Rejuvenating Our Energy Supply Chains with Dynamic, Polygenerative Electrochemical Systems
Dr. Whitney G. Colella
Principal Research Engineer, Gaia Energy Research Institute, Faculty, Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts & Sciences and E²SHI Associate, The Energy, Environment, Sustainability and Health Institute, The Johns Hopkins University
Dr. Whitney G. Colella, Ph.D., M.B.A. has over 18 years of research and development (R&D) experience in academia, government, and private industry in the areas of advanced energy conversion system design, operation, and control. Her areas of expertise include the thermodynamics, chemical engineering process plant design, economics, computer modeling, and independent testing of advanced energy systems. Dr. Colella has served as a Principal Investigator (PI) on energy R&D projects totaling over $8 million and as a key technical contributor on energy R&D projects totaling over $20 million. Dr. Colella spearheads computer simulation, testing, and independent analysis of novel, low-carbon energy systems to improve their thermodynamics, economics, and environmental performance. Dr. Colella earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering (highest honors) from Princeton University, a M.S. in Science & Public Policy from Sussex University, a M.S. in Engineering from Stanford University, and an M.B.A. and a doctorate in Engineering Science from Oxford University. Dr. Colella has published 42 journal articles and conference proceedings, 29 peer-reviewed reports, 2 editions of the engineering textbook Fuel Cell Fundamentals, and 11 book chapters. Dr. Colella has presented 4 plenary conference presentations, 6 keynote conference presentations, 102 oral conference presentations, 137 invited talks, and 43 poster conference presentations.
This talk first focuses on addressing energy supply chain bottlenecks for stationary power using advanced fuel cell systems (FCSs). Stationary combined heat and power (CHP) FCSs have the potential to collectively displace both the heat losses at power plants and the heat re-generated within buildings (~21 EJ), at high electrical efficiencies (~60%) and overall efficiencies (~95%). To exploit this potential, this research work shares insights into the thermodynamics, chemical engineering process plant design, economics, and/or environmental impacts of CHP FCSs; combined cooling, heating and electric power (CCHP) FCSs; and next-generation fuel cells for co-producing fuels and electricity simultaneously.
In transportation, one of the most energy efficient and cost effective ways to produce hydrogen fuel for vehicles is with tri-generative stationary FCSs that produce electricity, heat, and hydrogen (H2-FCSs). To address this opportunity, this research discusses the thermodynamics, chemical engineering process plant design, economics, and environmental impacts of H2-FCSs. Special attention is paid to scenarios in which H2-FCSs are most energy efficient and recover heat from a high temperature fuel cell stack to heat the endothermic steam reforming process to generate additional hydrogen for vehicles.