The Energy Laboratory at the Mechanical Engineering Department started its research and educational activities on advanced energy systems and heat transfer applications in 1993 through a joint project on metal hydride energy systems between UNM and Thermal Electric Devices, Inc. of Albuquerque. The Energy Laboratory provides research and development of new systems along with components for industry and government. Also, through an educational training program, the Energy laboratory produces well-trained and creative engineering professionals.

Research in the field of energy is concentrated in two general areas of heat transfer applications and energy system analysis and utilization.

  • Heat Transfer
    The research activities are concentrated in the areas radiation transport calculations, radiation and conduction heat transfer calculations, and heat and mass transfer in solid/gas reacting systems. The results of the research have contributed to advancement of knowledge in diverse fields of nuclear engineering, heat transfer enhancement, design of heat exchangers, combustion and metal hydride energy systems. Some specific research topics are:
    • Heat and mass transfer in metal hydride refrigeration and heat pump systems
    • Heat transfer enhancement
    • Microelectronic cooling
    • Heat Exchangers
    • Ignition and combustion of energetic materials.


  • Energy Systems and Utilization
    Research activities in the area of energy is concentrated in energy system design and optimization. Energy system design is usually based on the criteria of power, efficiency, economics, and environmental considerations. The proper definition of efficiency is based on the second law of thermodynamics and energy systems must be optimized with the objective of minimum entropy production. Research activities also include advanced energy systems, energy utilization and environmental considerations.
    Some specific research topics are:
    • Second-law analysis of energy systems
    • Energy systems design and optimization
    • Metal hydride energy systems
    • Heat recovery systems
    • Thermal energy storage
    • Solar energy
    • Solid polymer fuel cells.

Research/Educational Sponsors/Collaborators have been:

  • Department of Energy, National Energy Technology Laboratory (DOE/NETL)
  • National Science Foundation (NSF)/ HySorb Technology, Inc.
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)/PURSUE Program
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)/NMSGC Program
  • Thermal Electric Devices, Inc.
  • Department of Energy (DOE)/Sandia National Laboratories
  • Department of Energy (DOE)/ Los Alamos National Laboratory
  • U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory
  • MaxStor, Inc.
  • Artificial Muscles Research Institute of the University of New Mexico
  • The Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM)
  • Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NUST).