438626 Computational and Experimental Studies for Advancement of Sustainable Energy Systems

Sunday, November 8, 2015
Exhibit Hall 1 (Salt Palace Convention Center)
Pramod K. W. Harikumar Warrier, Chemical & Biological Engineering, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO

A safe and secure future for humanity depends to a large extent on the development of sustainable and economic energy resources, and will require fundamental science and engineering contributions. In this talk I will present some of my work on the advancement of energy systems in electronics, oil and gas, and solar energy sectors. 

Cooling of electronic systems, particularly high performance data centers, is a highly energy intensive process. In 2013, data centers consumed about 100 billion kWh of electricity in the U.S. alone and it is expected that by 2020, the carbon footprint of data centers will exceed that of the airline industry. One of the solutions to reduce energy consumption is to move from conventional air cooling to liquid cooling, and in that respect I will present a computer-aided molecular design approach for development of novel heat transfer fluids for cooling of such systems. The fluids designed in this work not only possess superior heat transfer properties, but also significantly lower global warming potentials. I will also present a critical evaluation of nanoparticle dispersions (or nanofluids) for heat transfer applications and show, contrary to widely held belief, the effective thermal conductivity of nanofluids decreases with decreasing particle size. In my future research I plan to expand on this approach and design new thermal storage materials for concentrated solar thermal and hybrid photovoltaic/thermal systems. 

In conventional oil and gas industries, clathrate hydrates of natural gases are associated with many energy transportation (‘flow assurance’) related problems. However, gas hydrates also present a potential future energy resource, as it is estimated that more than 1015 m3 of natural gas is present in oceanic and permafrost gas hydrate deposits. I will present some of my work on hydrate phase equilibria modeling, including the application of a quantum chemical approach, COSMO. In my future research I also plan to explore other applications of gas hydrates including seawater desalination and gas separation.

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