Professor and Director, Center of Thermal, Management, Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri
President of ThermAvant Technology, LLC, Columbia, Missouri
CEO of ThermAvant International, LLC, Columbia, Missouri
Title: An Engineer Entrepreneur
In this presentation, Professor Ma introduces his experience that he started his two companies: ThermAvant Technologies, LLC, and ThermAvant International, LLC as a professor in the department of Mechanical &Aerospace Engineering at the University of Missouri. The presentation will discuss the nature and unique features of an engineer entrepreneur, and provide an insight into what an engineer entrepreneur is. While a real innovative technology is the foundation to start up a new company, the team effort including marketing, sales, and capital investment is a key for a small company to start up. In addition, mission, perseverance, and dedication, which will make the company’s products unique and competitive, are necessary conditions for a startup company to be successful.
Dr. Hongbin Ma is a Professor in the Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, and the director of the Center of Thermal Management in the College of Engineering at the University of Missouri (MU). He has conducted active research in the fields of phase-change heat transfer, heat pipes, ejector refrigeration, and thermal management. His research work has resulted in more than 260 publications including 1 book, 5 book chapters, and over 150 refereed journal papers. The contributions he made are not only in scientific fundamental research but also in engineering applications. His research efforts led to the establishments of both companies of ThermAvant Technologies (TAT) (www.thermavant.com), where he is cofounder and president, and ThermAvant International (TAI) (www.burnoutmugs.com, www.lexolife.com, and www.amazon.com searching burnout mugs) where he is cofounder and CEO, to further develop and commercialize his research results. While TAT has become the only company in world to manufacture and sell high performance oscillating heat pipe (OHP) cooling devices to the top defense companies in USA and led to earning the 2018 100 R&D Award, TAI’s drink-now technology has resulted in the temperature-controlled coffee mugs known as Burnout and Lexo Tumblers which can cool down hot beverages to the perfect drinking temperature instantly and retain this temperature for many hours. He is a Fellow of American Society of Mechanical Engineering (ASME), Associate Editors of ASME Journal of Thermal Science and Engineering Application, and International Journal of Heat Transfer Research.
A.B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University
Title: The use of Cryogenic distillation for meeting political power de-carbonization targets
Much of the world believes that global warming can be mitigated through mandated de-carbonization of the atmosphere. Much of the policy effort has been focused on substituting wind and solar power generation for power produced by burning fossil fuels.
If the goal is to have at least 24 hours of economical,utility scale, stored power in order to contend with wind and solar intermittency, we are not anywhere near meeting that goal. Today, even with deep pockets, 2 hours is the target.
We, and others, propose an alternate option, similar to the proven LNG storage methodology,in order to store surplus “green” power. This approach would produce “green” hydrogen. Surplus renewable power would support the electrolysis of water. The released hydrogenwould then be liquefied and stored for future use as a fuel in generating power, initially by blending the hydrogen with pipeline natural gas and using the blended fuelin combustion turbines or larger combined cycle gas plants.Although electrolytic production of hydrogen is power intensive, even before considering the cost of liquefaction, it is viewed as a viable option for the use of “free” surplus renewable power.
While the majority of hydrogen produced today is based on processing natural gas, a green option is technically possible using electrolysis. We have been operating NASA space flights for 50 years using engines fueled with liquid hydrogen and oxygen. Perhaps the ultimate “green” fuel, this approach produces no CO2 and when the Hydrogen is combusted, the only exhaust is water.
Finally, another approach, announced by UK researchers, uses surplus renewable energy to liquefy, perhaps the most ubiquitous of all working fluids, air. Once produced, the liquefied air isstored and then re-gasified and used to generate power by feeding the high pressure air to turbo-generators during periods when wind and solar power are offline.
Our proposal expands on the British approach by using distillation columns to remove CO2 from the liquefied air prior to storage. Multiple companies, including Air Products and Air Liquide have been using cryogenic distillation to supplyhigh purity oxygen, nitrogen and argon for the better part of a century.
Eric Smith is a Professor of Practice at the A.B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University. He also serves as the Associate Director of the Tulane Energy Institute. He is a 1965 Chemical Engineering graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology and earned an MBA, in 1967, from the A. B. Freeman School at Tulane University. In addition to sixteen years of full time academic experience, he has over thirty years of operational experience; first, in the downstream refining and petrochemical industry and then, from 1984 until 2004, in the upstream, offshore, drilling and construction sectors.
During that upstream phase, he participated in arranging three IPOs, the largest being a combined primary-secondary offering for Saipem, SpA. He also was the head of Saipem’s US subsidiary during the installation of Hoover-Diana, Exxon’s first major deep water structure. He also served as a consultant to Louisiana’s Department of Economic Development as well as to Greater New Orleans, Inc. a regional economic development group. He is the Energy Committee Chairman of the World Trade Center of New Orleans. Most recently, based on multiple world scale oil discoveries offshore Guyana,he was asked by the US State Department to consult with the Guyanese government.
Eric also acts as Tulane’s media contact for energy issues.
