Energy Science & Technology

Principal investigators with world-class expertise in chemistry, physics and engineering—and their multidisciplinary teams—develop innovative solutions to critical energy problems.

The diverse range of research includes thermal science and technology, nanotechnology, experimental and computational fluid mechanics, intelligent control systems and nuclear thermal hydraulics, with broad application to many energy challenges.

VSTC research addresses reduced carbon dioxide emissions, greater fuel economy in vehicles, increased capacity of rechargeable batteries, improved designs for wind turbine energy and assures the safety of nuclear reactors.

Featured Faculty

Dr. Stephen Hsu

Professor Stephen Hsu's Energy Efficiency Lab and Nanomaterials Lab conducts research on renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies in buildings, transportation, and machinery. His expertise includes fluid mechanics, thermal science and technology, mechanical engineering, nanotechnologies, solid mechanics and materials science.

Dr. Philippe Bardet

Professor Philippe Bardet's research focuses on experimental fluid mechanics and nuclear thermal hydraulics. He specializes in developing new laser-based diagnostics for multiphase and fluid-structure interaction flows. On-going research efforts include gas transfer in aquatic environments, plume dispersal in the environment, and seismic response of nuclear fuel assemblies.

Dr. Lawrence Bennett

Professor Lawrence Bennett and his students: 1) operate a unique magnetic refrigeration test bed laboratory providing unique data and theory; 2) carry out leading-edge research in the magneto-optical Kerr effect (MOKE), including combining MOKE with electrochemistry to drive magnetic fields by electric currents, with important applications to devices; and 3) theoretical modeling in hysteresis.

Dr. Megan Leftwich

Professor Megan Leftwich's Biologically Inspired Energy Laboratory investigates natural fluid dynamics phenomena and applies their findings to engineering problems. Curent projects include the wake dynamics of vertical axis wind turbines is standard and complex configurations, the hydrodynamics of pinniped swimming (in collaboration with the Smithsonian National Zoo), and the fluid dynamics of human birth.