Thermal Fluid and Energy Systems

The Thermal Fluid and Energy Systems group seeks to understand the impact of fundamental thermodynamic, heat transport and fluid mechanic phenomena in a range of engineered systems. Our research includes a diverse array of experimental and numerical simulation work to solve problems related to energy storage, conversion and utilization; the energy-water-CO2 nexus; and chemical processing applications. Core thrust areas include energy storage and conversion, environmental processes and energy efficiency, and sustainable transportation and fuels.

Faculty in Thermal Fluid and Energy Systems

Gregory Bogin Jr.

Research Group:
SPARX (Simulation of Multi-Physics and Analysis of Reacting Flows and Explosions)

  • Experimental validation of kinetic ignition models for diesel and biodiesel model compounds
  • Computational fluid dynamics modeling for underground mines
  • Computational fluid dynamics modeling of fuels for advanced combustion engines (FACE fuels) in internal combustion engines


Robert Braun

Research Group: Advanced Energy Systems

  • High-temperature fuel cells (solid oxide and protonic ceramics)
  • Electrolyzers for hydrogen and synthetic fuel production
  • Reversible fuel cell systems for energy storage
  • Advanced power cycles, including supercritical CO2 Brayton cycles
  • Thermal and thermochemical energy storage
  • Concentrating solar power

Steven DeCaluwe

Research Group: CORES (Colorado Reacting Flows, Electrochemistry and Surface Science)

  • Simultaneous consideration of reacting flows, electrochemistry, and surface science to understand and improve clean energy and clean water devices
  • Combination of operando measurements and numerical simulations to understand:
    • The influence of conductive polymer microstructure and distribution in polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells
    • Degradation in Li-ion batteries via growth and evolution of the solid electrolyte interphase (SEI)
    • The impact of novel chemistries in advanced “beyond Li-ion” batteries, including lithium-sulfur, lithium-O2, and silicon anodes
    • Degradation due to mineral scaling in water desalination systems

Greg Jackson

Research Group: Jackson Research Group

  • High-temperature thermal and thermochemical energy storage
  • Solid oxide electrochemical cells, materials and systems
  • High-temperature catalysis
  • Reactive flow modeling for heterogeneous processes

Robert Kee


  • Modeling and simulation of thermal and chemically reacting fluid flow with applications to combustion, electochemistry and materials manufacturing
  • Clean energy, including fuel cells, photovoltaics and advanced combustion
  • Catalytic-combustion and water-mist flame suppression
  • Design, optimization and control of chemical-vapor-deposition processes with applications ranging from thin-film photovoltaics to CMOS semiconductor devices

Jason Porter

Research Group: Mines Optical Diagnostics for Energy Systems (MODES) Lab

  • Infrared operando measurements of electrolyte performance in rechargeable batteries
  • Laser-based imaging of diesel spray atomization
  • Measuring and modeling heat transfer in fiber blanket insulation
  • Real-time optical diagnostics for manufacturing electrochemical devices

Neal Sullivan

Research Group: Colorado Fuel Cell Center

  • Experimental characterization of ceramic electrochemical devices
    • Solid-oxide fuel cells for efficient electricity generation
    • Electrolyzers for hydrogen production and energy storage
    • Electro-catalysis for fuels synthesis
  • Scale up of next-generation materials for solid-oxide fuel cells
  • Integrated kW-scale fuel-cell systems

Paulo Cesar Tabares-Velasco

Research Group: Building Thermal Systems Group

  • Building and campus level energy simulation and optimization
  • Thermal energy storage
  • Green roofs
  • Heat transfer applied to buildings
  • Integrating buildings with the smart grid

    Nils Tilton

    Research Group: Computational Fluid Dynamics Group

    • Theoretical and computational fluid mechanics with an emphasis on hydrodynamic stability and flow through porous media
    • Analytical and numerical models of membrane filtration, carbon dioxide sequestration and flow control for drag reduction
    • Numerical modeling using spectral, fractional step and multi-domain methods
    • Analytical modeling using perturbation methods and volume-averaged models of flow through porous media