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Hydrogen Properties for Energy Research (HYPER) Laboratory Matthew P. Shenton

Matthew P. Shenton


I am from a ranch in Southeastern Idaho about an hour from Yellowstone National Park. Growing up my interests included farming, horseback riding and fishing. I also enjoy golf, running, hiking, skiing, and basketball. Farm activities included working cattle, operating machinery, and mechanic work. I love the countryside and being with friends and family. My experiences growing up have shaped my goals throughout school. I decided to pursue Mechanical Engineering based on the farm machinery and mechanic work that I did with a vision to promote sustainable agriculture.


I completed my bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at Montana State University. It was close to the family ranch, and helped me discover my passion in the thermal fluid sciences. I have multiple interests in this area, but I’ve always had a passion for agriculture, so I wanted to connect my interests in the thermal fluid sciences to the agricultural sector. During my senior year, I was able to research the heat transfer through potatoes in storage. I developed a model that simulated air flow through a crate of randomly packed potatoes. This model could be used to determine better storage and transport methods to prevent spoilage in potatoes. I enjoyed completing this project because it allowed me to use my engineering knowledge in an agriculture application. This project made me realize that I wanted to continue my education and further my expertise in the research area. When I was researching potential graduate programs, I found the HYPER lab under the direction of Dr. Leachman. After one conversation,  I immediately saw the potential that hydrogen had in sustainable agriculture.  Combine that with Pullman’s location, I was extremely excited to continue my education at WSU.


Cryogenic hydrogen has huge potential to be the next major fuel source that powers the world, and agriculture needs to adapt to maintain high levels of production. Hydrogen is that answer. Electric batteries can’t provide enough power to run the heavy equipment that is required on a farm. A hydrogen engine could easily power heavy machinery as a renewable clean energy source. Diesel is expensive and is one of the biggest producers of greenhouse gases. I want to promote energy independency for farmers so that they don’t have to be price takers on both ends of the economic chain. Losses from boil-off of long term hydrogen storage vessels is a unique challenge to solve in order to make hydrogen the foundational energy carrier on farms. My research interest is solving this challenge utilizing active cooling techniques. I am exploring thermoacoustic phenomena of cryogenic hydrogen systems to develop scalable liquefaction and cooling technologies.