Senior Technical Advisor for Thermal-Hydraulics, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research
Title: The Opportunities and Challenges of Advanced Nuclear Reactors
The nuclear industry is at a crossroads. Over the past several years some units have pre-maturely shutdown and entered into decommissioning. Other operating units are clearly stressed economically and are considering pre-mature closure. The market forces are harsh. Yet, there are compelling reasons for the nuclear industry to continue to provide an important contribution to the energy sector and possibly even expand. Global efforts to address climate change and to meet the energy needs of developing nations are likely to require large, new sources of clean, carbon-free energy. Currently, nuclear plants provide roughly 20% of the electrical power capacity in the U.S., and represent approximately 60% of U.S. carbon-free production. If world-wide demand for increased carbon-free electrical production continues, nuclear must certainly play a role.
The U.S. nuclear industry is responding by proposing a wide variety of advanced non-light water reactors; gas-cooled, liquid metal cooled, molten salt cooled, and what are termed “micro” reactors cooled using heat pipes. Both fast and thermal spectrum reactor designs are under active development, with fuels ranging from TRISO and metallic to liquid fuel salts. These designs and new fuels are built upon many years of experience with light-water reactors and offer significant improvements in safety, operation and economics. Modeling and simulation of these new designs and their behavior during hypothetical accident scenarios represents a challenge to both design and licensing, in large part to uncertainties in the thermal/fluid behavior. While the opportunities for improved safety and economics are apparent, the thermal-fluid uncertainties must be addressed.
Nuclear reactor thermal-hydraulics has always been a challenging technical area as the industry has developed both conventional and passively cooled light-water reactors and improved fuel designs. For non-LWRs, this is no exception. The nuclear industry, the U.S. Department of Energy,and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission are currently working towards an improved understanding of the safety of advanced designs, new fuel concepts, and development of the experimental database and analytical capability to simulate these new concepts.
Stephen M. Bajorek is the Senior Technical Advisor for Thermal-Hydraulics in the NRC's Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research, and has nearly forty years experience in the nuclear industry. While at the NRC he has been involved with development of the TRACE stet-of-the-art thermal-hydraulics code, advanced reactor analysis, and the NRC’s thermal-hydraulic test programs and is currently leading the NRC's efforts to develop simulation codes for non-LWRs. Dr. Bajorek represents the NRC in international thermal-hydraulic research projects, and has served on U.S. State Department missions in support of U.S. industry interests. Prior to joining the NRC staff he was a member of the faculty at Kansas State University and has over 15 years of industrial experience at Westinghouse Electric Corp. as a code developer and analyst. At Westinghouse, Dr. Bajorek was the lead developer of the WCOBRA/TRAC systems code and of the first Best-Estimate LOCA methodology licensed in the U.S. He has authored or co-authored nearly 200 publications in areas ranging from boiling and two-phase flow, reactor safety, natural convection, and boiling of multi-component fluids.
Dr. Bajorek received his Ph. D. from Michigan State University, and M.S. and B.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Notre Dame.
PhD, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Tulane University
Co-Founder and Chief Science Officer, AxoSim, Inc.
Title: Microphysiological Systems and Engineering Challenges for Commercial Scale-Up
Microphysiological systems—also called “organs-on-chips,” “tissue chips,” or organoids—are assemblies of living cells on the micro-scale that are engineered to mimic certain key aspects of human tissue or organ physiology, usually by engineering certain aspects of tissue structure and/or their physical and chemical microenvironment. These biological systems are being aggressively pursued as models of diseases for research and for screening drugs to better predict safety and efficacy on the path toward clinical trials. As these systems have begun to advance to commercial application, the need for scaling up has become apparent. However, unlike traditional chemical reaction processes, microphysiological systems cannot be scaled simply by volume and mixing, mainly because of transport limitations of biological processes such as the availability of oxygen and removal of metabolic by-products that greatly affect physiological outcomes. With fixed upper limits on tissue dimensions and volume, scale-up for commercialization will have to rely on massively parallel production and/or innovations in the form factor of conventional tissue cultures, necessities not typically considered by entrepreneurs entering this field.
Michael J. Moore, PhD, is a Professor of Biomedical Engineering in Tulane University's School of Science and Engineering. He is also the Founder of AxoSim, a creator of the Nerve-on-a-Chip platform that is developing disease models for neurogenerative diseases such as neurotoxicity, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and multiple sclerosis. He functions as a Chief Scientific Officer for the company as well. His academic research focuses on developing in vitro models of neural growth, physiology, and disease by manipulating the chemical and physical extracellular microenvironment. Toward this end, his lab employs a number of microengineering technologies such as microscale tissue engineering, novel nanomaterials, microfabrication, digital light projection microscopy, and optical modes of electrophysiological stimulation and recording. Dr. Moore was born in Kimball, NE and attended the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. He received his B.S. in Biological Systems Engineering shortly after marrying his wife Lisa. They then moved to Rochester, MN, where Michael attended the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science where his dissertation research involved the development of a biodegradable spinal cord implant. Dr. Moore then went to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he conducted postdoctoral research in drug delivery for retinal neuroprotection in collaboration with the Schepens Eye Research Institute at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Moore joined the Tulane Biomedical Engineering faculty as an Assistant Professor in 2007. He and his wife and three daughters live in the Broadmoor neighborhood near Tulane’s undergraduate campus in New Orleans, LA.