Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering


Challenges in Realizing High Temperature Supercritical Carbon Dioxide Solar Thermal Energy Systems


Dr. Brian Fronk


Oregon State University


Wednesday, April 18, 2018 at 2:00:00 PM


MRDC Building, Room 4211


Dr. Peter Loutzenhiser


Concentrated solar thermal energy can be used to produce electricity and drive the manufacturing of high value chemical products with minimal carbon footprint. To enable these systems, energy must be efficiently transferred between the solar receiver, energy storage and power block subsystems. Heat transfer components must be highly efficient, low cost, and reliable while subjected to high temperatures, high pressures, and frequent thermal cycling. In the first part of this seminar, I will present a recent research and development effort on a high heat flux, high temperature (>720°C), high pressure (~250 bar) concentrated solar receiver using supercritical carbon dioxide as the working fluid. This effort required the synthesis of expertise in thermal science, manufacturing, and materials. This applied work provided the motivation for a more detailed experimental and computational investigation of supercritical carbon dioxide thermal hydraulics in small geometries in the vicinity of the critical point, presented in the second part of the seminar. Finally, exciting opportunities at the intersection of thermal engineering, advanced manufacturing, and design that will increase the technical and economic feasibility of advanced thermal energy systems will be explored.


Brian Fronk is an assistant professor of Mechanical Engineering at Oregon State University. He received his Ph.D. and M.S. in mechanical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and his B.S. in mechanical engineering from the Pennsylvania State University. His research interests include solar thermal power generation and chemical processing, building energy systems, the application of advanced manufacturing in novel heat and mass transfer devices, and the experimental investigation of multiphase and supercritical heat transfer. He has held a prior position at Carrier Corp., where he worked in the areas of carbon dioxide compression and transport refrigeration. He is the recipient of the 2017 ASHRAE New Investigator Award and the 2017 Oregon State University International Service Award.


Refreshments will be served.