Dr. Brenda L. Garcia-Diaz is the manager of the Energy Materials Group in SRNL. She has a PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of South Carolina with a specialization in electrochemical engineering. She has developed Nb-doped TiO2 electrocatalysts and developed models to better understand DMFC operation. Dr. Garcia-Diaz helped develop electrochemical synthesis methods for aluminum hydride. She has worked on novel electrochemical methods for nuclear fuel processing including the development of an electrochemical fluorination method for processing used nuclear fuel, direct LiT electrolysis for tritium recovery in fusion applications, and reduction of oxide nuclear fuels utilizing a solid oxide conducting anode. Dr. Garcia-Diaz is the principal investigator on a DOE SunShot program to investigate and mitigate corrosion in high temperature molten salt heat transfer systems for concentrating solar power (CSP) applications. She is the molten salt corrosion consultant to NREL for the development of a Gen 3 CSP system. Dr. Garcia-Diaz has also led research on the development of MAX phase coatings for accident tolerant nuclear fuel. She has led collaborations with multiple industrial partners, universities, and national laboratories.
Dr. Garcia-Diaz was awarded the ASM International Silver Award, the South Carolina Governor’s Young Researcher award, and the SRNL Early Career Award. In 2018, her project on electrochemical fluorination also won the inaugural SRNL award for LDRD return on investment. Dr. Garcia-Diaz serves as a Board Member for the American Institute of Chemical Engineers RAPID program for process intensification. She is an adjunct faculty member at the University of South Carolina in the Chemical Engineering Department. Dr. Garcia-Diaz is a member of the Hanford Tank Integrity Expert Panel.
With 23 years of experience in engineering design, safety, and analysis of nuclear and energy systems, he has served as a principal member of the technical staff at Sandia National Laboratories since 1995, as well as a research associate professor at the University of New Mexico since 2012. His key areas of expertise include computational fluid dynamics, turbulence, dimpling, swirl, advanced manufacturing, and heat transfer. He is experienced with gas, water, molten salt, and heavy-water cooled reactors, including large, small, and miniature reactors. His primary technical achievements include right-sized dimpling, the LIKE algorithm, design of advanced fire sprinklers, isotropic turbulence decay model, development of five new vortices, a vortex unification theory, dynamic swirl modeling, and central recirculation zone modulation. He earned a doctorate in nuclear engineering from the University of New Mexico, as well as a doctorate in philosophy and apologetics from Trinity Seminary and College. He earned two master’s degrees in applied mathematics from the University of New Mexico and mechanical engineering from the University of Idaho, and a bachelor’s in nuclear engineering from the University of California - Santa Barbara. He is currently writing an engineering book for the Springer Publishing Company entitled, “Applied Computational Fluid Dynamics and Turbulence Modeling.”
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