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Hydrogen Properties for Energy Research (HYPER) Laboratory Cool. Fuel.

Cool Fuel — Hydrogen’s Massive Sensing Challenges

This is a pre-print of my bi-monthly column ‘Cool Fuel’ for Cold Facts, the magazine of the Cryogenics Society of America.

I had a realization the other day – most of us may be incorrectly measuring cryogenic hydrogen mass flows. Nearly all types of flow meters are affected: pressure-differential, sonic, thermal, etc. The differences arise from changing thermophysical properties of hydrogen at cryogenic temperatures and more complicated for flow metering than just adjusting for temperature and pressure. Hydrogen at room temperature sourced from a cryogenic dewar can also be affected, which covers the majority of hydrogen use. In response, this column covers the basics … » More …

Celebrating the Summer of 2022

Today is the completion of my first three months back at HYPER following professional leave. We are celebrating with a lab party in our new building. From graduations, to new additions, accomplishments and achievements, we have ample reasons to celebrate and reflect for the coming semester.


The most recent round of HYPER alumni has formed, and despite my leave, shown that the lab community and culture is enough to realize dreams:

Reece Adams was the first to graduate with his MS in Materials Science in May. Reece completed measurements on polymer matrix composites at liquid hydrogen temperatures necessary to determine the Factor of … » More …

My MoonShot — On professional leave and change

Today I returned to Pullman and my research laboratory for the first time since August 11th 2021, after over 8 months on the road for professional leave. While this leave doesn’t end until May 15th, it’s time for reflection. Faculty are typically granted professional leave once every six years (synonymous with the sabbath, or sabbatical). This was my first professional leave (I became eligible in 2017). I’m returning fundamentally changed. This post defines professional leave as nearly nobody understands it, describes some of the experiences that changed me with the hope that it inspires others to pursue new perspectives, and to convince those in … » More …

The 1st Hydrogen Bank — Could zero-boil-off storage be easier than we think?

[This is a preprint of my Cool Fuel column in Cold Facts Magazine from the Cryogenic Society of America.]

I’m throwing in the towel on academia and starting my own bank. Let’s call it the 1st Hydrogen Bank. You invest your money and I’ll bank it as pure hydrogen energy for later use. It’s not only the coolest bank around but will be the greenest, fastest (10x), largest (10x), and have the lowest exchange rate among energy banks. Standard terms & fees apply:

Open an account for as little as $500,000
Reserve limit up to $50,000
Compounding losses near … » More …

My Starter Tool Kit for Engineers

If you were about to be dropped in the wilderness, to survive on your own, what tools would you bring?

If you were about to be hired into a company, to engineer on your own, what tools would you bring?

If you were given the opportunity to practice with these tools before the event, would you?

If you were watching a professional perform, in their element, with their tools, what would it look like?

Ask any modern practitioner to see their tool kit and you might get a strange look. Not once in my career has a professor showed me their starter tool kit, the … » More …

Envisioning HYPER’s Best by 2030

Three principles form the foundation of the HYPER lab:

What we learn (our curiosity),
What we do (our engineering), and
What we teach (our professionalism).

This learn one, do one, teach one foundation is the cyclical heartbeat of HYPER’s continuous improvement today through 2030. It is this process that confidently maps learning experiences into our consciousness. Our 2030 vision is to be our best at developing engineering talent, and likely the best in the Western US. This will be demonstrated by breakthroughs we make to liquid hydrogen technologies, our training of hydrogen professionals, and the services we provide to industry.

Few, if … » More …

The Limit of Lean

The 7 Wastes are so closely aligned with entropy generation that Lean is the manufacturing extension of thermodynamic law.

.and I have not found a Lean Manufacturing system, even relics of the principles, anywhere on WSU’s campus.

..but modern industry requires knowledge of these core tenets.

…so it was only natural for HYPER to go Lean.

To adopt Kaizen (continuous improvement) as a core mantra.

To poka-yoke (error-proof) production processes for repetition by many others (Learn one. Do one. Teach one.).

To 6S systems until we achieve the level of safety maximized when the 7 Wastes are minimized.

To fiercely add value in the pursuit … » More …

The Thermodynamics of Possible

The entirety of our beautiful universe is underpinned by physical law.

Only one of those laws places limits on the possible: the second law of thermodynamics — the entropy, or disorder of the universe, must increase.

That’s it.

That’s the only universal regulator.

I’m here today to teach you how little is really impossible.

To ask you to turn off the opinions, the haters, the pundits, the gatekeepers.

To remind you that we are nowhere close to having it all figured out.

To demand you keep asking questions until you no longer find answers.

To keep you looking until you find how no one else … » More …

Reflections on a decade of leadership in HYPER and the path forward

I was recently asked to reflect on HYPER leadership since founding in 2010: What was I trying? What was working? What was not working? What do I plan to change coming back from professional leave into a new lab building? Emphasis on leadership and “NOT VISION”.

What was I trying?

It’s easy to look back on past leadership with a bias perspective, so here is the post from 2015 and updated in 2020 with my thoughts on leadership: Quite simply, I’m leading HYPER to develop the future technologies and professionals in clean cryogenic hydrogen. Many can say this. How is the key.

To … » More …

What I look for in new recruits

What I look for in new recruits is a different question from How to Get Brilliant Students (spoiler: you make them). The irony is that I really wasn’t recruited much at all into the academy. I’ve never been taught how to recruit. Yet, over the years we’ve developed a system for recruitment and talent development that’s worth sharing. By the end of this post you’ll understand the structure of the HYPER lab culture, how we recruit as a community to develop top talent, how we cultivate drive to achieve, and what we look for in new recruits.

How I wasn’t recruited

Anyone who’s read … » More …