Skip to content Skip to navigation

Research Theme - Energy

Addressing the Uncertain Future of Energy

Improved efficiency of energy systems and development of sustainable, low-carbon-emission energy generation processes are essential for the long-term health of the environment.

Recent increases in energy prices provide a graphic reminder of the importance of energy to our economy and our quality of life. Most of our endeavors—economic, social and societal—are fueled by a near-transparent infrastructure of relatively inexpensive, highly reliable and easily accessible energy.  However, the traditional model—one based on plentiful, inexpensive fossil fuels—will not carry us past the middle of the century.

In the Mechanical Engineering Department at Stanford University, we recognize that developing sustainable energy systems requires efforts in multiple disciplines and by large teams of faculty and students. It will require that we identify attractive fuel sources and that we develop the technologies required to use those sources in efficient, environmentally benign ways. Many ME faculty are focused on advanced energy carrier technologies and energy conversion devices such as fuel cells, hydrogen storage systems, hybrid transportation and power systems, as well as "smart" ways of accomplishing chemical-to-work energy conversion.

Energy Faculty

Faculty in the Thermosciences and Flow Physics & Computational Engineering Groups have a long tradition of experimental and simulation leadership for energy systems. These efforts include a world-leading set of laboratories for the study of reacting flows and combustion processes including a massive engine laboratory and shock tube facility. Our laboratories also include facilities to study clean-coal energy  conversion, thermoelectric energy conversion for waste-heat recovery, and fuel cell devices and systems. Our faculty are at the forefront of computational engineering of advanced energy conversion processes, and have led the way in the use of parallel computing and the development of strategies for handling multi-physics energy transport and conversion phenomena. These activities, as a group, provide compelling simulations and data for systems such as fuel cells, thermoelectrics, clean coal and high-efficiency gas turbine engines. In the Design and Mechanics & Computation Groups, faculty are studying the basic materials physics for novel energy conversion systems including solid oxide and PEM fuel cells.

Multi-Disciplinary Solutions are Required

These developments will take place both within the traditional boundaries of mechanical engineering and at the boundaries where ME intersects with material science (such as  membranes), electrical engineering (sensors, actuators and controls), biology (biosynthesis of fuels) and other fields. Our current, highly diverse approach to research positions us well to contribute to this rapidly changing landscape.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016 -
09:30 to 11:30
The Atrium, Building 550

Free and open to the public

More than 100 brilliant STUDENT MAKERS from the Product Realization Lab present their AMAZING fall quarter projects! Products include innovations in sports equipment, consumer goods, education and health devices, agricultural tools, and MORE!

Thursday, October 29, 2015 -
19:00 to 20:00
Peterson Building 550, 416 Escondido Mall, Stanford University

Free and open to the public

32 million disaster victims are made homeless each year. REACTION is making portable, stackable, connectable, transportable, recyclable temporary homes for them. And they’ve raised $11M+ in seed and venture funds to do it.  Hear their off-the-record account of how REACTION is transforming disaster shelter response.
Speakers: Michael McDaniel, the CEO and Founder of REACTION, was formerly with Frog Design. Mariel Lanas, BS ’13 (Product Design) MS ’15 (Mechanical Engineering, is the Design Engineer at REACTION ans was formerly at Apple and Driptech. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015 -
16:00 to 16:45
Paul G. Allen Building,420 Via Palou Mall

Space is limited.  RSVP to Jim Chen, if you would like to attend.

The Porsche 919 Hybrid is the brand's most complex and efficient race car to date.  Competing as a Class 1 Le Mans Prototype (LMP1) in the FIA World Endurance Championship, the 919 Hybrid acts as a running research laboratory for future sports car technology.  After a 16-year absence, Porsche returned to endurance racing in 2014.

Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Professor, Mechanical Engineering
Tuesday, February 10, 2015 -
19:00 to 20:00
The Atrium, Peterson Building 550

Free and open to the public.

Erica Estrada-Liou is a master at developing brilliant solutions that transform the lives of the least fortunate. In her one-hour Meet the Maker session, Estrada-Liou will give her inside view of how “design engineering” can tackle some seemingly intractable challenges in underserved communities.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Kenneth Goodson, the Bosch Mechanical Engineering Department Chairman and Davies Family Provostial Professor, has received the Semiconductor Research Corporation’s Technical Excellence Award for his work studying heat transfer in electronic nanostructures and packaging, microfluidic heat sinks, and thermoelectric and photonic energy conversion devices.

Friday, August 29, 2014 -
12:00 to 13:00
Huang Courtyard (Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center Courtyard, 475 Via Ortega) on Friday, August 29th, 2014
The 2014 Stanford Undergraduate Research Institute (SURI) Poster Session was held in the Huang Courtyard (Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center Courtyard, 475 Via Ortega) on Friday, August 29th, 2014, from noon to 1 p.m.  Every year the posters have been getting more awesome, and this year was no exception.  This year's event was larger than ever, as we hit the 85-student mark for the first time.
Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering
(650) 736-8953
Professor of Mechanical Engineering
(650) 497-0433
Lester Levi Carter Professor of Chemical Engineering
Professor of Mechanical Engineering
(650) 723-3764


Subscribe to RSS - Research Theme - Energy