Improving Energy and the Environment

Improving Energy and the Environment

We explore ways to support energy needs for the future, such as through harvesting energy from the wind and ocean and improving energy efficiency for existing energy sources including solar and combustion.


Dr. James Braun’s research interests include novel supersonic propulsion concepts for air breathing and aerospace
applications and power generation, through wind tunnel experiments and computational fluid dynamic simulations.

Matthew Bryant

Dr. Bryant researches novel solutions and new devices that contribute to emerging technologies within several areas, including ambient energy harvesting. His lab is working on tethered marine hydrokinetic energy devices including underwater energy harvesting kites and co-axial tethered turbines.

Tarek Echekki

Dr. Echekki studies data generated from experiments and computation to drive accurate and computationally efficient models of combustion relevant to energy conversion and fire safety. The work relies on recent advances in data science to exploit machine learning tools to effectively use combustion data.

Srinath Ekkad

Dr. Ekkad studies experimental heat transfer methods, enhanced heat transfer for turbine blade cooling, advanced system diagnostics, energy harvesting, micro-channel heat exchangers, electronic cooling, and additive manufacturing design for thermal systems. His research can be applied to develop new ways to improve energy harvesting.


Dr. Fang researches thermal fluid science with a focus on multiphase fluid flow. He studies liquid spray and atomization, and high-pressure combustion to help develop low-carbon engines and power, along with a cleaner environment with less pollutant emissions.

Ashok Gopalarathnam

Dr. Gopalarathnam studies applied aerodynamics. He studies unsteady, post-stall flows to help in the prediction of gust effects and loss of control due to stall, and he contributes to improving the efficiency of aircraft and wind turbines

Kenneth Granlund

Dr. Granlund studies experimental fluid mechanics and applied aero/hydromechanics. He works to develop marine hydrokinetic turbines for alternative energy production.

Hsiao-Ying Shadow Huang

Hsiao-Ying Shadow Huang

Dr. Huang studies mechanics of materials and computational mechanics. Her research provides fundamental knowledge for developing novel engineering techniques which have applications in multiple disciplines such as in energy harvesting and improving the environment.

Xiaoning Jiang

Dr. Jiang researches biomedical and biological systems along with nanoscale science and engineering. He investigates micro/nano-engineering of smart materials and their integration in advanced electromechanical devices with the goal of improving the health of biological and structural systems.

Arun Kumar Kota

Dr. Kota combines his expertise in surface and interfacial science with fundamental principles of heat transfer and sustainability to develop novel coatings for energy efficient phase change heat transfer that are free of emerging contaminants like PFAS.


Dr. Liu researches heat transfer in the setting of energy conversion, storage and management. His research focuses on the applications of nanoscale thermal transport with the goal of making the utilization of energy more efficient, smart and convenient in people’s daily life.


Dr. Mazzoleni researches dynamics and computational mechanics with multiple applications in several disciplines. One application of his research is the development of ocean-based tethered turbines for generating renewable energy.

Brendan O’Connor

Dr. O’Connor studies organic electronics. He studies organic solar power with the goal of producing clean renewable energy and he works to develop organic solar-powered greenhouses to create a new paradigm in low environmental impact agriculture.

Alexei Saveliev

Dr. Saveliev studies thermal and fluid sciences. He explores traditional and novel approaches to develop energy-saving and energy-generating technologies with reduced environmental impact and minimized toxic and global warming emissions.

Larry Silverberg

Dr. Silverberg’s researches dynamics and applies it to several disciplines, including improving the environment. His practical research focuses on how drones are deployed in the African savanna to protect high-valued animal species and save them from greater decline.

Hooman Tafreshi

Dr. Tafreshi’s research focuses on porous media and multiphase flow. He studies new ways to more efficiently remove droplet/particle contaminants from air and water with the goals of protecting the environment and addressing growing global concerns about access to clean air and water.


Dr. Wu studies dynamic systems and control. He develops aircraft control techniques that increase the manoeuvre capability and safety of aircraft, and he works to enhance the robustness of autonomous agents group behaviour.

Liming Xiong

Dr. Xiong studies the mechanical, thermal, and mass transport behavior as well as the interaction between them in materials when exposed to extreme environments (stresses, temperature, corrosion, irradiation, and so on) through atomistic and multiscale simulations.  Several current attempts of using his multiscale computational software include: (i) searching for super ionic conducting materials, such as solid oxides, applied in fuel cells, solar cells, or batteries; (ii) designing the surface microstructure of wind turbines, ships, or airplane wings for delaying and even forbidding the ice accretion on them in polar area; (iii) providing a material solution of mitigating the hydrogen induced cracking in oil pipeline; and (iv) probing the mechanisms underlying the thermal resistance across the polymer/mineral interfaces in biological or biomimetic composites.  The alumni who were trained on such topics in his group work for universities, DoE national laboratories, or energy-related industries, such as Schlumberger.


Dr. Xu researches manufacturing, ceramic materials, sensing and controls. Her research has many different applications, including improving turbine engine efficiency.