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  • Fuel Cell Research Attracted Ph.D. Student Kyle Grew

Fuel Cell Research Attracted Ph.D. Student Kyle Grew

Graduate student Kyle Grew, a native of the farm belt state of Ohio, came to UConn in 2005 to pursue his doctoral studies after earning his B.S. in mechanical engineering at the University of Dayton, OH.

Reason for Coming to UConn:
“While finishing up my B.S. degree, I was becoming interested in advanced energy systems (fuel cells, in particular) and looking to continue with my education. My department chair at U-Dayton and I identified some schools that were doing strong work in this area. Obviously, this list included UConn. After applying to UConn, I was asked to come for a visit. I met a number of faculty members and saw the work/research that was going on in their respective labs. I found that I really liked how personable the faculty were, their approach to the graduate experience/program, the research that they were doing, and their own interest in – and excitement for – that research. That really sold me on UConn, and it was an easy selection from that point on.”

Research Focus:
Under faculty advisor Wilson Chiu, Kyle is studying the optimization of solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) anode microstructures. SOFCs are made of solid-state materials. Since they operate at high temperatures, 650-800° C, SOFCs can use a wide variety of fuel stocks and operate without the need for a costly catalyst. “I am studying the various transport mechanisms – such as mass, electronic charge and ionic charge – and reaction/interaction mechanisms (i.e., electrochemical oxidation reactions) at the pore scale level. This involves trying to develop computational models to achieve a pore-level understanding of these processes in the state-of-the-art SOFC, and then designing microstructures that are feasible to manufacture and that minimize efficiency/power losses associated with the described transport mechanisms.” Kyle’s project is funded by both the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship program and the Army Research Office.

Observations:
“I have learned so much, both while working on my thesis project and while in the classroom. There is a lot of expertise within the school’s faculty and it is a privilege to have the opportunity to learn from them. It can be a bit stressful at times, but it is very much worth it in terms of the experience, knowledge and skills that I am developing. I have been grateful for the opportunity to have such a great graduate experience thus far.”

The Future:
Kyle is interested in an academic career or possibly working in a national or government lab where he can continue to pursue his research interests in advanced energy systems.

During his free moments, Kyle enjoys playing, or watching, sports of every stripe, from golf and football to soccer.