On August 26, 2020, The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced that the IMRI at University of Louisiana at Lafayette would receive DOE ARPA-E funding to design and optimize an energy storage and power generation (ESPG) system for aircraft propulsion under the Range Extenders for Electric Aviation with Low Carbon and High Efficiency (REEACH) Program.
The proposed system will consist of optimally sized fuel-to-electric power conversion devices; metal-supported solid oxide fuel cells (MS-SOFCs) and turbogenerators using carbon-neutral synfuel. The design concept will ensure adequate propulsive thrust and system power for a future airplane configuration by optimizing the ESPG and component performance, especially the synfuel-powered MS-SOFC. The team will use innovative fabrication techniques for high-performance, ultra-low weight, and low-cost MS-SOFC stacks.
Dr. Xiao-Dong Zhou is heading this research project. He is also the IMRI Director and the Stuller Endowed Chair of Chemical Engineering. Dr. Subhash Singhal and Dr. Dave Daggett are co-principal investigators and Institutional Fellows at IMRI. In addition, UL Lafayette's team consists of Dr. Rafael Hernandez and Dr. Jonathan Raush. Hernandez is a professor and the head of chemical engineering, while Raush is an assistant professor of mechanical engineering.