Robert Braun

Professor, Mechanical Engineering

Head shot of Dr. Robert Braun outdoorsDr. Braun received B.S. and M.S. degrees from Marquette University and a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin – Madison where he specialized in SOFC system design, analysis, and optimization. He subsequently worked as a senior engineer at UTC Fuel Cells on both PEM- and PAFC-based power plant technologies. In 2004, Dr. Braun joined the United Technologies Research Center where he most recently served as project leader for UTC’s mobile SOFC power system development program. He has also led design studies on commercial-scale SOFC-CHP systems, hybrid SOFC-Gas Turbine systems operating on coal gas, and SOFCs for aircraft power applications. While at UTRC, Dr. Braun co-led the successful development of a CO2-based refrigeration system for bottle cooling applications and worked on residential HVAC system diagnostics. He was a visiting researcher at the Technical University of Munich in Germany in 2001 and prior to his Ph.D. work, Dr. Braun worked in the commercial boiler industry as an R&D engineer at Cleaver-Brooks in Milwaukee.

Dr. Braun has a multidisciplinary background in mechanical and chemical engineering and his research focuses on multiscale modeling, ranging from device-level numerical simulation of transport phenomena and chemical processes to systems-level studies of advanced energy conversion systems. His primary research interests are focused on applications involving thermochemical and electrochemical systems that are categorized into: (i) high-temperature fuel cells for mobile and stationary applications, (ii) modeling and systems analysis of alternative fuel production and utilization systems (biorefineries, synfuels, biogas, membranes), and (iii) energy storage (electrochemical and thermochemical).

Recent research projects have been in the areas of high-temperature fuel cell systems using SOFCs or protonic ceramics, reversible solid oxide cell energy systems for grid storage, concentrating solar power (thermochemical energy storage and advanced sCO2 cycles), and biomass conversion using fast pyrolysis.

Contact

Brown Hall W410A
303-273-3055
rbraun@mines.edu

Labs and Research Centers

Recent Publications

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).

2019

  • 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).

2018

  • 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).

2017

  • 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).

2016

  • 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).

See more in Google Scholar

Recent Courses

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