Select Page

Richard Wirz

Richard Wirz, Ph.D.
(Caltech, 2005)
(310) 825-5489

Note: This consists of two distinct labs:

The Energy Innovation Lab investigates high impact renewable energy science and technology. Their current work primarily focuses on large-scale thermal energy storage for grid-scale applications and advanced wind energy capture.

The Plasma & Space Propulsion Lab investigates plasma processes related to advanced space propulsion systems using a combination of experimental, computational, and analytical perspectives. Their research is directly inspired by the rapidly emerging field of Electric Propulsion (EP). Other applications of their work include microplasmas, plasma processing, and fusion.

Senior Member, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, AIAA
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, IEEE
Power & Energy Society
Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society
Sigma Gamma Tau, Aerospace Honor Society
Electric Rocket Propulsion Society, ERPS
American Solar Energy Society, ASES
Part-time Senior Engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology

Areas of Interest
Electric and micro propulsion, low temperature plasma and plasma discharges, spacecraft and space mission design, alternative energy generation and storage.

Google Scholar page


  1. Wirz R.E., Aspe S., “Integrated Wind Turbine,” Patent No. US 9,228,564, Jan. 05, 2016
  2. Wirz R.E., “Accelerator System and Method for Accelerating Particles,” Patent No. US 7,773,362 B1, Aug. 10, 2010
  3. Wirz R.E., “Internally Conductively-Heated Cathode,” Patent No. US 7,471,035 B2, Dec. 30, 2008
  4. Conversano R.W., Goebel D.M., Wirz R.E., “Magnetically Shielded Miniature Hall Thruster,” Patent Application No. US 14/506,635, filed Oct 4, 2014
  5. Wirz R.E., Stopin A., Tse L.A., Lavine A.S., Kavehpour H.P., Lakeh R.B., Furst B., Bran-Anleu G. , Garcia-Garibay M.A., “High-Density, High-Temperature Thermal Energy Storage And Retrieval ,” Patent Application No. US 14/475479 , filed Sept 02, 2014

NASA Tech Briefs

  1. Wirz R., Gamero, Goebel D., “Pulsed Operation of an Ion Accelerator,” NASA Tech Brief, NPO-44961, pg. 52, Vol. 33, No. 2, Feb 2009.
  2. Goebel D., Polk J. E., Wirz R., “Increasing the Life of a Xenon-Ion Spacecraft Thruster,” NASA Tech Brief, NPO-43495, Vol. 31, No. 11, Nov 2007.