Michael Keane, a 3rd year PhD student in the Chemical Engineering Program, has received a highly prestigious Connecticut Space Grant Consortium fellowship award to continue his research in the field of high temperature solid state electrochemical device and systems development. Potential applications include life support (oxygen generation) and resource utilization (power generation and fuel production) for International Space Station and missions to Mars. The CT Space Grant Consortium, an organization that promotes aerospace-related research at universities across Connecticut in collaboration with NASA, selected the project after competitive peer review and selection process. The research proposal includes the development, design, testing, and evaluation of high temperature solid state electrochemical systems (600-800°C) that can operate efficiently in both fuel cell and electrolysis mode utilizing thermal energy available on board from solar cells. The novel architecture will include light weight electrochemical cells comprised of bi-electrolyte supported structure and highly active electrodes. Major focus of the research will be increasing the energy density and performance stability of these devices for improvements in payload capacity, mission endurance, and energy savings for NASA’s manned space missions.
Michael works with Professor Prabhakar Singh at the Center for Clean Energy Engineering (C2E2) and conducts research in the area of electrochemical materials development with focus on electrodics, fluorite and perovskite based electrode materials and interfacial degradation. Michael received a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering (summa cum laude) from the University of Maine in 2009. He served as an intern at ConocoPhillips Technology Center (Bartlesville) in 2011. He is a member of ACerS, AIST, ASM International, and TMS. He has presented his research work at ICACC 2011 and 2012 and MST 2011.