Mechanical Engineering Seminar


Solar-thermal energy harnessing and management for water-energy-climate nexus


Dr. Jian Zeng


Berkeley, CA


Monday, March 20, 2023 at 11:00:00 AM   


MRDC Building, Room 4211


Dr. Peter Loutzenhiser


About 90 percent of today’s energy flow centers around thermal energy, implying the significance of effective harnessing and management of heat towards an energy efficient world. Recently, capturing solar thermal energy as a ubiquitous and cheap heat source has attracted extensive attention under the context of water energy climate nexus. In the first part, I will introduce our recent efforts in harnessing high-grade solar heat for concentrating solar power. We probed into the critical high temperature thermal transport problems in granular based CSP using our unique in situ photothermal methodology. Our operando technique provided new insight into the particle-wall interfacial thermal resistance under the framework of granular diffusion theory. In the second part, I will introduce our research on passive thermal management of high power electronics using hydrogels. We developed a moisture thermal battery using hydrogel for passive electronics cooling by autonomous water harvesting in off-peak hours and evaporative cooling in peak hours. The moisture thermal battery shows a broad application envelope for communication, computing, power battery and optoelectronics, etc.


Dr. Jian Zeng is currently a postdoctoral researcher in the Energy Technologies Area at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Department of Mechanical Engineering at University of California Berkeley working with Dr. Ravi Prasher and Dr. Jeffrey Long. He received his Ph.D. degree from University of California San Diego working with Dr. Renkun Chen, and B.S and M.Sc degrees from China. His research interests lie in advanced thermal energy materials and systems for water energy climate nexus, with emphasis on carbon capture, water harvesting, desalination, building electronics personal moisture thermal regulation, and thermal energy storage. He has published over 30 peer reviewed papers on reputable journals, book chapters, and conference talks. He is the recipient of 2022 Chinses Government Award for Outstanding Self financed Students Abroad and UCSD Fellowship.


Refreshments will be served.