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


  • 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 74 (2015), pp15-25.
  • 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, 283 (2015) 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 40 (2015) 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 276 (2015) 133-144.
  • A. Trendewicz, R. Braun, A. Dutta, J. Ziegler, “One dimensional steady-state circulating fluidized-bed reactor model for biomass fast pyrolysis,” Fuel 133 (2014) 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. of Hydrogen Energy 39 (2014) 5955-5971.
  • P. Kazempoor and R.J. Braun*, “Model validation and performance analysis of regenerative solid oxide cells: Electrolytic operation,” Int J Hydrogen Energy 39 (2014) 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 161 (2014) 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 233 (2013) 380-393.
  • 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 47 (2012) 99-115.
  • 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 102 (2013) 386–398.
  • 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, Vol. 134 / 012801 February (2012).
  • 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, 200 (2012) 34-44.

Recent Courses

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