In the face of an impending energy crisis, the Advanced Power Systems research center is exploring alternative energy sources that will help mitigate the economic ramification of increased oil prices that are expected in coming years. The focus is on Alternative Energy Sources such as biofuels, fuel cells, and wind turbines. The most immediately feasible alternative energy source is biofuels. With decades of expertise and numerous innovative engine research labs, the APS group is well-equipped to devise the necessary modifications to IC engines that will allow them to run on high mix biofuel, which will improve efficiency and reduce emissions without sacrificing torque, fuel economy, or smooth vehicle operation.
The group also focuses on Energy System Optimization to ensure efficient use of future fuel supplies. Thermal-fluid experts are working to characterize two-phase flows in heat exchangers, enhance flows in fuel cells, and to develop methods and technologies that will allow the utilization of gasified natural material in power generation systems. Researchers are also investigating ways to optimize the flow of air across wind turbines in order to increase productivity. By investigating current and emerging technologies, the group is bridging the gap between today's fossil fuel economy and a multi-source economy that promises a more stable and sustainable future.