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Thayer, Irving, US Army to Develop Arctic Energy Systems

Sep 27, 2019   |   by Bill Platt   |   Dartmouth News

Thayer School of Engineering will collaborate with Dartmouth's Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society and the US Army Corps of Engineers' Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL) to assess ways to improve energy services, delivery, storage, and mobility for military bases in the Arctic.

Co-investigators are professors of engineering Amro Farid and Jifeng Liu, and Weiyang Li, the William P. Harris Career Development Assistant Professor of Engineering, who will collaborate with the project's principal investigator, professor of environmental studies Elizabeth Wilson, director of the Irving Institute.

Thayer Dean Alexis Abramson says the faculty researchers involved in the project are working at the cutting edge of energy research to solve the technical challenges of creating robust power delivery systems to operate in extremely cold conditions.

"This is an incredible opportunity for Dartmouth engineers to catalyze energy solutions for the Arctic with far-reaching applications beyond the military," says Abramson. "The solutions we develop in collaboration with CRREL and the Irving Institute have the potential to provide communities in these cold regions, where we are seeing the most alarming impacts of climate change, with energy storage solutions and efficient power delivery systems that help them contend with and curb the effects of global warming."

The overall project comprises three sub-projects, which will be executed simultaneously and led by Thayer faculty:

  • Arctic Resilient Intelligent Integrated Energy System: This project will develop a multi-modal energy management system that optimizes the supply, demand, and storage of energy for an Arctic military base's operation. The project will be led by the Laboratory for Intelligent Integrated Networks of Engineering Systems at Thayer, which maintains an expertise in the enhancement of sustainability and resilience in intelligent energy systems. Professor Amro Farid will be responsible for project management.
  • Energy Storage Solutions for Extremely Cold Environments—Development of Novel High-Energy Lithium Batteries: This project addresses the challenges posed by extreme cold to the electrochemical reactions of batteries, making it difficult for the batteries to deliver the stored energy. The faculty members making up the team are professor of engineering Weiyang Li, professor of chemistry Katherine Mirica, and professor of engineering Ian Baker. The project will integrate Li's expertise in designing new, efficient, and cost-effective electrochemical energy storage devices; Mirica's expertise in synthesizing porous conductive framework materials for targeted applications; and Baker's expertise in cold stage electron microscopy characterization.
  • Porous Thermoelectric Cells for Waste Heat Recovery in Arctic Stations and Habitats: This project will develop lightweight porous thermoelectric materials and thermoelectric cells to recover the waste heat from power generators in the Arctic region, converting the wasted thermal energy directly to electricity. The project integrates Liu and Baker's work on thermoelectric materials, professor Ulrike Wegst's expertise in porous materials and freeze-casting, and the work of professors Jason Stauth and Charles Sullivan on power electronics design for integrating the porous thermoelectric cells.

William Platt can be reached at william.c.platt@dartmouth.edu.

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