“Toward a Sustainable Energy Future: Improving Efficiency of Fuel Utilization”
John Abraham, Purdue University
A multipronged approach is required in pursuing the goal of a sustainable energy future. Renewable energy and energy conservation, which includes more efficient use of fossil fuels, are both part of the solution. About four-fifths of the world’s energy needs are currently met by fossil fuels, and fossil fuels will likely remain an important source of energy for the foreseeable future. Improving the efficiency of their utilization will have an immediate impact on energy use and carbon emissions. I will discuss some of my recent work in improving the efficiency of fossil fuel energy conversion. This part of my talk will include a discussion of fundamental studies of liquid fuel atomization and vaporization, fuel/air mixing, fuel chemistry, turbulence/chemistry interactions and the mechanisms for the formation of pollutants. Some of my work on biodiesel and hydrogen fuel utilization will also be integrated into the discussion. I will then discuss how research in the fluid and thermal sciences can address some aspects of the technical challenges in the pursuit of a sustainable energy future. There is an urgent need for a strong interdisciplinary emphasis, with industrial participation, in addressing energy and environmental challenges, and successful technical solutions will be provided by interdisciplinary teams.
John Abraham received his PhD from the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University in 1986. Prior to joining the School of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue in 1996, he was a research staff member at Princeton University, a senior engineer at John Deere Technologies International, and the Richard and Barbara Nelson Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Minnesota. His research interests include combustion, fuels, multiphase flows, multiscale flows and computational fluid dynamics. His work has led to three patents, 89 archival publications and over 115 additional publications in conference proceedings. His work has been funded by industry and government agencies. He has collaborated extensively with industry and at the Los Alamos, Sandia at Livermore and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories. He has also been a consultant to several engine companies, and he has given several invited talks at U.S. and international institutions and conferences. Dr. Abraham is a fellow of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), and he has won the Lloyd L. Withrow Distinguished Speaker award from the SAE and the Harry Solberg Best Teacher award at Purdue. He is an associate editor of Combustion Science and Technology and an advisory board member of the Central States Section of the Combustion Institute. He is also a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the American Physical Society, and he is a senior member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.