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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.


  I completed my bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at Montana State University. It was close to home and helped me discover my passion in the thermal fluid sciences. I started falling in love with the thermal fluid sciences with my thermodynamics 1 course at Montana State. I was always interested in hydraulics and how fluid could be used to produce power and force. My professors taught the fundamental principles in a very clear and exciting way. These courses came more intuitively to me than solid mechanics. The equations were easier for me to solve and I loved the challenge of generating a desired output with certain inputs. I have multiple interests in this area, but I’ve always had a passion for agriculture, so I wanted to connect my interests in school 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 knowledge in the thermal fluid sciences 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 had two general influences that led me to look at the HYPER Lab. I took some chemical engineering courses and I am interested in renewable energy. The HYPER Lab appealed to me due to the research with Hydrogen as the next major energy source. Combine that with Pullman’s location, I am 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 help drive research into clean renewable energy. Therefore, starting in Fall 2020, I am beginning an investigation into convective heat transfer of liquid hydrogen systems.