Dr. Kazempoor Receives $1.8 M+ Grant for Natural Gas Project

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In January, Dr. Pejman Kazempoor received a grant to start work on his natural gas project titled, “Low-Cost Retrofit Kit for Integral Reciprocating Compressors (IRCs) to Reduce Emissions and Enhance Efficiency.” This new retrofit technology—consisting of a combustion optimizer integrated sensors, and a cloud-connected control system—will significantly reduce emissions (i.e., methane and volatile organic compounds), improve operating efficiency, and reduce operating costs for existing IRCs used in production, gathering, transmission, and processing sections of the natural gas industry. This project received a DOE Funding of $1,488,391 plus $394,751 of Non-DOE Funding; and will be done over the course of 3 years.

Dr. Pejman Kazempoor, Dr. Hamid Shabgard, and Dr. Ramkumar Parthasarathy are the three professors involved in the project from the School of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering. Dr. Sridhar Radhakrishnan, a professor from the School of Computer Science, is also involved in the project. Industry partners include WAGO Automation and Mid-Continent Rental.

According to Kazempoor and his research team, they, “expect to decrease emissions significantly from the production sector of the oil and gas industry.” The production sector accounts for 72% of the total methane emissions from the oil and natural gas industry (EPA, 2017).

Dr. Kazempoor will be collaborating with Dr. Radhakrishnan and WAGO automation to create a cloud-connected remote monitoring tool. Since the parameters to reduce emissions constitute true evidence of the IRC’s healthy operation, the cloud-connected feature facilitates remote monitoring of the IRC for preventative and predictive maintenance as an additional benefit to operators.

Dr. Kazempoor will be working on the project in his Energy Sustainability Center here at OU. He said, “The oil and natural gas industry has a direct economic impact on the state of Oklahoma. It’s a great opportunity to help our state and nation by solving the oil and natural gas industry problems, in this case, emissions.” Dr. Kazempoor said an aspect of this project he really enjoys is that they’re using advanced techniques, such as artificial intelligence, to modernize and enhance the safety and efficiency of the Nation’s natural gas infrastructure.

Three graduate students, who will use parts of the project work in their doctoral dissertations/master’s theses, will assist the principal investigators. “They are helping us to modernize what we have now in the field to the current standards. For example, a modern car has many sophisticated technologies. IRCs have been utilized in the oil and gas industry for 130 years, so they ‘re trying to integrate new technology into those old engines to make them more efficient.”

One graduate student will work on the Computational Fluid Dynamics, another on sensors, and the third graduate student will work on monitoring tools. Two undergraduate students will assist graduate students. Additionally, a technician will be hired to work on the retrofit kit manufacture and installation in the field.

 

Dr. Song collaborates with OG&E to bring you smarter HVAC systems

The following article was released by OG&E in a recent newsletter. Are you smarter than your HVAC? In the near future, it may be a toss-up

If University of Oklahoma College of Engineering professor Li Song and OG&E Supervisor of Customer Support Jessica King have their way, your HVAC system soon will be smarter than you are – at least when it comes to energy management.

Song, an associate professor in the School of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, and her colleague Choon Yik Tang, with the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, have been working for the last five years to create a “smart” heating and cooling system that helps customers be more informed about their energy consumption and ultimately their energy bill.

Much of the success they’ve had so far is due to the partnership between OU and OG&E – and the relationship the two women have formed during the project.

Song’s original intention was to design for large, commercial buildings and reached out to Pat Saxton, Expert Account Manager for OG&E, who was working with Tinker Air Force Base. Song discovered the model for commercial buildings was “too cumbersome” to test outside of the lab and decided to use it for homeowners instead.

“Pat introduced me to Jessica, who gave me a perspective on what OG&E was doing with its SmartHours program and the company’s interest in helping make customers smarter energy consumers,” Song said.

Song is also working with Ecobee to put the smart HVAC technology in their thermostats. OG&E also is working with Ecobee to pilot their thermostats in 700 test homes, using the existing thermostat technology.

The new technology goes beyond the typical SmartTemp thermostats currently used in the SmartHours program in that it learns factors, such as humidity and air flow, within the home, customer energy consumption preferences and the performance of the HVAC system. It also takes into account outside factors such as temperature, wind speed, sunlight, weather forecasting and the cost of electricity during certain times of the day.

The technology also provides ahead-of-time forecasting so that customers know what their costs will be if they adjust their thermostat up or down.

Customers can control and monitor their thermostats using a smart phone app.

