Systems, Buildings & Energy EfficiencyMSU is studying tiny homes as a housing solution and discovering energy conditions that do not exist in larger homes (R. Johnson group).

ERI researchers investigate design and implementation of passive and active building systems including geothermal heat pumps, insulated structural panels, thermal battery storage and rooftop solar photovoltaic panels.  Additionally researchers are developing novel non-invasive monitoring techniques and control systems for multi-source applications. 

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Researchers

Kevin Amende

Kevin Amende is an assistant professor in the Mechanical & Industrial Engineering Department. His research focuses on building energy systems and the manufacturing process.

Prof. Amende can be reached at 406-994-6304 or kamende@montana.edu.

Website: http://www.montana.edu/kamende/

Hongwei Gao

Hongwei Gao is an assistant professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. He develops power converters for solid oxide fuel cell systems. These DC-to-AC converters condition the power produced by fuel cells. Dr. Gao has developed soft-switched converters for residential fuel cell power systems and is working on modular inverters for large-scale fuel cell systems.

Dr. Gao can be reached at 406-994-5973 or hgao@ece.montana.edu.

Website: www.coe.montana.edu/ee/hgao/

Ralph Johnson

Ralph Johnson is a professor in the School of Architecture. He has taught at Montana State University since 1986. He is a licensed architect and active member of the American Institute of Architects and the American Planning Association. His research and creativity activities have focused on architectural design, urban and rural design as well as contemporary architectural theory. He is the recipient of over 25 teaching, architectural and urban design awards and has received over $250,000 in funded research for community design and development over the past ten years. His book, Building form the Best of the Northern Rockies, articulates Professor Johnson's sustainable planning principles and illustrates, through case studies, many of the successes that have been achieved throughout the Northern Rockies. In addition to his teaching, research, and publication related to sustainable communities, Professor Johnson served as the Director of the Burton K. Wheeler Center for Public Policy at Montana State University. The Center focuses on educating Montanan's relative to contemporary issues and the public policy strategies with the potential to address these issues.

Mr. Johnson can be reached at 406-994-4650 or ralphj@montana.edu.

Website: http://arch.montana.edu/faculty_staff/professors/johnson.html

Hashem Nehrir

Hashem Nehrir is a professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. Dr. Nehrir received his BS, MS, and Ph.D. degrees all in electrical engineering from Oregon State University in 1969, 1971, and 1978, respectively. He started his educational career in 1971 and joined the Montana State University Electrical Engineering faculty in 1987. He has taught a variety of courses on electric power systems, alternative energy power generation, energy conversion devices, electric circuits, and control. Dr. Nehrir's active research includes modeling, control, and energy management of alternative energy distributed generation (DG) sources and microgrids with multiple alternative energy and conventional DG sources, and smart grid functions including demand response and application of intelligent control and multiagent systems to power systems. His research has been supported by a variety of sources, including: The US National Science Foundation, NSF-EPSCoR, USDOE, DOE-EPSCoR, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Electric Power Research Institute, The Montana Power Company (now NorthWestern Energy), Montana Electric Power Cooperatives, and Montana Electric Power Affiliates Program (MEPRA).

Dr. Nehrir can be reached at 406-994-4980 or hnehrir@montana.edu.

Website: http://www.montana.edu/hnehrir/

Steven R. Shaw

Dr. Shaw is a professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. He works on modeling and control of energy systems, storage, and conversion devices.

Dr. Shaw can be reached at 406-994-5982 or sshaw@montana.edu.

Website: http://ece.montana.edu/facultypages/sshaw/index.html

Stephen Sofie

Dr. Stephen Sofie is assistant professor in the Mechanical & Industrial Engineering Department. Metal electro-catalysts represent the standard for high performance, low cost high temperature fuel cell electrodes. Moving towards solution infiltrated catalysts to achieve nano-scale (10-80 nm), high surface area electro-catalyst coverage, yields some detriment to the use of nano-metallic catalysts. Thermodynamic degradation and hence coarsening of fine catalyst particles can lead to catalyst attrition and performance drops, ultimately limiting the long term stability of these nano-scale materials at temperatures up to 900C. Research activities are examining novel approaches to stabilizing nano-metal catalysts by the incorporation of tailored secondary phases at the catalyst/support interface to mitigate degradation by physically binding the catalyst. Mixtures of aluminum and titanium oxides have been shown to react in-situ to fuel cell electrolyte materials forming complex functional oxides that dramatically enhance fuel cell electrode longevity.

Dr. Sofie can be reached at 406-599-4481 or ssofie@montana.edu.

Website: http://www.coe.montana.edu/me/faculty/sofie/