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Hydrogen Properties for Energy Research (HYPER) Laboratory Michael S. Wood

Michael Wood



I earned my B.S. in Mechanical Engineering with Magna Cum Laude at Washington State University in May of 2017. It was during this time I fell in love with engineering, the culture, and opened my eyes to how close the world was to a green energy revolution. Spring of 2016, Dr. Leachman taught a System Design class for the development of a portable hydrogen liquefier. It was there where all of the dots connected for me and left me with this inherent drive to push this technology further. HYPER Lab is where my journey has taken me and allows me to advance my skills and the technology needed to create a sustainable future.  


For four years I was a Control Valve Project Specialist who would review valve designs to determine if it was economical to repair or replace industrial valves. I would review all valves from 1/4″ (6.35 mm) Relief Valves to 72″ (1828.8 mm) Butterfly Valves. I learned how important and yet underappreciated valves are to create a functioning society. They are literally in every application the requires the movement of fluids, including our own hearts. Working with a great team, working under pressure, seeing all of the common methods to repair valves and the problems they encounter, it gave me a unique experience and appreciation for valves I would not have had otherwise.  


All my education and experience built to a single conversation with Dr. Leachman where we discussing cryogenic valves. We noticed we had shared experiences with cryogenic valves: long leads times, high prices, and unreliable performance. We saw an opportunity with his cryogenic hydrogen experience and my valve experience to create a sealing technology that will theoretically produce lower leakage rates for a larger number of cycles, as well as prevent known industry valve failures. My research is to make this technology a reality and have made it my goal to perfect it and earn my master’s degree with the intent to make hydrogen the fuel of the future.