“We envision that customers in the future will receive personalized information about their home, their energy costs and their own energy consumption and will know it ahead of time or in real time,” King said. “In other words, they won’t be left in the dark about what their end bill will be.”

King assisted Song by writing letters in support of the project that were included in the application to get funding from the Department of Energy.

“After the success of SmartHours, we were asking ourselves ‘what’s next?’” King said. “And here was this great opportunity to support our local university and further our vision of being a trusted energy advisor for our customers.”

Song and her research team are now undertaking a two-year program to test the technology in an unoccupied home on the OU campus.

“We want complete control in these initial tests but will simulate the moisture, heat and other factors created by residents.”

In the third year, OG&E will recruit about 10 customers to participate as occupied test homes and, following this pilot, will expand the program to more homes.

Both women’s eyes light up when they talk about the technology and what it can do for OG&E customers.

“We envision expanding the technology to eventually all smart thermostats to give people more knowledge about how they use energy, what it costs and how small changes can impact their end bill,” Song said. “As well as helping predict the bill, the system will improve HVAC operations, detect AC problems earlier and possibly have an environmental impact as well.”

“The possibilities are endless,” King added. “We could work with home builders to create a true Positive Energy Home, and we’ve already formed a partnership with Ideal Homes to explore this possibility. Plus the data we get from the thermostats could help us target customers for energy efficiency programs, helping us provide energy assistance to those who need it most.”

Meet Dr. Kazempoor, an Assistant Professor new to the University of Oklahoma

Dr. Pejman Kazempoor started working at OU as an Assistant Professor in Mechanical Engineering at the beginning of this semester. Dr. Kazempoor’s research interests include driving sustainable performance in the Oil and Gas industry; process modeling, simulation, and optimization; natural gas transmission and processing; energy storage, fuel cells, and batteries; advanced sensor technologies; data analytics and machine learning.

Dr. Kazempoor believes that OU is a well-respected and comprehensive global university that has incredible diversity on campus. He also said that OU stands out as a leader in many sciences, engineering, and medical fields. It has been providing students with a world-class education for over 100 years. He said OU is also the leading arts and cultural center in the state of Oklahoma.

He’s looking forward to developing innovative and multi-disciplinary research projects related to the oil and gas industry. He is broadly interested in sustainable energy for the O&G industry with the main objectives to increase energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions.

Dr. Kazempoor is from the city of Isfahan located in central Iran. The city is renowned for its outstanding Islamic and Iranian architecture. The city was once one of the largest and most important cities in Central Asia. French poet Renier visited Isfahan for the first time; and called it “half of the World.”¹

Dr. Kazempoor enjoys fine arts especially Western and Native-American paintings and bronze sculptures. He was a marathon runner when he was younger, but now he enjoys more hiking, fishing, camping and spending time with his family and friends. Dr. Kazempoor also plays two traditional music instruments –Tar and Setar.

¹http://www.iranreview.org/content/Documents/Isfahan_Half_of_the_World.htm

Spring 2019 Capstone Poster Fair Highlights

Many projects from the Spring 2019 Capstone Fair made a lasting impact on the community. Each group did an amazing job of solving a real-world problem and presenting their poster project at the fair.

The highlighted groups from last semester’s Capstone fair include the the Iron Cross Experience, Introducing Girl Scouts to STEM project, the Electronics Assist Equipment project, the B-52 Spoiler Fixture Redesign, Sooner Off-Road, and groups that worked with Baker Hughes and Schlumberger.

The members of The Iron Cross Experience (pictured below), Jared Alex, Garrett Parkhurst, Bryan Boone, Covey Barlow, and Isaac Pryzant, were tasked with introducing patrons at the Science Museum Oklahoma to gymnastics with an interactive and educational exhibit. The project was added to the Science Museum this summer and patrons can use the interactive game to perform an iron cross. The group fully integrated electronics to provide an interactive experience, manufactured the X-Frame graphics stand to match aesthetic of the ring stand, displayed dynamic graphics and feedback for the user when interacting with the exhibit, and did troubleshooting and maintenance guide for the ring stand, electronic components, programming, and X-Frame.

The Electronics Assist Equipment members, Pranav Mohan, Ashley Medice, Gerald Lance, and David Carris (pictured below) were featured on KOCO 5 for their work with 11-year-old Christopher Ramirez, a young man who does not have use of his arms or legs due to a muscle disorder. The group created tools to help him independently read a textbook, use a computer, use a phone, and play Xbox games. They placed first in prototype design at the capstone poster fair.

