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Reza Baghei Lakeh

Reza B. Lakeh concentrates his research on developing novel and low-cost renewable energy systems and water treatment technologies. His current focus is the development of a low-cost thermal energy storage system using repurposed desalinization waste salt as low-cost thermal energy storage for different applications such as grid-scale energy storage and solar and geothermal desalinization. The project has resulted in two provisional patents on different aspects of the technology so far. In 2021, he co-founded a started-up company (Waste Salt Technologies LLC) to facilitate commercialization of the technology.


His university research team is also developing a decentralized, grid-dependent, zero-carbon-footprint water treatment system, which utilizes a micro-filtration pre-treatment, a two-stage reverse osmosis, and an ultraviolet disinfection post-treatment. The system is solely powered by solar-photovoltaic panels through a battery bank.

Recent Grants and Fellowships:

  • Principal Investigator, So Cal Gas Climate Champions Grant, “Low-cost Energy Storage using Repurposed Desalination Salt,” $40,000, 2022
  • Principal Investigator, “De-risking and optimizing of concentrate based thermal energy storage California State University, Water Resources and Policy Initiative, $8,000, 2021
  • Principal Investigator, U.S. Department of Interior Bureau of Reclamation, “Repurposing reverse osmosis concentrate for low-cost thermal energy storage,” $149,990, 2019
  • Co-Principal Investigator, Metropolitan Water District World Water Forum, “Development of Monitoring and Remote Operating Platform for Point of Use Water Treatment Units,” 2019, $10,000
  • Principal Investigator, Kings Lee Technologies, “Integration of Internet-of-Things with a Decentralized Water Treatment Unit,” $145,000, 2018
  • Principal Investigator, Sterlitech Inc., “Pilot-Scale Air-Gap Membrane Distillation System for Water Reuse,” $5,000, 2018
  • Principal Investigator, U.S. Department of Interior Bureau of Reclamation, “An Ultra-low-cost Thermal Energy Storage System using Reverse Osmosis Concentrate,” $65,000, 2018-2020
  • Co-Principal Investigator, Southern California Gas, Environmental Grant Initiative, “Water Energy Nexus: Development and Outreach,” $10,000, 2017
  • Principal Investigator, Metropolitan Water District, Innovative Conservation Program, “Greywater Reuse: Development of a Solar-Powered Decentralized Greywater Treatment Unit,” $99,749, 2017
  • CO-Principal Investigator, “Solar-powered Desalination and Purification System of Inland Brackish Water using Reverse Osmosis,” Metropolitan Water District World Water Forum, 2016

Selected Publications:

  • B.C. Camey, J. Kiriakos, G. Mhamunkar, S. Delagah, A. Sharbat, A. Mandell,, “Techno-Economics Of Using Concentrate Of Membrane Processes As A Low-Cost Thermal Energy Storage Medium,” Proceedings of the ASME 2021 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, IMECE2021, November 1-5, 2021, Virtual, Online
  • With C.N. Salerno, E.P.  Herlim, J. Kiriakos and S. Delagah, “Repurposing Reverse Osmosis Concentrate as a Low-cost Thermal Energy Storage Medium,” Journal of Clean Energy Technologies, Vol. 8(4), pp. 31-40, 2020
  • With K. Hakamian, M. Shafahi and K. Anderson, “Thermal Design and Analysis of a Solid-state Grid-tied Thermal Energy Storage for Hybrid Compressed Air Energy Storage Systems,” ASME Journal of Energy Resources and Technology; Vol. 141(6), 061903, 2019
  • With K. Nithyanandam, A. Barde, R.E. Wirz, R.E., “Charge and Discharge Characteristics of Elemental Sulfur in Isochoric High Temperature Thermal Energy Storage System,” accepted in Applied Energy, Vol. 214, 166-177, 2018
  • With R.E. Wirz, H.P. Kavehpour and A.S. Lavine, A.S., “Investigation of Transient Natural Convection in Vertical Tubes Exposed to Constant-Temperature Wall,” accepted in ASME Journal of Thermal Science and Engineering Applications, 2017
  • K.R. Anderson, M. Shafahi, S. Shihadeh, P. Perez, B. Kampen, C. McNamara, A. Sharbat and M. Palomo, “Case Study of a Solar Tower/Compost Waste-to-Energy Test Facility,” Journal of Solid Waste Technology & Management, Vol. 42, 698-708, 2016
  • With L.A. Tse, A.S. Lavine and R.E. Wirz, “Exergetic Optimization and Performance Evaluation of Multi-Phase Thermal Energy Storage Systems,” Solar Energy, Vol. 122, 396-408, 2015
  • With A.S. Lavine, H.P. Kavehpour and R.E. Wirz, “Study of Turbulent Natural Convection in Vertical Storage Tubes for Supercritical Thermal Energy Storage,” Numerical Heat Transfer – Part A, Vol. 67 (2), 119-139, 2015
  • With M. Molki, “Enhancement of convective heat transfer by electrically-induced swirling effect in laminar and fully-developed internal flows,” Journal of Electrostatics, Vol. 71(6), 1086-1099, 2013
  • With A.S. Lavine,  H.P. Kavehpour, G.B. Ganapathi and R.E. Wirz, “Effect of Laminar and Turbulent Natural Convection in Thermal Storage using Supercritical Fluids,” Numerical Heat Transfer – Part A, Vol. 64 (12), 955-973,  2013


B.S. and M.S., Iran University of Science and Technology

Ph.D., Southern Illinois University, Carbondale

Postdoc, University of California Los Angeles


English, Persian, German (intermediate), Spanish (basic)

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