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

Bias and green vs blue hydrogen

This is a preprint from my column ‘Cool Fuel’ in Cold Facts Magazine by the Cryogenic Society of America.

I was ready to write to you about the awesome green beauty of a 454.6 nm argon laser and what it does to the hydrogen molecule when a friend sent me an article from the New York Times by Hiroko Tabuchi, “For many hydrogen is the fuel of the future. New research raises doubts.” The article is ‘based’ on a recent journal publication, “How green is blue hydrogen” by Robert Howarth and Mark Jacobson who are researchers at Cornell and Stanford Universities. As … » More …

The hydrogen fueled farm of the future

Authors: Charles (Chase) Phillips and Jacob Leachman

Problem

On Labor Day in 2020 a series of fires struck Whitman County in Washington State. Some of the fires were started by agricultural equipment during harvest, and others were sparked by electrical power lines. In a matter of minutes one fire destroyed 80% of the homes in the community of Malden.[i] The 2021 fire season is even worse. We saw conditions through the month of July that … » More …

Leaving things for the better

Today I begin professional leave to pursue a moonshot: a paradigm changing concept for hydrogen cooling and liquefaction.  Faculty are eligible for leave every six years, this is my 11th year at WSU and will be my first leave. The purpose of leave is to allow for intense focus and re-training. With many state and federal programs starting to show interest in liquid hydrogen the timing couldn’t be better. With 30 people in the lab and a big move to a new building underway the timing couldn’t be worse. Regardless, we have a very important year ahead.

It is only the second professional leave from … » More …

When enough is enough

Enough: as much or as many as required.

Things I’ve had enough of:

Exceptional students,
Support from the upper administration,
Original ideas,
Time and resources to develop those ideas,
Family support.

So when folks tell me I’m, “at the top of the list of people that could be poached by another institution”, I can say I’ve had enough of that too. Things are about as good as they can be. Really! Here’s a few from the past year:

Hydrogen is not just a cool fuel to me these days.
COVID teaching went as good as it could’ve (literally).» More …

Growing the future — 3D printing cryogenic heat exchangers

(This is a pre-print of my May ‘Cool. Fuel.’ article for Cold Facts — the magazine of the Cryogenic Society of America.)

Back when I was a Ph.D student at Wisconsin the machine that saved many of my days was a Bridgeport manual end mill conveniently located in the basement of the lab. So when I setup the HYPER lab’s manufacturing space at Washington State I found an old Bridgeport clone to place in our manufacturing area. Yes it’s even older now. While it’s still used some for drilling and tapping operations, a new additive manufacturing project led by Jordan Raymond in my lab is … » More …

Join the CHARGE! — The Consortium for Hydrogen and Renewably Generated Electrofuels at WSU

I’m all charged up this morning about CHARGE — Washington State University’s (WSU’s) new Consortium for Hydrogen and Renewably Generated Electrofuels.

What is an electrofuel?

A high-value, storable, energy product created from hydrogen generated by renewable means like electricity, wind, or solar power. With no fossil fuel resources in the state, Washington has the potential to use electrofuels to eliminate carbon emissions across multiple sectors:

Why WSU?

A couple of years ago I looked around the country for a center specifically devoted towards hydrogen and electrofuels … » More …

Living hinges can be really cool

This is a preprint of my February column “Cool Fuel” in Cold Facts Magazine by the Cryogenic Society of America.

In the June issue of ColdFacts (V. 36, No. 3 2020) I talked about how we’re learning to be more flexible while keeping our cool (a nod to the pandemic). The fun take away though was the realization that thin film polymer origami bellows could flex 100’s of times immersed in liquid nitrogen without fracturing – my new favorite liquid nitrogen (LN2) demonstration. But it didn’t last long (as my favorite demo that is) due to Francis Dunne, a new PhD student in … » More …

Why liquid hydrogen?

I’m continually surprised that the HYPER lab remains the only cryogenic hydrogen research lab in US academia. But then again, I find myself continually having to fight for liquid hydrogen, even to hydrogen experts. Hydrogen liquefies at atmospheric pressure only after cooling below 20 K (-420°F), you cannot liquefy hydrogen by increasing pressure. This requirement to make something that cold (a.k.a. cryogenics) is technically challenging. However, in 2012, liquid hydrogen accounted for over 90% of small merchant hydrogen utilization in the US. Yet, only a few legacy companies have the knowledge base necessary to handle liquid hydrogen, and the last academic lab in the US … » More …

How the alumni changed me for the better

Last week I had the pleasure of talking with Jenna Kriebel and AnneMarie Hunter from the WSU Foundation about the impact of alumni donations and philanthropy for the HYPER laboratory (and my career). Throughout my collegiate experience, first as a student athlete and now faculty, I’ve benefited from the generous donations of Land-Grant alumni. Yes, the Land-Grant institutions are public and state supported, but that public support is often literally the general minimum, which sometimes just isn’t enough. Although I’ve written about the many moments that alumni support was perfectly timed to make a difference in keeping us afloat, the conversation with Jenna and … » More …

Leidenfrost Dusting as a Novel Tool for Dust Mitigation

Lunar dust is an extremely abrasive material that can critically damage and compromise electronics, clothing, and life support systems. In addition, Astronaut Harrison Schmitt and others experienced an ailment they described as "lunar hay fever" from inhalation of lunar dust. Previous removal techniques using brushes, vacuums, and other fluid washes proved ineffective. These methods provided insufficient dust removal and often could damage systems. However, we may have found a solution using the dusting effect of cryogenic liquids. » More ...