Dr. Behzad Bavarian
Chair, Manufacturing Systems Engineering & Management


The College of Engineering and Computer Science (CECS) at California State University, Northridge (CSUN), in collaboration with the College of Science and Mathematics (CSM), has received a $500,000 grant to acquire a Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscope (FESEM) with Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (EDS). This system will provide the fundamental tools needed by faculty and students in the interdisciplinary Nanotechnology Undergraduate Education (NUE) Program to investigate the complex phenomena that occur at the nanosize scale, and will advance our overall goal of bridging experimental and theoretical approaches to nanotechnology in research and teaching. The FESEM-NUE project will greatly enrich both colleges’ undergraduate curricula, increase early student exposure to nanotechnology, provide opportunities for student participation in sophisticated academic-industry research collaborations, and grant our diverse students a competitive advantage for graduate studies and careers while meeting their financial needs. The project builds upon earlier curricular advances and student research engagement achieved with advanced computing equipment and sensitive microanalytic instrumentation acquired under a prior W.M. Keck Foundation grant. Industry and CSUN will contribute additional resources.


Dr. Robert G. Ryan
Assistant Professor
Mechanical Engineering Department

Tom Brown
Executive Director
Physical Plant Management


A 1 MW Direct Fuel Cell® (DFC) power plant began operation at California State University, Northridge (CSUN) in January, 2007. This plant is currently the largest fuel cell plant in the world operating on a university campus. The plant consists of four 250 kW DFC300MA™ fuel cell units purchased from FuelCell Energy, Inc., and a waste heat recovery system which produces dual heating hot water loops for campus building ventilation heating, and domestic water and swimming pool heating water for the University Student Union (USU). The waste heat recovery system was designed by CSUN’s Physical Plant Management and engineering student staff personnel to accommodate the operating conditions required by the four individual fuel cell units as well as the thermal energy needs of the campus. A Barometric Thermal Trap (BaTT) was designed to mix the four fuel cell exhaust streams prior to flowing through a two stage heat exchanger unit. The BaTT is required to maintain an appropriate exhaust back pressure at the individual fuel cell units under a variety of operating conditions and without reliance on mechanical systems for control. The two stage heat exchanger uses separate coils for recovering sensible and latent heat in the exhaust stream. The sensible heat is used for heating water for the campus’ hot water system. fuelcell2.jpgThe latent heat represents a significant amount of energy because of the high steam content in the fuel cell exhaust, although it is available at a lower temperature. CSUN’s design is able to make effective use of the latent heat because of the need for swimming pool heating and hot water for showers in an adjacent recreational facility at the USU. Design calculations indicate that a Combined Heat and Power efficiency of 74% is possible.

Proceedings of IMECE2007
2007 ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress
November 11-15, 2007, Seattle, Washington, USA