Robert Braun

Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering and
Director, Mines/NREL Advanced Energy Systems Program

Head shot of Dr. Robert Braun outdoorsDr. Robert Braun, University Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Colorado School of Mines, leads the Advanced Energy Systems group (  He received a PhD from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 2002. From 2002 to 2007, Dr. Braun was at United Technologies Fuel Cell and Research Center divisions where he last served as project leader for UTC’s mobile solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) power system development program. Dr. Braun has a multidisciplinary background in mechanical and chemical engineering, and his research focuses on energy systems modeling and analysis, techno-economic optimization, and numerical simulation of transport phenomena occurring within fuel cell and alternative energy systems. His industry experience encompasses development of low-NOx burners, CO2-based refrigeration, and fuel cell technologies (incl. PEMFC, PAFC, MCFC, SOFC, and PCFC). Dr. Braun’s current research activities focus on hybrid fuel cell/engine systems, renewable energy pathways to synthetic fuel production, grid-scale energy storage, novel protonic ceramics, supercritical CO2 power cycles, and dispatch optimization of concentrating solar power plants. He is a Link Energy Foundation Fellow, a member of ASME, ECS, and ASHRAE, has over 50 journal publications, and holds 6 U.S. patents.


Brown Hall W410A

Labs and Research Centers

Recent Publications


  • Hamilton, W. T., Newman, A. M., Wagner, M. J., Braun, R. J. “Off-design performance of molten salt-driven Rankine cycles and its impact on the optimal dispatch of concentrating solar power systems,” Energy Conversion and Management, 220:113025 (2020).
  • Reznicek, E. P., Hinze, J. F., Rapp, L. M., Nellis, G. F., Anderson, M. H., Braun, R. J. “One-dimensional, transient modeling of a fixed-bed regenerator as a replacement for recuperators in supercritical CO2 power cycles,” Energy Conversion and Management, 218:112921 (2020).
  • Reznicek, E. P., Braun, R. J. “Reversible Solid Oxide Cell Systems for Integration with Natural Gas Pipeline and Carbon Capture Infrastructure for Grid Energy Management,” Applied Energy 259:114118 (2020).


  • Dubois, A., Taghikhani, K. J., Berger, J., Zhu, H., O’Hayre, R., Braun, R. J., Kee, R. J., Ricote, S. “Chemo-Thermo-Mechanical Coupling in Protonic Ceramic Fuel Cells: From Fabrication to Operation.” Journal of the Electrochemical Society 166(13):F1007–F1015 (2019).
  • Hamilton, W., Husted, M. A., Newman, A. M., Braun, R. J., Wagner, M. J. “Dispatch Optimization of Concentrating Solar Power with Utility‑Scale Photovoltaics.” Optimization and Engineering 21:335–369 (2019).
  • Albrecht, K. J., Dubois, A., Ferguson, K., Duan, C., O’Hayre, R. P., Braun, R. J. “Steady-State and Dynamic Modeling of Intermediate-Temperature Protonic Ceramic Fuel Cells,” Journal of the Electrochemical Society 166(10):F687–F700 (2019).
  • Kee, B. L., Curran, D., Zhu, H., Braun, R. J., DeCaluwe, S. C., Kee, R. J., Ricote, S. “Thermodynamic Insights for Electrochemical Hydrogen Compression with Proton-Conducting Membranes.” Membranes 9:77 (2019).
  • Parikh, A., Martinek, J., Mungas, G., Kramer, N., Braun, R., Zhu, G. “Investigation of Temperature Distribution on a New Linear Fresnel Receiver Assembly Under High Solar Flux.” International Journal of Energy Research 43(9):4051–4061 (2019).
  • Jackson, G. S., Imponenti, L., Albrecht, K. J., Miller, D. C., Braun, R. J. “Inert and Reactive Oxide Particles for High-Temperature Thermal Energy Capture and Storage for Concentrating Solar Power.” Journal of Solar Energy Engineering 141(2):021016 (2019).
  • Hinze, J., Rapp, L., Nellis, G., Anderson, M., Reznicek, E., Braun, R. “Modeling and Experimental Testing of Periodic Flow Regenerators for sCO2 Cycles.” Applied Thermal Engineering 147:789–803 (2019).
  • Becker, W. L., Penev, M., Braun, R. J. “Production of Synthetic Natural Gas from Carbon Dioxide and Renewably Generated Hydrogen: A Techno-Economic Analysis of a Power-to-Gas Strategy.” Journal of Energy Resources Technology 141(2):021901 (2019).


