Campus Community Health • HEERF I, II & III


New Research Projects in FY20-21

Medium-duty eTruck: Pilot Electrified Fleets in Urban and Regional Applications

Principal Investigator:  Pingen Chen, Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, Assistant Professor

Funding Agency:  Department of Energy via University of Texas at Austin

Three-Year Award Total: $828,846 

Tennessee Tech is leading a team for medium-duty electric truck (eTruck) demonstration in Tennessee.  The objective of this project is to demonstrate an alternative fuel or advanced technology fleet of five or fewer vehicles and supporting infrastructures in communities, fleets, or areas that have no or little experience with these technologies.  The testbed is used to evaluate the performance of medium-duty electric trucks in various applications by a diverse range of truck fleet owners.

Investigations into the Design Rules for the Control of Wire + Arc Additive Manufacturing

Principal Investigator:  DuckBong Kim, Ph.D., Manufacturing and Engineering Technology, Assistant Professor

Funding Agency:  National Science Foundation

Three-Year Award Total: $225,181

The research goals for this project are: 1) gain fundamental knowledge about the surface waviness and effective wall thickness formation mechanisms in thin/inclined walls and multi-bead/multilayer structures, and 2) investigate the design rules for the control scheme in wire + arc additive manufacturing (WAAM).   The project will provide innovative and transformative knowledge and methodology, leading to greater efficiency and improved profitability in the aerospace, defense, and automotive industries, for example.  Especially, it will provide the critical basis for reducing the time-consuming and cost-intensive machining part of the hybrid manufacturing process.  Also, this project will help develop the professional skills of K-12, undergraduate, and graduate students, including underrepresented minorities, by training them through a unique set of integrated education/modern multidisciplinary research opportunities in a new area of WAAM and data analytics.

Public-Private Partnership to Promote Efficient, Resilient and Secure Manufacturing and Workforce Development

Principal Investigator:  Ethan Languri, Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, Assistant Professor

Funding Agency: Department of Energy

Five-Year Award Total: $2.3 Million

This award continues the Tennessee Industrial Assessment Center (IAC), currently in its 15th year, for another 5 years.  This project involves Tennessee Tech engineering faculty and students in providing energy efficiency assessments to small and medium sized manufacturing plants.  Tennessee Tech is one of 32 universities across the nation and the only university in Tennessee with an IAC.  In addition to energy efficiency services, the IAC offers services in the areas of decarbonization, resiliency, wastewater/water efficiency, cybersecurity, smart manufacturing, electrification, productivity improvement and waste reduction.

Control of Modular Multi-Dual Active Bridge Converters for Integrated Ship-Board Power System

Principal Investigator:  Joseph Olorunfemi Ojo, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Professor

Funding Agency:  Office of Naval Research

Three-Year Award Total: $503,954

Stand-alone power systems such as those found in naval and cruise ships and electric aircrafts are being developed in large power range to meet increasing onboard power demands.  This project develops a promising integrated power system which integrates diverse sources and delivers a highly efficient energy conversion process, agile control and reduced weight and volume using a high frequency switching technique and advanced control scheme.

Hypersonic Onboard Power and Thermal Management System

Principal Investigator:  Rory Roberts, Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, Associate Professor

Funding Agency: Air Force Small Business Technology Transfer Program via Special Power Forces

Total Award Amount: $500,000

Hypersonic flight introduces challenges when it comes to producing power onboard.  An alternative technology which does not require air or can utilize high temperature air sources is beneficial.  A solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) can operate within these conditions.  SOFCs utilize high temperature sources for their oxidants.  Therefore, SOFCs provide an opportunity for power production on hypersonic vehicles.

Atmosphere Independent Bipropellant Solid Oxide Fuel Cells for On-Orbit Space Power

Principal Investigator:  Rory Roberts, Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, Associate Professor

Funding Agency: Air Force Research Laboratory via DAGSI

Total Award Amount: $334,036

Regenerative fuel cells have been studied as prospective power sources for satellites, as well as reusable fuel cells fed with hypergolic propellants for spacecraft.  A similar solid oxide electrolyzer cell has already been successfully integrated into the Mars Perseverance rover.  This project validates the concept of a solid oxide fuel fell integrated with a hypergolic bipropellant propulsion system.

Cryo Thermal Management of High Power Density Motors and Drives

Principal Investigator:  Rory Roberts, Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, Associate Professor

Funding Agency:  Advanced Research Projects Agency

Total Award Amount: $145,000

This project designs and demonstrates a multi-MW, high-efficiency and high-power density integrated electric propulsion motor, drive, and thermal management system that meets the performance requirements of future hybrid electric, single-aisle passenger aircraft.  The proposed technology incorporates an advanced and high-performance induction electric machine with novel advanced thermal management techniques for synergistic cooling that safely uses cryogenic bio-LNG as the energy source for power generation and a large thermal-battery cooling system to provide a highly compact, light, and commercial narrow-body aircraft.  If successful, the system will allow for a cost-effective motor capable of operating at a higher current density compared with existing conventional non-cryogenic motors without using superconductors.

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