Brouwer’s research focuses upon high-temperature electrochemical dynamics and integrated renewable energy systems including fuel cells, electrolyzers, batteries, gas turbines, and solar and wind power. Brouwer is recognized for research and development of the world’s first integrated hybrid solid oxide fuel cell gas turbine system, the world’s first renewable high temperature fuel cell system for tri-generation of hydrogen, heat, and power, the world’s first direct DC powering of data center servers with a fuel cell, and the U.S. first renewable power-to-gas hydrogen injection into the natural gas system and subsequent conversion to decarbonized electricity in a combined cycle power plant.
Brouwer received his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1993. From 1993 to 1997, he served as a research assistant professor at the University of Utah and was a member of the technical staff at Reaction Engineering International. He came to UC Irvine in 1997 as associate director of the National Fuel Cell Research Center (NFCRC), concurrently holding appointments as lecturer, assistant and then associate adjunct professor. He was named assistant professor in the summer of 2011 and became full professor in the summer of 2017.
Areas of Expertise (5)
High-Temperature Electrochemical Dynamics
Renewable Power Dynamics
Integrated Renewable Power Systems
Hybrid Power and Energy Storage Systems
Massachusetts Institute of Technology: PhD, Mechanical Engineering 1993
Media Appearances (5)
Why wasn’t CA better prepared for a pandemic?
Electric vehicles won’t work for all consumers: State policymakers recognize — and must continue to recognize — the need for another clean transportation alternative: hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, writes Jack Brouwer, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, director of the National Fuel Cell Research Center and associate director of the Advanced Power and Energy Program at UC Irvine.
The real renewable energy storage solution
Right here at UC Irvine, we’re doing a little science experiment that could make a big difference for countries around the globe as they look for ways to replace fossil fuels and stop climate change. This experiment is focused on how to store extra solar energy.
Heavy-duty emissions must be eliminated to halt climate change, UCI-led review shows
UCI News online
“We are pioneering research in so many of the important fields that will be required for a 100 percent zero-emissions future,” said co-author Jack Brouwer, a UCI mechanical and aerospace engineer who has developed hydrogen fuel cells from sewage waste. “The challenge is bringing down costs.”
Greening the grid
UCI News online
“It’s really cool that the university lets us conduct research in the main campus power plant,” says Jack Brouwer, APEP’s associate director. “I have colleagues at other institutions who are envious of the opportunity we have here at UCI.”
In a national first, UCI injects renewable hydrogen into campus power supply
UCI News online
“One of the big challenges we’ve faced in adding wind and solar to the grid is what to do with the excess electricity,” said Jack Brouwer, associate director of its Advanced Power & Energy Program. “We’ve shown you need not halt renewable power generation when demand is low. Instead, the excess electricity can be used to make hydrogen that can be easily integrated into existing natural gas pipeline infrastructure.”
Experimental dynamic dispatch of a 60 kW proton exchange membrane electrolyzer in power-to-gas applicationInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
John M. Stansberry, Jacob Brouwer
2020 A 60 kW PEM electrolyzer was modified to have dynamic dispatch capabilities through the use of an external mass flow controller and was subsequently operated and studied in detail as a part of the UC Irvine power-to-gas (P2G) demonstration project. The system operated in load following for both rooftop solar PV output and aggregated wind farm power.
Hydrogen leaks at the same rate as natural gas in typical low-pressure gas infrastructureInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Alejandra Hormaza Mejia, Jacob Brouwer, Michael Mac Kinnon
2020 A global interest to increase the use of renewable resources has spurred an interest in hydrogen (H2) gas as an energy carrier. Natural gas (NG) infrastructure has been proposed as a potential storage, transmission and distributions system for renewably produced gaseous H2 fuel. Introducing H2 to the NG system has raised concerns about H2 leakage from the system.
Dynamic dispatch of solid oxide electrolysis system for high renewable energy penetration in a microgridEnergy Conversion and Management
Paolo Colombo, Alireza Saeedmanesh, Massimo Santarelli, Jack Brouwer
2020 The impacts of increasing deployment of Renewable Energy Sources (RES) on existing energy infrastructure has been investigated in a microgrid, an energy system that, with its constraints, foreshadows the challenges of the evolving electricity network. The campus microgrid of the University of California, Irvine (UCI) is modeled, including an existing natural gas-fueled combined cycle power plant, electric chilling and thermal energy storage, and analyzing the microgrid response to additional Photovoltaic (PV) installations.
Net-zero emissions energy systemsScience
2018 Models show that to avert dangerous levels of climate change, global carbon dioxide emissions must fall to zero later this century. Most of these emissions arise from energy use. Davis et al. review what it would take to achieve decarbonization of the energy system. Some parts of the energy system are particularly difficult to decarbonize, including aviation, long-distance transport, steel and cement production, and provision of a reliable electricity supply.
Hydrogen is essential for sustainabilityCurrent Opinion in Electrochemistry
2018 Sustainable energy conversion requires zero emissions of greenhouse gases and criteria pollutants using primary energy sources that the earth naturally replenishes quickly, like renewable resources. Solar and wind power conversion technologies have become cost effective recently, but challenges remain to manage electrical grid dynamics and to meet end-use requirements for energy dense fuels and chemicals.
The role of natural gas and its infrastructure in mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, improving regional air quality, and renewable resource integrationProgress in Energy and Combustion Science
2018 The pursuit of future energy systems that can meet electricity demands while supporting the attainment of societal environment goals, including mitigating climate change and reducing pollution in the air, has led to questions regarding the viability of continued use of natural gas. Natural gas use, particularly for electricity generation, has increased in recent years due to enhanced resource availability from non-traditional reserves and pressure to reduce greenhouse gases (GHG) from higher-emitting sources, including coal generation.
Dynamic performance of an in-rack proton exchange membrane fuel cell battery system to power serversInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
2017 To improve the reliability and the energy efficiency of data centers, as well as to reduce infrastructure costs and environmental impacts, we experimentally evaluated in-rack powering of servers with a hybrid 12 kW Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell (PEMFC) and battery system. The steady state and the transient performance of the PEMFC and battery in response to dynamic AC loads and real server loads have been evaluated and characterized.
Dynamic modeling of compressed gas energy storage to complement renewable wind power intermittencyInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
2013 To evaluate the impacts and capabilities of large-scale compressed gas energy storage for mitigating wind intermittency, dynamic system models for compressed air energy storage and compressed hydrogen energy storage inside salt caverns have been developed. With the experimental data from air storage in a salt cavern in Huntorf, Germany, the cavern model has been verified.