Penn State Mechanical Engineering Awarded $3.3 Million Grant To Research Turbines
Penn State’s Department of Mechanical Engineering will receive $3.3 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to research and develop near-zero-emission advanced turbine technologies. The grant will fund three projects, all focused on advancing the performance and productivity of combustion turbines and turbine-based power cycles of fossil-fueled engines.
Funded by the University Turbine Systems Research program, the aim of the Energy Department projects is to develop ways to mitigate the environmental effects of fossil-fueled turbine engines. Of the seven projects nationwide selected to develop near-zero emissions technology, three are associated with Penn State.
Penn State has been a significant historic contributor to the research and development of gas turbine engines. This most recent grant presents an opportunity to build on the university’s solid reputation and accumulate new knowledge in the field.
Professors Stephen Lynch, Karen Thole, and Jacqueline O’Connor among others will individually spearhead each of the projects with the funding divided between them evenly.
Stephen Lynch, Shuman Family Early Career Professor and associate professor of mechanical engineering, will lead the project developing new insights into how additive manufacturing can enable transformative levels of performance for ceramic matrix composite turbine vanes.
Karen Thole — distinguished professor, mechanical engineering department head and director of the Steady Thermal Aero Research Turbine lab — will work with researchers at the University of Texas Austin to use additive manufacturing technology for improved cooling effectiveness in turbine components.
The third DOE-funded project will research the efficiency of new fuel injection hardware and will be led by Jacqueline O’Connor (associate professor of mechanical engineering), Guha Manogharan (assistant professor of mechanical engineering and industrial and manufacturing engineering), and Yuan Xuan (assistant professor of mechanical engineering).
The federal government’s latest investment in Penn State research is yet another sign of the school’s prominence in the field of mechanical engineering and innovation as a public research university.
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