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Mechanical & Aerospace EngineeringHydrogen Energy Laboratory

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Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering Department Faculty


Discover Our Focus

The Hydrogen Energy Laboratory (HEL) is engaged in building a sustainable energy future. We focus on innovative research topics in renewable energy, including fuel cell, sustainable hydrogen production, solar-to-fuel synthesis, biomass upgrading, and applications in microfluidic devices. We closely collaborate with Idaho National laboratory and regional energy industries for research & development of novel renewable energy systems.

Our research interests are:

  • High-temperature Electrolysis
  • Solar Hydrogen Production
  • Reversible Solid Oxide Fuel Cell
  • Lightweight Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cell
  • Microfluidic Energy Devices
  • 3D Ceramics Printing
  • Solar Desalination
  • Molten Salt Energy Storage

Explore Our Research


  1. Zhou C, O'Brien JE, Rajan G, Marsillac S, Zhang X, Water splitting using high temperature solid oxide photoelectrochemical cell and visible sunlight: searching for the appropriate semiconductor materials, Journal of The Electrochemical Society, 2016: 164 (7), H497-H502
  2. Zhou C, Mei L, Su Y-S, Yeh L-H, Zhang X, and Qian S, Gated ion transport in a soft nanochannel with biomimetic polyelectrolyte rrush lLayers, Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical, 2016: 229: 305-314
  3. Zhang X, O'Brien JE, Tao G, Zhou C, and Housley GK, Experimental design, operation, and results of a 4 kW high temperature steam electrolysis experiment, Journal of Power Sources. 2015; 297:90-97
  4. Xiaoyu Zhang, James E. O'Brien, Robert C. O'Brien, Joseph J. Hartvigsen, Greg Tao, Gregory K. Housley, Improved durability of SOEC stacks for high temperature electrolysis", International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 38(1):20, 2013.
  5. Xiaoyu Zhang, James E. O'Brien, Robert C. O'Brien, Durability evaluation of reversible solid oxide cells, Journal of Power Sources, 242(15):566, 2013.

The lab has many facilities that allow students to do research on cell fabrication & assembly, material characterization, and performance testing. Students have access to fuel cell test station, Agilent data acquisition system, Shimadzu gas chromatograph, high temperature sintering furnace (1700 oC), high temperature tubular furnace (1100 oC), spin coater, grinder & polisher, glove box, and optical microscope.

Hydrogen Energy Lab
Hydrogen Energy Laboratory