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

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: https://hydrogen.wsu.edu/2015/08/28/21st-century-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 …

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 …