Associate Professor Asegun Henry's new design stores excess heat generated by solar or wind power as white-hot molten silicon, and then converts the light from the glowing metal back into electricity on demand.
Faculty in MIT's Department of Mechanical Engineering are developing technologies that store, capture, convert, and minimize greenhouse gas emissions using a variety of approaches.
Researchers across MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering are racing to develop energy conversion and storage technologies from renewable sources such as wind, wave, solar, and thermal.
MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (MIT)M.S.
MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (MIT)Ph.D.
Novel energy system concepts that help to mitigate the effects of climate change, including solar energy, energy storage, and transportation. Concepts currently under development include thermal energy grid storage using multi-junction photovoltaics (TEGS-MPV), high temperature concentrated solar power (CSP) using liquid metals or molten salts, ceramic/refractory based fluid handling infrastructures, high temperature thermochemical energy conversion and reactor design, methane pyrolysis for hydrogen production, solar fuels, direct contact heat exchangers; Atomistic level modeling to study the fundamental physics of phonon transport in ordered materials, disordered materials, molecules and at interfaces; Molecular dynamics (MD) simulations, supercell lattice dynamics calculations, first principles calculations, density functional theory (DFT), interatomic potentials optimized for describing phonons directly from first principles, Taylor expansion based potentials and neural network potentials.
Dr. Asegun Henry started as an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at MIT in 2018, where he directs the Atomistic Simulation & Energy (ASE) Research Group. Prior to MIT, he was an Assistant professor in the Woodruff school of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech from 2012 to 2018. He holds a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Florida A & M University as well as a M.S. and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from MIT. Professor Henry’s primary research is in heat transfer, with an emphasis on understanding the science of energy transport, storage and conversion at the atomic level, along with the development of new industrial scale energy technologies to mitigate climate change. After finishing his Ph.D. he worked as a postdoc in the Materials Theory group at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and then as postdoc in the Materials Science Department at Northwestern University. After Northwestern, he worked as a fellow in the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E), where he focused on identifying new program areas, such as higher efficiency and lower cost energy capture, conversion and storage. Professor Henry has made significant advances and contributions to several fields within energy and heat transfer, namely: solar fuels and thermochemistry, phonon transport in disordered materials, phonon transport at interfaces, and he has developed the highest temperature pump on record, which used an all-ceramic mechanical pump, to pump liquid metal above 1400°C. This technological breakthrough, which is now in the Guinness Book of World Records, has opened the door for new high temperature energy systems concepts, such as methane cracking for CO2 free hydrogen production and a new grid level energy storage approach affectionately known as “Sun in a Box”, that is projected to be cheaper than pumped hydro. Professor Henry has also been the recipient of a number of awards including: the National Science Foundation Career Award, the Lockheed Inspirational Young Faculty Award, the Georgia Power Professor of Excellence Award, the ASME Bergles-Rohsenow Young Investigator Award in Heat Transfer and he was the winner of the 2018 World Technology Award for Energy. He has also been awarded a number of fellowships including an MIT Lemelson Presidential Fellowship, a Department of Energy Computational Science Graduate Fellowship, a UNCF-Merck Postdoctoral Fellowship and a Ford Foundation postdoctoral Fellowship.
2.005 Thermal Fluids Engineering
2.55 Advanced Heat and Mass Transfer.