1. Advanced Kinetics and Reactor Design   (CHEN E4330, Graduate Course)

Course Description: Reaction kinetics, molecular view of reaction kinetics, reactions in liquid, reactions at surfaces, diffusion-reaction systems, kinetics of electrochemistry and photochemistry. Applications to the design of batch and continuous reactors. Special topics in kinetics and reactor design such as electrocatalysis and photocatalysis/photoelectrochemistry.

2. Solar Fuels  (CHEN E4231, Graduate-level course open to MS, PhD, and senior undergrads)

Course Description: Fundamentals and applications of solar energy conversion, especially technologies for conversion of sunlight into storable chemical energy, or solar fuels. Topics include fundamentals of photoelectrochemistry, kinetics of solar fuels production, solar harvesting technologies, solar reactors, and solar thermal production of solar fuels. Applications include solar fuels technology for grid-scale energy storage, chemical industry, manufacturing, environmental remediation.

Course assignments and final project: Central to this class are assignments and a final project that combines crowdsourcing principles with a problem-based learning (PBL) philosophy that emphasizes work in small groups and self-directed learning (SDL) to tackle an open-ended problem that does not have a single correct answer. Educational objectives include i.) promote understanding of a broad framework of solar fuels technology, ii.) encourage critical and creative thinking about the design of solar fuels systems for real-world problems, iii.) learn to work effectively in teams to solve/evaluate complex problems, and iv.) learn to clearly communicate results and ideas.

Throughout the semester, the class collectively participates in an “idea filter” whereby students “harvest” or generate ideas and evaluate those ideas with varying amount of rigor to down-select the most promising solar fuels technologies. These activities culminate in a final group project in which students apply scientific and engineering principles learned in class to critically evaluate the most promising ideas and present their results to a distinguished “board of trustees”.  This idea filter is implemented in three stages (see below) and has the following assignment sheets associated with it:

Stage I: Idea harvesting (individual student assignment)

Stage II: Down selection (individual student assignment)

Stage III: Rigorous evaluation (group project)

Students who took the course in Spring 2016 were given the choice of working on one of three open-ended solar-fuels related problems:

Option #1:  Project_1_solar hydrogen balloons

Option #2: Project_2_PEC_environmental

Option #3: Project_3_solar_fuels_on_Mars