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Princeton E-ffiliates Partnership Funds Sustainable Energy Research

December 4, 2014

Princeton E-ffiliates Partnership has awarded funding for two collaborative faculty-industry research projects. This year’s grants, awarded after a review of proposals submitted by faculty in collaborations with industrial resarchers, totaled $298,116. The funded collaborative teams will investigate topics related to energy and the environment, including large underwater turbines that capture the kinetic energy of ebbing and surging ocean tides, converting them to electrical power; and closed cell zinc bromine cells for large scale, low cost energy storage. Projects will begin January 1, 2015 and last for one year.

Funding for these projects, made possible through contributions of E-ffiliates member companies, is intended to promote faculty research in energy- and environment-related fields while encouraging interdisciplinary, collaborative research with industry. Three projects were funded in 2013 and two projects were funded in 2012.

Marcus Hultmark

Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Doreen Nixon

Ocean Energy Market Segment Chief Engineer
Lockheed Martin

Title: Experimental Investigations of Hydrokinetic Turbines at Full Dynamic Similarity

Abstract: A new facility for testing hydrokinetic turbines is proposed. This facility will enable tests of hydrokinetic turbines at full dynamic similarity, which previously have been impossible due to the extreme operating conditions of full-scale hydrokinetic turbines. The new method utilizes an existing high pressure facility in the Princeton University Forrestal campus. By testing the turbines in air at 220 atm all Reynolds numbers involved, as well as the tip speed ratio can be matched to a full-scale hydrokinetic turbine. The investigation will, for the first time, allow comparison of the current computational models used by Lockheed Martin to experimental data. Furthermore, it will allow systematic investigations of common, untested, assumptions related to Reynolds number scaling and rotational effects which form the basis of all existing models and theory.

Daniel Steingart

Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment

Bruce Koel

Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering

Anantha Desikan

ICL-IP North America

Title: Closed Cell Zinc Bromine Cells for Large Scale, Low Cost Energy Storage

Abstract: Bromine cathodes are attractive as electrochemical oxidant storage media because they have high energy densities and rate capabilities, combined with long cycle lives. To date, the engineering difficulties of containing and maintaining a stand-alone bromine cathode in a flow battery have prevented wider use of bromine cells. In this project, we use complexed bromine in passively cooled closed cells, leveraging the relative density of bromine to drive gravity-based separation.

We propose a combination of the novel electrochemical cell fabrication capabilities of Princeton with the unparalleled bromine chemistry knowledge of ICL-IP to examine the kinetic and phase behavior of the zinc bromine system in a static context. Preliminary data taken this summer indicates that a static ZnBr2 system can be built for a cost < $50/kWhr if the “self discharge” behavior of Br2 (aq) attacking Zn can be exploited for cell “self maintenance”. By removing the pumps and membranes from a traditional ZnBr2 system, we are removing the majority of the cost and failure points.

Princeton E-ffiliates Partnership was founded in 2011 and is administered by the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, in partnership with the Princeton Environmental Institute, the School of Architecture and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Member companies support and participate in research with faculty and students across campus.