 2010 by .

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Sitting in his office, Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Marc Anderson picks up a small vial of clear liquid and shines a laser pointer through it. A deep green line bisects the vial, evidence of nanoparticles suspended in the liquid. This liquid is Anderson’s platform technology. With it, he can dip or spray oxide-based nanoparticle [...]

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