Emma Hensley, Moises Martinez, Nicole Reed, and Dakota Walters were members of the “Introducing Girl Scouts to STEM” project (pictured below). The group worked closely with Girl Scouts to teach them about simple machines and women in engineering. They encouraged the involvement of Girl Scouts in STEM by creating an educational experience in the space provided that could be understood by all Girl Scouts of all knowledge bases. Through the creation of a dumbwaiter, they were able to teach the girls about how to discover, connect, and take action.

The “Setup to Evaluate Debris-Scrapper Ring Design” project (pictured below) placed second overall and received first place in experimental and testing. The team worked closely with Schlumberger to implement design and prototyping of experimental setup to reciprocate scraper rings to failure in a debris-laden fluid. Scraper rings were evaluated in dynamic high-pressure and temperature applications with varying concentrations of debris. The group successfully met the design requirements and all systems were integrated. The group members were Courtney Holloway, Nicholas Son, Alexander Nagy, Abel Rivera, and Haydn Kirkpatrick.

The “Test Bench for ESP Seal Section Permeability” project (pictured below) worked with BHGE and received second place in experimental and testing. This team worked with Baker Hughes to solve the problem of the contamination of motor oil. Well-bore fluids appeared to be contaminating motor oil within the bladder section. The group addressed the permeation through bladder materials, one of the possible causes of motor oil contamination. The team was able to address the concerns and create a prototype for the company. Group members were Logan Vitello, Travis Wilbanks, Ifeanyi Ijioma, Marshall Thorpe, and Logan Roys.

Sooner Off-Road (pictured below), had objectives to reduce the weight of the Sooner Off-Road vehicle by 50%, increase performance (acceleration and top speed), increase tunability (easier and more options), and decrease cost (in house manufacturing). They were able to decrease the weight from 8 pounds to 3.01 pounds, increase the acceleration from 5 sec/100ft to 4.5 sec/100ft, increase tunability through preload shims, and decrease cost from $2,200 to $250.

The B-52 Spoiler project group members (pictured below), were given the task to consolidate seven spoiler fixtures down to three or fewer fixtures. The assembly fixtures are used to assemble the metal structure and skin of the spoilers with proper alignment. This group exceeded the target objective and consolidated down to one fixture.

Sooner Off-Road (Matt Muhlinghause, Haley Ricks, and Devin Prochniak) and The B-52 Spoiler Fixture Redesign (Morgan Wolfe, Tyler Thibodeaux, Alexandra Arment, Roshan Mathews, and Alex Mudd) tied for first place overall!

More Capstone Details:
Complete list of the project awards with pictures
Day of Event Flickr Photo Album

BBDL Students Give Presentation at Moore Norman Technology Center

On March 14th and April 9th, Dr. Lee and students from the Biomechanics and Biomaterials Design Laboratory (BBDL) provided presentations to the Moore Norman Technology Center (MNTC) pre-engineering students.

These presentations provided the MNTC students with some insight into the regular week-to-week life of a college student, and the learning experiences that the BBDL students had throughout their college careers. They also emphasized how valuable undergraduate engineering is to personal/professional growth and how easily one can get involved. Additionally, the BBDL students talked about their ongoing work in cardiovascular and brain aneurysm biomechanics and how the basic engineering principles span a diverse array of applications.

Shell Fall Festival Gives Students an Opportunity to Get Involved in AME Organizations

Shell Fall Festival occurred in the engineering quad on August 23 where new and returning students had the opportunity to learn about several student organizations. Students also enjoyed a dunk tank and other carnival games, free hamburgers, snow cones and t-shirts, and networking opportunities with Shell and Schlumberger. Below are some of the student organizations that participated in the festival!

Sooner Rover Team is an OU Engineering competition team composed of Mechanical, Electrical, Aerospace, and Computer Engineers. The team designs, builds, and documents a rover for the University Rover Challenge competition.

Sooner Rover Team Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SoonerRover/

Sooner Rover Team Website: http://ou.edu/soonerrover/

Boomer Rocket Team is a group of multidisciplinary engineering students at the University of Oklahoma dedicated to the design, construction, and launch of high powered rockets.

Boomer Rocket Team Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/oubrt/

Boomer Rocket Team Website: brt.ou.edu

Sooner Off-Road is an organization that builds an off-road style vehicle for competition. During their competitions, engineering students are given a mission to design and build a vehicle that will survive the severe punishment of rough terrain and sometimes water.

