Biomass Combustion Experiments to Validate Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and Reaction Models

UROP Title: Biomass Combustion Experiments to Validate Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and Reaction Models

Term UROP is offered: Spring 2021

Compensation: Paid ($13.50/hr) or credit (Note: MIT undergraduate students who received their ELO guarantee in Fall 2020 or IAP 2021 are not eligible for financial compensation Spring 2021)

Location: On-campus (Cambridge) and/or remote

Supervisor/Contact: Dan Sweeney

Project Description

Nearly half the world relies on burning solid fuels like wood, charcoal, dung, and crop residues for household cooking and heating. This project aims to equip local biomass energy appliance manufacturers with design tools based on detailed simulation, experiment, and participatory design approaches.

To validate a detailed heat transfer, flow, and reaction computer simulation, our team will gather measurements from experiments on affordable biomass combustion appliances (e.g. the Ugandan Makaa Stove) in D-Lab’s BurnLab.

This is a great opportunity to apply your engineering skills to impactful research!

More on MIT D-Lab Biomass Fuels and Cookstoves research.


Applicants should be comfortable or willing to learn how to safely start and tend wood and charcoal fires, pay attention to safety and detail, and be familiar with common data analysis tools (e.g. MATLAB, MS Excel).

Preference for students that can work on campus and for periods of 3-4 hours at a time, and 8-10 hours per week. Remote students will also be considered for data analysis, interpretation, and dissemination tasks.


This is a paid UROP opportunity at $13.50/hour with an expectation that the student will spend between 80-140 hours on the project over the course of the semester.

Apply (ideally by February 26, 2021)

Interested candidates should email Dan Sweeney, MIT D-Lab Research Scientist; Lead, MIT D-Lab Biomass Fuels and Cookstoves Group.


Link to opportunity on MIT ELx site