Renewable Energy Resources Laboratory

About RERL

Renewable Energy Resources Laboratory (RERL) is located at 3107 Engineering Gateway in the UC Irvine. It was established in 2006 with research focuses on fuel cell, new battery, hydrogen storage, advanced heat transfer, and other renewable energy, as well as new materials and nano-structured surfaces for energy application. RERL currently hosts a few state-of-the-art experimental and computational facilities to characterize interface, nano-structure, energy conversion, and heat transfer, and evaluate new material performance and advanced fabrication methods. In past years, the Lab has developed advanced modeling and numerical tools for scientifically based design and controls; new fundamental understanding of reaction interface performance; and advanced heat transfer devices for new energy. Please read RERL lab rule, basic setting, and equipment (internal use only)

Research Activities

1). Coupling of ion transport, fluid flow, and electrochemistry in electrochemical power & storage, including fuel cells, batteries, and hydride beds 

2). Complex multiphase flow, species transport, shockwaves, and heat transfer 

3). Advanced modeling: multi-D formulation, stochastic modeling, VOF (volume of fluid) simulation, and direct numerical simulation;

4). Large-scale parallel computation of fluid flows and electrochemically coupled transport problems (e.g. >25 million gridpoints)

5). Surface treatment & new material using emerging techniques; Material characterization using Optical, SEM, Xray, Neutron Imaging, and TEM;

6). Advanced cooling for high-power systems, fuel cells and CPUs; Efficient cooling for human bodies, e.g. brain and muscles;

7). State of the art experimental diagnostics & testing: microfluidics, heat transfer, and electrochemical systems.

8.) Plasma/shockwave capturing using 3-D computational method for LIBS; and material characterization/quantification using LIBS technology

9.) Battery voltage and lifetime prediction, and battery’s species transport relevant to health 

10.) MD study of oxygen transport at reaction interface and water

***Projects and Achievements

a. Develop a 3-D multiphase flow model for MPLs and GDLs of PEM fuel cells and validate against 3-D neutron imaging data;

b. Develop theories for two-phase flow in fuel cell’s gas flow channels, including droplet dynamics and two-phase flow, along with experimental, imaging, and theory validation;

c. Develop advanced cooling & heat transfer devices for fuel cells and Li-ion battery;

d. Develop membraneless desalination microbial fuel cells (with Prof. Jiang);

e. Develop fundamentals regarding thin-film formation and impacts in Li-air batteries;

f. Develop 3-D flow battery theory and model & validate with experimental data.

h. Apply LIBS for water vapor, Nafion, and Pt quantification.  

i. First propose the concept of porous media flow fields for fuel cells (used in Toyota Mirai).

j. Develop highly efficient cooling film and 24 hr ~1 W portable power generator. 

           Facilities (major equipment)

Comprehensive Electrochemical Test Units

Professional Vacuum Chamber and Environmental Chamber (humid environmental);

Mass Flow, Temperature, and Humid Control Units;

Surface Treatment and Thin Layer Fabrication Units;

Frequency Response Analyzer (0.01-100,000 Hz);

NI Data Acquisition and Pressure/Temperature Sensors; High Resolution Microscopies with Camera (>3); Parallel Computation Cluster (48 parallel job); Electrolysis Chamber and Hydrogen Storage Chamber; Microfluidic Pump; Press (max: 20 tons) and Micro-gram Scale; High Temperature Furnaces; Experimental-Scale Wind Turbine and Tunnel; High-Precision Magnetic Controller; 

Thermal Conductivity Measurement Unit; Vacuum Furnace; Scientific Lab Microwave


Director: Prof. Yun Wang

Research Scientist: Girija Thesma Chandran (female), Sung Chan Cho, Qin Chen, Lanying Xu (female)

Graduates: Bongjin Seo, Daniela Fernanda Ruiz Diaz, Pengjie Tian, Yanfeng Hai, Yihen Pang, Dongyang Li, Peixin He, Jeff Mishler, Sung Chan Cho, James Lewis, Yuan Hao,  Jingtian Wu, Xavier Cordobes Adroher, Liem Pham, Mehernosh Gundevia, Amine Abdellah-el-hadj, Limiao Wang, Yajing Sui,  Liuyi Yang, Xu Zheng, Xu Huang, Bo Zheng,  Jixin Chen, Xuhui Feng, Zhiqiang Nio, Guobin Zhang, Zhiming Bao, Linhao Fan, Jieyang Zhou.

Undergraduates: Yu Hua Tseng; Guilherme Porto Vasconcellos; Runqi Wang, Runlin Wang, Qihao Liu, Xu Zheng, Alex Liu, Xiaoqian Wang, Jian Wang, Titian Lu, Chih-I Cheng (female), Guohao Liu, Yuzhou Shen, Ye Tian, Junfeng Wu, Shennan Fei (female), Haoli He….

High-school students: Keven Ni (2009 summer, admit to UC Berkeley);  Vanessa Mechem (2016 summer, admit to Caltech)