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Summer 2015 UROP Scholar – Aline Resende

Christopher Hicks tech equipment

Graduate Student Researcher – Christopher Hicks

February 8, 2016 Comments (0) Feature Articles

Graduate Student Researcher – Danielle Nobles-Lookingbill

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What achievements and/or successes have resulted from participating in this EPSCoR program?

NSF EPSCoR Solar Energy-Water-Environment NEXUS in Nevada has provided me the opportunity be a part of an innovative, environmentally forward research team, while pursuing my life goal of being a Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering. Due to the support of the EPSCoR program, I am not only a first generation university graduate, but am both the first in my family to soon achieve a doctoral degree and a part of a research team that is striving to create a cleaner tomorrow. 

What is your greatest research achievement?

The most exciting aspect of my role in the NSF EPSCoR Solar NEXUS in Nevada research project is that we are both creating new and integrating a medley of newer technologies to establish a method for using concentrated solar irradiance with a closed loop supercritical carbon dioxide Brayton cycle to generate more efficient, clean energy with a smaller environmental and geographical footprint.  Our system is currently achieving concentration ratios of over 220 suns, providing experimental receiver temperatures over 950 C in less than five minutes. This means that we are able to provide a significant, clean heat source for our system, and that the receiver we engineered will withstand the high temperatures and high fluxes provided by the Nevada sun.

We are also working on machining the turbine/compressor/generator unit we have designed, collaborating with the cyber infrastructure sector of the Solar NEXUS project for data share, as well as collaborating with Xi’an Jiaotong University, China, to integrate their high temperature supercritical carbon dioxide heat exchanger as a recuperator, which we expect will increase the efficiency of our system.  Integrating new designs we have engineered with technologies generated from current research around the world is very exciting.

Why Nevada or UNLV?

Southern Nevada is perfect for solar energy research, among other environmentally grounded research within the Solar NEXUS project provided by EPSCoR. Less well known is that in the midst of the desert sun and the Las Vegas lights, UNLV also provides a genuine sense of community.  There is a real focus on community outreach embedded within the EPSCoR research team at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas that I am proud to be an active part of. I believe we do not only affect our community by our research, but also by engaging younger generations and encouraging them to continue the journey.  

Share something about yourself that you won’t find on your resume.

As odd as it may sound based on my passion for solar energy research, I would much rather play in the snow than lay on a beach.  My husband and I went so far as to postpone our honeymoon six months to take an amazing snowboarding vacation during the best part of snow season.  There is no more beautiful view of the world than from the top of a snow covered mountain.

Is there anything you would like to add?

I am extremely grateful for the opportunities the EPSCoR program has provided me, and am honored to be a part of the Solar NEXUS Nevada research team. I could not possibly thank you enough for supporting our ability to conduct great research at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

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