Robert Braun

Associate 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 multi-disciplinary background in mechanical and chemical engineering and his research focuses on multi-scale 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.


Brown Hall W410A

Labs and Research Centers


  • E.P. Reznicek, R.J. Braun, “Reversible solid oxide cell systems for integration with natural gas pipeline and carbon capture infrastructure for grid energy management,” Appl. Energy, (2019) in press.
  • A. Dubois, K.J. Taghikhani, J. Berger, H. Zhu , R. O’Hayre, R.J Braun, R.J. Kee, S. Ricote, “Chemo-thermo-mechanical coupling in protonic ceramic fuel cells: from fabrication to operation,” J. Electrochem. Soc. (2019) 166(13):F1007-F1015.
  • W. Hamilton, M.A. Husted, A. M. Newman, R.J. Braun, M.J. Wagner, “Dispatch optimization of concentrating solar power with utility‑scale photovoltaics,” Optimization and Engineering (2019) 21:335–369.
  • K. J. Albrecht, A. Dubois, K. Ferguson, C. Duan, R. P. O’Hayre, and R. J. Braun, “Steady-State and Dynamic Modeling of Intermediate-Temperature Protonic Ceramic Fuel Cells,” J. Electrochem. Soc. (2019) 166(10):F687-F700.
  • B.L. Kee , D. Curran, H. Zhu, R.J. Braun, S.C. DeCaluwe, R.J. Kee and S. Ricote, “Thermodynamic insights for electrochemical hydrogen compression with proton-conducting membranes,” Membranes (2019) 9:77.
  • A. Parikh, J. Martinek, G. Mungas, N. Kramer, R. Braun, G. Zhu, “Investigation of temperature distribution on a new linear Fresnel receiver assembly under high solar flux,” Int. J. Energy Res. (2019) 43(9):4051–4061.
  • G.S. Jackson, L. Imponenti, K.J. Albrecht, D.C. Miller, and R.J. Braun, “Inert and Reactive Oxide Particles for High-Temperature Thermal Energy Capture and Storage for Concentrating Solar Power,” J. Solar Energy Engineering (2019) 141(2):021016.
  • J. Hinze, L. Rapp, G. Nellis, M. Anderson, E. Reznicek, R. Braun, “Modeling and experimental testing of periodic flow regenerators for sCO2 cycles,” Appl. Thermal Engineering (2019) 147:789–803.
  • W.L. Becker, M. Penev, and R.J. Braun, “Production of Synthetic Natural Gas From Carbon Dioxide and Renewably Generated Hydrogen: A Techno-Economic Analysis of a Power-to-Gas Strategy,” J. Energy Resource Technology (2019) 141(2):021901.
  • M. J. Wagner, W.T. Hamilton, A. Newman, J. Dent, C. Diep, and R.J. Braun, “Dispatching Power at a Concentrating Solar Energy Facility,” Solar Energy (2018) 174:1198–1211.
  • G. Anyenya,·R.J. Braun, K. Lee, N.P. Sullivan, A. M. Newman, “Design and Dispatch Optimization of a Solid-Oxide Fuel Cell Assembly for Unconventional Oil and Gas Production,” Optimization & Engineering (2018) 19(4):1037–1081.
  • E. Reznicek and R.J. Braun, “Techno-economic and off-design analysis of stand-alone, distributed-scale reversible solid oxide cell energy storage systems,” Energy Conv. & Management (2018) 175:263–277.
  • H.Zhu, R.J. Braun, and R.J. Kee, “Thermodynamic Analysis of Energy Efficiency and Fuel Utilization in Protonic-Ceramic Fuel Cells with Planar Co-Flow Configurations,” J. Electrochem. Soc. (2018) 165(11):F942-F950.
  • K.J. Albrecht, G.S. Jackson, R.J. Braun, “Evaluating Thermodynamic Performance Limits of Thermochemical Energy Storage Subsystems Using Reactive Perovskite Oxide Particles for Concentrating Solar Power,” Solar Energy (2018) 167:179–193.
  • C. Duan, S. Ricote, H. Zhu, N. Sullivan, C. Karakaya, R.J. Kee, R.J. Braun, R. O’Hayre, “Highly durable, coking and sulfur tolerant, fuel-flexible protonic ceramic fuel cell,” Nature (2018) 557:217–222.
  • A. Dubois, S. Ricote, and R.J. Braun, “Benchmarking the expected stack manufacturing cost of next generation, intermediate-temperature protonic ceramic fuel cells with solid oxide fuel cell technology,” J. Power Sources (2017) 369:65–77.
  • G.Anyenya, N.P. Sullivan, and R.J. Braun, “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 (2017) 140:247–259.
  • M. Wagner, A. Newman, W. Hamilton, and R.J. Braun, “Optimized Dispatch in a First-Principles Concentrating Solar Power Production Model,” Applied Energy (2017) 203:959–971.
  • D. Humbird, A. Trendewicz, R. Braun, and A. Dutta, “One-Dimensional Biomass Fast Pyrolysis Model with Reaction Kinetics Integrated in an Aspen Plus Biorefinery Process Model,” ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Energy (2017) 5(3):2463-2470.
