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Some stories from the Motor City on transportation fuels

Event Type
Mechanical Science and Engineering
4100 Sidney Lu Mechanical Engineering Building
Oct 18, 2022   4:00 pm  
Professor Margaret S. Wooldridge, Departments of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of Michigan
Amy Rumsey
Originating Calendar
MechSE Seminars


Transportation applications require high energy and power densities, and transitioning from single-use resources like fossil fuels requires significant scaling. Liquid fuels (like ethanol) and hydrogen are attractive energy carriers because they are low-carbon/no-carbon fuels, if the fuels are sourced from carbon neutral processes. Although many pathways for ethanol and hydrogen production exist, the primary barrier to widespread use remains the costs associated with synthesis, storage, and distribution. If costs can be reduced; however, there are additional challenges to the design of combustion systems that use high concentrations of these sustainable and renewable fuels. For example, you might think H2 is the simplest combustion fuel, so we should be able to build H2 engines with high confidence in their performance. However, H2 is a tricky molecule that likes to defy expectations. Some examples of the anomalous combustion behavior of hydrogen will be presented. In addition, some opportunities (currently missed) with ethanol combustion will be shared. The results include performance and imaging data from ethanol and H2 in applied (direct injection spark-ignition engine) and fundamental studies.

About the Speaker

Professor Margaret Wooldridge is the Walter J. Weber, Jr. Professor of Sustainable Energy, Environmental, and Earth Systems Engineering, an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor in the Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Aerospace Engineering, Director of the Institute for Energy Solutions, and the Director of the Dow Sustainability Fellow Program at the University of Michigan. She received her Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in mechanical engineering (M.E.) from Stanford University and her B.S. M.E. degree from the University of Illinois at Champagne/Urbana. Prof. Wooldridge was on the faculty at Texas A&M University in 1995 before joining the University of Michigan in 1998. Her research program spans diverse areas where high-temperature chemically reacting systems are critical, including power and propulsion systems, sustainable and renewable fuel chemistry, and synthesis methods for advanced nanostructured materials. 

Host: Professor Nick Glumac

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