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Advanced Power Systems

Advanced Power System
In the face of an impending energy crisis, the Advanced Power Systems Research Center is exploring alternative energy sources that will help mitigate the economic ramification of increased oil prices that are expected in coming years. The focus is on Alternative Energy Sources such as biofuels, fuel cells, and wind turbines. The most immediately feasible alternative energy source is biofuels. With decades of expertise and numerous innovative engine research labs, the APS group is well-equipped to devise the necessary modifications to IC engines that will allow them to run on high mix biofuel, which will improve efficiency and reduce emissions without sacrificing torque, fuel economy, or smooth vehicle operation.
The group also focuses on Energy System Optimization to ensure efficient use of future fuel supplies. Thermal-fluid experts are working to characterize tow-phase flows in heat exchangers, enhance flows in fuel cells, and to develop methods and technologies that will allow the utilization of gasified natural material in power generation systems. Researchers are also investigating ways to optimize the flow of air across wind turbines in order to increase productivity. By investigating current and emerging technologies, the group is bridging the gap between today's fossil fuel economy and a multi-source economy that promises a more stable and sustainable future.

Advanced Power Systems Research Group

Current research highlights:
High Pressure Combustion Laboratory Development: The focal point of the laboratory will be a configurable high-pressure combustion vessel with optical access.  The lab will provide the foundation for basic and applied research for clean and efficient combustion with petroleum-based and alternative fuels, including biodiesel and ethanol.  The laboratory will also facilitate the examination of the flammability and combustion characteristics of hydrogen and other fuels at elevated pressures and temperature to improve safety standards and handling.

Wood-to-Wheels:  Wood-to-Wheels goal is to increase the overall efficiency of converting solar energy captured in forest and other biomass resources into products for transportation using ethanol, biodiesel, and green diesel as high energy-density carriers. Wood-to-Wheels is identifying and addressing the technical and societal barriers to sustainably producing forest resources, processing biomass to create ethanol, biodiesel and other co-products, and then utilizing the bio-fuels and co-products in vehicle and engine applications.

Investigation of In-Cylinder Ionization and Examination of Stochastic Analysis of SI Engine Combustion Knock: Ionized gases in gasoline engine combustion chambers produce signals that are rich in content, which can potentially be used to measure quality and state of combustion with sensing through standard spark plugs.  However, in-house laboratory experiments have indicated significantly high variability in these ion signals.  Existing literature contains wide ranging claims for ion signals with the appropriate signal processing.  Investigation will determine if existing stochastic analysis of mechanical knock signals is appropriate and applicable to ion signal content.  Enhance and develop models to capture and optimize opportunities for gasoline engine control, especially air-fuel ratio control in conjunction with transient compensation algorithms.

Selective Catalytic Reduction (SRC) Catalyst Modeling and Active Control for NOx Reduction in Diesel Engine Exhaust Aftertreatment Systems:  The development of experimentally validated simulation tools and model-based control strategies for urea SCR catalysts.  The primary research goals are: (1) an experimentally validated predictive model of an SCR catalyst / urea injection system, (2) a near-real-time parameter identification strategy suitable for both model validation and control system calibration, (3) an experimentally validated closed-loop urea injection strategy.

Feature Articles

Fuel Cells In Your FutureRead about Dr. Jeffrey Allen's CAREER Award and the Michigan Tech Research Magazine "Fuel Cells In Your Future"

Advanced Power Systems Research CenterGraduate Student Ben Moscherosch with Dr. Jeff Naber in the Advanced Internal Combustion Engine Lab working on alternative fuels, such as biodiesel for the Advanced Power Systems Research Center which is part of the Department's effort to facilitate the growth of research and graduate education.

Fueling the Future - Advanced Power Systems Research Group (PDF)