  • Wagner, M. J., Hamilton, W. T., Newman, A., Dent, J., Diep, C., Braun, R. J. “Dispatching Power at a Concentrating Solar Energy Facility.” Solar Energy 174:1198–1211 (2018).
  • Anyenya, G.,·Braun, R. J., Lee, K., Sullivan, N. P., Newman, A. M. “Design and Dispatch Optimization of a Solid-Oxide Fuel Cell Assembly for Unconventional Oil and Gas Production.” Optimization & Engineering 19(4):1037–1081 (2018).
  • Reznicek, E., Braun, R. J. “Techno-Economic and Off-Design Analysis of Stand-Alone, Distributed-Scale Reversible Solid Oxide Cell Energy Storage Systems.” Energy Conversion & Management 175:263–277 (2018).
  • Zhu, H., Braun, R. J., Kee, R. J. “Thermodynamic Analysis of Energy Efficiency and Fuel Utilization in Protonic-Ceramic Fuel Cells with Planar Co-Flow Configurations.” Journal of the Electrochemical Society 165(11):F942–F950 (2018).
  • Albrecht, K. J., Jackson, G. S., Braun, R. J. “Evaluating Thermodynamic Performance Limits of Thermochemical Energy Storage Subsystems Using Reactive Perovskite Oxide Particles for Concentrating Solar Power.” Solar Energy 167:179–193 (2018).
  • Duan, C., Ricote, S., Zhu, H., Sullivan, N., Karakaya, C., Kee, R. J., Braun, R. J., O’Hayre, R. “Highly Durable, Coking and Sulfur Tolerant, Fuel-Flexible Protonic Ceramic Fuel Cell.” Nature 557:217–222 (2018).


  • Dubois, A., Ricote, S., Braun, R. J. “Benchmarking the Expected Stack Manufacturing Cost of Next Generation, Intermediate-Temperature Protonic Ceramic Fuel Cells with Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Technology.” Journal of Power Sources 369:65–77 (2017).
  • Anyenya, G., Sullivan, N.P., Braun, R. J. “Modeling and Simulation of a Novel 4.5 kWe Multi-Stack Solid-Oxide Fuel Cell Prototype Assembly for Combined Heat and Power.” Energy Conversion & Management 140:247–259 (2017).
  • Wagner, M., Newman, A., Hamilton, W., Braun, R. J. “Optimized Dispatch in a First-Principles Concentrating Solar Power Production Model.” Applied Energy 203:959–971 (2017).
  • Humbird, D., Trendewicz, A., Braun, R., Dutta, A. “One-Dimensional Biomass Fast Pyrolysis Model with Reaction Kinetics Integrated in an Aspen Plus Biorefinery Process Model.” ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Energy  5(3):2463–2470 (2017).


  • Anyenya, G., Haun, B., Daubenspeck, M., Braun, R. J., Sullivan, N. P. “Experimental Testing of a Novel kW-scale Multi-Stack SOFC Assembly for CHP.” ASME Journal of Electrochemical Energy Conversion & Storage 13:041001 (2016).
  • Wendel, C. H., Braun, R. J. “Design and Techno-Economic Analysis of High Efficiency Reversible Solid Oxide Cell Systems for Distributed Energy Storage.” Applied Energy 172:118–131 (2016).
  • Albrecht, K. J., Jackson, G. S., Braun, R. J. “Thermodynamically Consistent Modeling of Redox-Stable Perovskite Oxides for Thermochemical Energy Conversion and Storage.” Applied Energy 165:285–296 (2016).
  • Albrecht, K. J., Braun, R. J. “The Effect of Coupled Mass Transport and Internal Reforming on Modeling of Solid Oxide Fuel Cells, Part II: Benchmarking Transient Response and Dynamic Model Fidelity Assessment.” Journal of Power Sources 304:402–408 (2016).
  • Albrecht, K. J., Braun, R. J. “The Effect of Coupled Mass Transport and Internal Reforming on Modeling of Solid Oxide Fuel Cells, Part I: Channel-Level Model Development and Steady-State Comparison.” Journal of Power Sources 304:384–401 (2016).
  • Wendel, C. H., Kazempoor, P., Braun, R. J. “A Thermodynamic Approach for Selecting Operating Conditions in the Design of Reversible Solid Oxide Cell Energy Systems.” Journal of Power Sources 301:93–104 (2016).

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Recent Courses

  • Thermodynamics I
  • Thermodynamics II
  • Advanced Engineering Thermodynamics
  • Heat Transfer
  • Design & Simulation of Thermal Systems