Archives—December 2010

Tailored Material Properties with MMCs

Thursday December 9, 2010 4:00 – 5:00 p.m.
ME-EM Building, Room 112

Adam Loukus
Instructor in the Mechanical Engineering – Engineering Mechanics

Extensive research has been performed on metal matrix composites in the past 20 years, yet limited usage of composites is seen today. There are several factors, which will be discussed, that influence the cost and manufacturability of aluminum and magnesium MMCs and these typically need to controlled and understood to develop successful products

REL is leader in MMC composite technology and has developed unique composite products that are available on the market today. Selective tailoring of materials properties to utilize the strengths of various materials has been crucial to successfully manufacturing cost effective MMC products. REL has vertically integrated the MMC manufacturing process, thereby controlling all of the composite constituents.

December 2010 Senior Banquet and Order of the Engineer Induction

View the video of Simula’s address

Keynote Speaker: Glen Simula

A local firm with Michigan Tech roots has secured a $25-million, five-year contract with the US Special Operations Command.

GS Engineering, founded by 1980 graduate Glen Simula was awarded the contract recently. Technically, it is an “indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity task order contract to supply systems test support services for US Special Operations Forces (SOF) ground mobility vehicles,” according to a US Special Operations Command news release.

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The U.S. Department of Energy Fuel Cell Activities

Thursday December 2, 2010 4:00 – 5:00 p.m.
ME-EM Building, Room 112

Rajesh K. Ahluwalia
Nuclear Engineering Division of Argonne National Laboratory

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) research, development and demonstration efforts include a portfolio of activities, including fuel cell technologies for stationary, portable, and vehicular applications to enable a cleaner, more reliable, and secure energy future. As a strategic building block to achieving these goals, the DOE fuel cell activities are continuing to make significant advancements, providing the nation with the opportunity to significantly decrease greenhouse gas emissions through the utilization of a clean, domestic fuel source. This presentation will review the progress made in the last few years, and identify the future milestones and targets aimed to overcome both the technical and non-technical barriers necessary for the widespread commercialization of fuel cell technologies.

The DOE fuel cell activities feature a diverse research portfolio. Significant progress has been made in overcoming the “critical-path” technology barriers, which include fuel cell stack cost and durability, onboard hydrogen storage, and hydrogen fuel cost. The projected high volume (500,000 units/yr) fuel cell stack cost has been reduced from $275/kW in 2002 to $61/kW in 2009, well on the way towards the 2015 target of $30/kW. Between 2003 and 2009, fell cell stack durability (under automotive cycling conditions) has doubled from 1,000 to 2,500 hours, advancing closer to the 2015 target of 5,000 hours for light-duty vehicle operations. Hydrogen storage research and development continues to identify new materials for low-pressure onboard storage that will enable a vehicle range greater than 300 miles. The “critical-path” barrier for hydrogen production cost, $2-3/gge (gasoline gallon equivalent), has been met using the near term approach of distributed natural gas reforming, projected reasonably high volumes. The cost of hydrogen from distributed production by reforming natural gas has been reduced from $5/kg in 2003 to $3/kg in 2009. In addition, manufacturing research and development focuses on low-cost, innovative process to provide high volume manufacture of hydrogen and fuel cell systems, establishing a robust manufacturing infrastructure and supply network.

DOE has also initiated “market transformation” activities to eliminate non-technical barriers and increase opportunities for widespread use of fuel cells. Initial steps are being taken to move these technologies from the laboratory to the real world by encouraging the use of the resulting products in both he public and private sectors. The most alluring near-term markets are those in which additional benefits to the customer. These include backup power for telecommunications and remote power sites, and material handling equipment for warehousing and distribution centers. The DOE’s technology Validation activity, which has included 144 vehicles and 23 refueling stations, continues to provide real-world data on fuel cell performance in passenger vehicles driven for routine day-to-day activities.