SPUR 2018 Projects: Mines & Earth Sciences

Metallurgical Engineering | College of Mines & Earth Sciences

Corrosion Mitigation in Molten Salts for Energy Collection
Michael Simpson, Professor

Molten chloride salts are ideal fluids to be used in concentrated solar power (CSP) plants because of their high thermal stability, low viscosity, and excellent heat transfer properties. They are being considered by the solar power industry to replace organic liquids and nitrate salts for heat transfer and storage in future CSP plants. The problem is that chloride salts can be highly corrosive in the presence of water, and they have a high affinity to absorb moisture. The likely solution to this problem is to develop methods to continuously monitor and control the oxidation potential of the molten salt. Chemical and electrochemical methods can be used to mitigate or even eliminate corrosion in molten chloride salts. This project is aimed at testing different monitoring and control methods for oxidation potential in molten chloride salts which have suitable properties for CSP plants.

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Atmospheric Sciences | College of Mines & Earth Sciences

Investigating the Weather Conditions near Wildfires
John Horel, Professor

A study is underway supported by the Joint Fire Science Program to improve the information available to wildfire professionals to make decisions when hazardous weather is expected in the vicinity of major wildfires in the United States. The project involves analyzing and visualizing "big data" obtained from numerical weather prediction models and observations in the vicinity of major wildfires during the 2018 summer season. The objective of this study is to develop improved computer-based tools that operational wildfire personnel can use to make informed decisions about conditions that could lead to explosive fire development. Fire professionals are using other online tools developed by our research group to monitor the fire potential near the Great Lakes (glff.mesowest.org), Alaska (akff.mesowest.org), and nationwide (mesowest.utah.edu).

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