  • G.Anyenya, B. Haun, M. Daubenspeck, R. J. Braun, N.P. Sullivan, “Experimental Testing of a Novel kW-scale Multi-stack SOFC Assembly for CHP,” ASME Journal of Electrochemical Energy Conversion & Storage (2016) 13:041001.
  • C.H. Wendel, R.J. Braun, “Design and techno-economic analysis of high efficiency reversible solid oxide cell systems for distributed energy storage,” Applied Energy (2016) 172:118–131.
  • K.J. Albrecht, G.S. Jackson, R.J. Braun, “Thermodynamically consistent modeling of redox-stable perovskite oxides for thermochemical energy conversion and storage,” Applied Energy (2016) 165:285–296.
  • K.J. Albrecht, R.J. Braun, “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,” J. Power Sources (2016) 304:402–408.
  • K.J. Albrecht, R.J. Braun, “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,” J. Power Sources (2016) 304:384–401.
  • C.H. Wendel, P. Kazempoor, R.J. Braun, “A thermodynamic approach for selecting operating conditions in the design of reversible solid oxide cell energy systems,” J. Power Sources (2016) 301:93–104.
  • S.H. Jensen, C. Graves, M. Mogensen, C. Wendel, R. Braun, G. Hughes, Z. Gao, S.A. Barnett, “Large-scale electricity storage utilizing reversible solid oxide cells combined with underground storage of CO2 and CH4,” Energy Environ. Sci. (2015) 8:2471.
  • A.Trendewicz, R. Evans, A. Dutta, R. Sykes, D. Carpenter, R. Braun, “Evaluating the effect of potassium on cellulose pyrolysis reaction kinetics,” Biomass & Bioenergy (2015) 74:15–25.
  • C.H. Wendel, Z. Ghao, S.A. Barnett, R.J. Braun, “Modeling and experimental performance of an intermediate temperature reversible solid oxide cell for high-efficiency, distributed-scale electrical energy storage,” J. Power Sources (2015) 283:329–342.
  • P. Kazempoor and R.J. Braun, “Hydrogen and synthetic fuel production using high temperature solid oxide electrolysis cells (SOECs),” Int. J. Hydrogen Energy (2015) 40:3599–3612.
  • C. Wendel, P. Kazempoor, and R.J. Braun, “Novel electrical energy storage system based on reversible solid oxide cells: System design and operating conditions,” J. Power Sources (2015) 276:133–144.
  • A. Trendewicz, R. Braun, A. Dutta, J. Ziegler, “One dimensional steady-state circulating fluidized-bed reactor model for biomass fast pyrolysis,” Fuel (2014) 133:253–262.
  • P. Kazempoor and R.J. Braun, “Model validation and performance analysis of regenerative solid oxide cells for energy storage applications: Reversible operation,” Int. J. Hydrogen Energy (2014) 39:5955–5971.
  • P. Kazempoor and R.J. Braun, “Model validation and performance analysis of regenerative solid oxide cells: Electrolytic operation,” Int. J. Hydrogen Energy (2014) 39:2669–2684.
  • N.P. Lumley, D.F. Ramey, A.L. Prieto, R.J. Braun, T.Y. Cath, J.M. Porter, “Techno-economic analysis of wastewater sludge gasification: A decentralized urban perspective,” Bioresource Technology (2014) 161:385–394.
  • K. Pruitt, A. Newman, S. Leyffer, and R.J. Braun, “A Mixed-Integer Nonlinear Program for the Optimal Design and Dispatch of Distributed Generation Systems,” Optim Eng (2014) 15:167–197.
  • A. Trendewicz, R.J. Braun, “Techno-economic analysis of solid oxide fuel cell-based combined heat and power systems for biogas utilization at wastewater treatment facilities,” Journal of Power Sources (2013) 233:380–393.
  • K. Pruitt, R.J. Braun, and A. Newman, “Evaluating Shortfalls In Mixed-Integer Programming Approaches for the Optimal Design and Dispatch Of Distributed Generation Systems,” Applied Energy (2013) 102:386–398.
  • W.L. Becker, R.J. Braun, M. Melaina, and M. Penev, “Production of Fischer-Tropsch Liquid Fuels from High Temperature Solid Oxide Co-Electrolysis Units,” Energy (2012) 47:99–115.
  • R.J. Braun, S. Kameswaran, J. Yamanis, and E. Sun, “Highly efficient IGFC hybrid power systems employing bottoming organic rankine cycles with optional carbon capture,” ASME J. Engineering for Gas Turbines and Power (2012) 134:012801.
  • W.L. Becker, R.J. Braun, M. Melaina, and M. Penev, “Design and Technoeconomic Performance Analysis of a 1 MW SOFC Polygeneration System for the Combined Production of Heat, Hydrogen, and Power,” J. Power Sources (2012) 200:34–44.

Recent Courses

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