Dr. Jeffrey Brownson is Associate Professor of Energy & Mineral Engr., and Materials Science & Engr. at Penn State. Students may explore materials complimentary to the course at Design of Solar Energy Conversion Systems.
Our call to action is the
Goal of Solar Design
To maximize the solar utility for a client or group of stakeholders, within a given locale.
Brownson Team Graduates
Follow the links to download electronic theses!
Ms. Elizabeth Michael (MS MatSE; Spring 2012): Nanocomposite Synthesis and Characterization of Kesterite Cu2ZnSnS4 (CZTS) for Photovoltaic Applications
Mr. Jeffrey Rayl (MS EME; Spring 2012): Climate-regime cospectrum analysis: shortwave solar irradiance with other meteorological parameters for regionally spaced locales
Dr. Ramprasad Chandrasekharan (PhD EME; Spring 2012): Numerical Modeling of Tin-based Absorber Devices for Cost-effective Solar Photovoltaics
Ms. Katherine Nicol (BS Honors Energy Engr.; Spring 2012): Deposition and Patterning of CZTS as a Light Absorbing Material for Solar Applications
Ms. Mesude Bayrakci (MS EME; Summer 2011): Temperature Dependent Power Modeling of Photovoltaics
Mr. Charith Tammineedi (MS EME; Spring 2011): Matlab Modeling of Battery-Ultracapacitor Systems for Solar and Wind
Mr. Luke Witmer (MS EME; Fall 2010): TRNSYS: Quantification of the Passive Cooling of Photovoltaics Using a Green Roof
Mr. Jonathan Perez-Blanco (BS Honors ME; Spring 2010): Conventional and Green Roof Albedo Measurement and Analysis for Roof-Mounted Photovoltaic Applications
Natural Fusion Solar Decathlon
The Natural Fusion project at Penn State has seen a very successful experience on the National Mall in in Washington D.C. this October 2009! Congratulations to the team for taking 3rd place in both Engineering and Lighting Design! What an amazing design-build process for all of us.
Contact Information if you would like to contact our group for outreach, consulting, or otherwise.
System Integrative PV (SIPV) and Sustainability:
Our research addresses systems scale solar energy conversion, the sustainability of solar technologies in society, the analysis of meteorological and economic constraints to solar deployment, and photovoltaic thin film materials.
Progress in Solar Research:
The solar industry has emerged from +20 year gap in the lineage of training solar energy scientists and solar engineers in the USA, from 1985-2005. Our team is recharging that field and building a new network of leaders. The absence of outreach in solar energy awareness and scientific literacy has permitted a social malaise for solar deployment. Despite the fact that Pennsylvania has the solar resource of southern France, and that the solar stronghold of Germany is further north than Maine (with worse quality of clear skies), occupants of the mid-atlantic region tend to perceive their local solar resource as less useful for providing modern conveniences. Our team is developing trandisciplinary systems research with core information-transfer and accessible texts for the new generation of researchers, planners, and designers.
Project Sage-ly Solar:
I am currently collaborating with Prof. Joseph Ranalli at Penn State-Hazelton to develop online math tools for solar energy calculations using the Sage math environment (Python Language). Our work was presented at the National Solar Conference in Baltimore, MD this April, 2013.
The Brownson Team's research achieves a unique vertical integration of expertise within the field of solar energy conversion by supporting a multidisciplinary environment for:
- Integrative System Design,
- Grid-tied Energy Simulations.
- Materials Research,
Integrative System Simulation
Our system-scale research is pursuing the efficiency improvements for PV with systems integrated photovoltaics (SiPV). Rather than replacing one element in a home with PV and sacrificing performance in both components, we focus our integration of PV into a wall or roof system, we arrive at interesting synergies that maximize performance of all the system components. Our active research into Green Roof integrated PV (GRiPV) is a complement with the Natural Fusion project at Penn State.
Simulations for Network Deployment
We are also exploring innovative integration of PV systems for grid-tied (net-metered) homes and developments. PV system configurations were simulated using TRNSYS program, importing State College weather/radiation data to calculate power output (gains) given a variety of unconventional orientations. Given a system with no centralized storage capacity, we find that panels can be mounted with specific orientations to integrate intervals of energy gains from the PV system with periods of high demand for electricity in a building. Furthermore, we have analyzed the new systems for a time-of-use purchasing scenario, matching orientations and electrical gains with periods in the day when it is economically beneficial to sell to the grid.
Current materials research is focused on synthesis and characterization of tin monosulfide (SnS) and CZTS (Kesterite Cu2ZnSnS4); both promising light absorbing materials for thin-film solar cells due to favorable light absorption properties, stable nature and the inexpensive availability of the raw materials tin and sulfur. Our new studies are expanding this year to include life cycle assessment research in the developing industry technology of cadmium telluride (CdTe) as well.
Candidate students should feel free to contact me by email or phone with questions, or to discuss the exciting and diverse undergraduate opportunities within EME.