Rene Pecnik appointed Professor of Thermal and Fluids Engineering
Rene Pecnik has been appointed Professor of Thermal and Fluids Engineering at the Process & Energy Department of the 3mE Faculty as of June 2022. Pecnik has a background in both fundamental research - specifically numerical analysis, fluid mechanics and turbulence - and applied research, having worked closely with companies specialised in gas turbine technology: “This opportunity to work in both applied and fundamental research has given me a broad dual background and is motivated by my passion for renewable energy systems.”
Pecnik obtained his PhD in Mechanical Engineering with distinction from the Technical University of Graz in Austria. He then spent three years at Stanford University at the Center for Turbulence Research, where he led the development of a unique computational tool for the study of high-speed turbulent flows. Since joining P&E in late 2010, Pecnik has continued to work in both fundamental and applied research: “It is my aim to bridge these two areas of research by providing fundamental knowledge in thermal fluid science that will enable breakthrough technologies to accelerate the energy transition.” These technologies, which range from concentrated solar power plants through industrial heat pumps to cryogenic hydrogen storage, are constantly being re-engineered to perform ever better. “This often involves fluids being pushed into the so-called ‘supercritical region’, where highly non-ideal thermodynamic effects are at play. Yet, our fundamental understanding of flow physics in such conditions lags behind our ability to apply them successfully in practice.”
As professor of Thermal and Fluid Engineering, Pecnik’s main objective is to understand the intricate flow and heat transfer phenomena in future energy systems, using a combination of advanced analytical methods, large scale numerical simulations, and unique experiments. For example, the supercritical fluid lab enabled by his ERC grant, will allow unprecedented measurements of heat transfer to experimentally confirm the complex phenomena Pecnik and his group analytically and numerically discovered.