The conference began in earnest on Monday morning. Dr. Nateri Madavan, from NASA Ames Research Center, gave the first plenary, exploring the agency’s vision for the future of aviation. Included were plans to use cryogenic technology to address the fuel consumption of 100+ passenger aircraft. Richard Riley, business development manger at Highview Power Storage, addressed the conference on Tuesday, discussing the companies advances in LAES power storage. The system, he says, is beneficial for energy systems that need assistance with peak distribution and can be rapidly and cost effectively expanded with the simple addition of more tanks.
Ronald Bliesner, a fluid systems design engineer for Blue Origin, spoke on Wednesday. There were few new revelations from the the notorious secretive company, but Bliesner did hold the audience’s attention with design presentations, information of how the company plans to facilitate zero gravity experiments on its vessels and quick retorts to Alexa jokes from the audience.
The last plenary came from Dr. Deborah Van Vechten, from the Office of Naval Research, who addressed what production of superconducting electronics requires of the cryocooler community. It was the first time cryogenic microelectronics had been addressed at CEC/ICMC, according to Dr. Deep Gupta, session chair for the talk. “A lot of people don’t know about it yet,” he says, “but if this takes off there will be another 100 or more people from the electronics community who will be attending the conference every year.”
Students like Carl Bunge, a PhD candidate in mechanical engineering at Washington State University, took the message to heart. He attended both the Space Cryogenics Workshop and CEC / ICMC for the first time this year. “The space cryogenics workshop, in conjunction with the Cryogenic Engineering Conference, provided an eye opening experience that allowed me to realize how much work has been done and how much work there is to do in the cryogenics world,” he says. “It’s just really fun to be in this situation and be able to interact with all these people and see what other people have worked on. It allows me to see how I can connect that work to what I’m working on. So, there’s a lot of cross-pollination between different types of ideas in the field and everyone benefits from that. This conference is ground zero for cryogenics.”
The conference was especially important to oversees companies looking to establish or reaffirm connections in the US market. “It’s an effort for us to cross the ocean all of the time, but it’s an opportunity to meet so many people at the same place,” says Ute Probst, marketing at communications at Linde Kryotechnik AG. “We would have to travel a lot to reach them all and here we can meet them all at the same place and talk about interesting projects, or questions they have to us. For us, its saving time to come here and to meet all interested people.”
Other vendors were attending for the first time, including Paul Larochelle, COO at Tempshield Cryo-Protection (CSA CSM). “We continue to look to educate the industry on our products and this has been a beneficial venue to speak with end users,” he says. “We’ve had some great conversations with a lot of students, professors and industry representatives.”
Norplex Micarta, a manufacturer of high performance thermoset composite materials, also attended for the first time. “We’re very impressed with the attendance and the knowledge of the attendees of our materials,” says Jerry Regan, marketing specialist. “It was good foot traffic to the booth. We met a lot of interesting people. Lots of new contacts. Lots of people in the education fields that maybe will spec our materials as they do design work.”
The 22nd CEC / ICMC will occur July 21-25, 2019, in Hartford Connecticut at the Connecticut Convention Center. Information will be posted on http://www.cec-icmc.org/ when available.