Sooner Off-Road Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SoonerOffRoad/

Sooner Off-Road Website:  http://www.ou.edu/offroad/history.html

The Sooner Racing Team is a competition team at the University of Oklahoma. Their goal is to build a Formula SAE race car to participate in events across the United States and around the world. Teams are judged on criteria involving engineering design, material and manufacturing cost, marketing analysis, and final product performance and reliability.

Sooner Racing Team Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/soonerracingteam/

Sooner Racing Team Website: https://sae.ou.edu/

(Combined booth: AIAA and DBF Crimson Skies)

AIAA is the leading professional society for America’s aerospace engineers, offering its members exclusive industry news, business and academic relationships and entrance to national conferences. Through facility tours, technical discussions from industry personnel and AIAA sponsored design competitions the student members gain valuable relationships with and insight into their scientific field, their industrial community, and their engineering family.

AIAA Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OUAIAA/

DBF Crimson Skies is the University of Oklahoma Design/Build/Fly competition team. They design, fabricate, and test an R/C aircraft for the AIAA hosted Design Build Fly Competition.

DBF Crimson Skies Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DBFCrimsonSkies/

 

 

 

Dr. Hays and Students Place First in the American Radio Relay League RTTY Rookie Roundup

Aerospace engineering sophomore Jarrod Manning, data science masters student Jorge Garcia, and Dr. Hays placed first in ARRL’s (American Radio Relay League) RTTY rookie roundup competition on August 18th.

The students used the national weather center’s tri-band yagi antenna to make 50 contacts using RTTY (Baudot FSK digital mode). Contacts came from widely varying distances as close as Norman, and as far abroad as Belgium. The competition encourages new amateur radio operators that have earned their license within the previous three years to engage in antenna, propagation, and digital mode studies. ARRL is the primary amateur radio organization in the United States and sponsors many similar competitions throughout the year.

Graduate Student Alex Bryant is Hired by Lockheed Martin Skunkworks


Alex Bryant Skunkworks Lockheed Martin

Alex Bryant, a graduate student working towards his masters in Aerospace engineering, has been hired for a stability and control position at Lockheed’s Fort Worth, Texas Skunkworks group. Bryant will begin working for Lockheed Martin after graduation.

He will work as a stability and control engineer for approximately one year, at which point the company intends to move him into conceptual design for advanced programs.

 

“I’m looking forward to working on the cutting edge of the aerospace defense industry,” Bryant said. “Lockheed Martin ‘Skunkworks’ has been on the cutting edge of the aerospace world for over half a century now, and getting the opportunity to join their team in a role that suits my skill set is an incredible opportunity.”

 

Bryant said that he’s wanted to work for Lockheed since he was 12 years old. ‘Skunkworks’ was attached to every design he was interested in, and he says they’re the best at what they do.

 

“OU AME has equipped me with the knowledge and skills that Lockheed was looking for in my role,” Bryant said. The Wind Tunnel Laboratory and Flight Mechanics courses will be heavily drawn on at his job.

 

“Our aerospace pre-capstone and capstone courses were big reasons why I was specifically selected for this, as knowledge of aircraft sizing, trade studies, multi-variable optimization, and aircraft requirement-to-design processes was essential,” Bryant said.

This is one of the most competitive positions to be hired into, and Alex was selected over 55 other candidates from other big-name Universities including GT, A&M, and others. Congratulations Alex!

Sooner Off-Road Receives Successful Competition Results

On May 16, the Sooner Off-Road team traveled to California for the Baja SAE competition. In the competition, engineering students were tasked with designing and building a single-seat, all-terrain sporting vehicle.

The Sooner Off-Road team was able to pass technical inspection and brake check on the first day of the competition. Additionally, they received 13th place in the suspension & traction event, 12th place in the sales presentation, 100/150 points in the design presentation, and 30th in the endurance race. The team finished 34th overall.

The team and their advisors are very proud of the results. Congratulations Sooner Off-Road!

The Sooner Racing Team Competition Results are in!

The Sooner Racing Team had a successful competition at Formula SAE Lincoln, an engineering design competition for undergraduate and graduate students. The team traveled to Lincoln, Nebraska from June 19-22 and exceeded their goals for the competition.

The Sooner Racing Team received 14th in the cost event, 14th in fuel efficiency, 22nd in endurance, 26th in acceleration, 29th in design, and a 10th place award for the quality of their engineering drawings. They finished the competition 33rd overall out of the 80 teams. Additionally, the team got through technical inspections in the first two days with only minor adjustments needed, completed all of the static and dynamic events, and finished the endurance race. Overall, the team is very happy with the results and the way the car came out this year.

Congratulations Sooner Racing Team! Click here to learn more information about the team.