Partnership celebrates global synergy, accomplishments at joint energy workshop

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Members of the Penn State – Dalian Joint Center for Energy Research (JCER), a partnership between Penn State and Dalian University of Technology (DUT), one of the top research universities in China in energy and chemical engineering, met on campus recently to discuss ongoing research and collaboration initiatives and progress made in advancing clean energy research.

This is the fifth joint energy workshop, which was held Nov. 5-7. The fourth was held in Dalian in 2016.

Established in 2011, the group that is comprised of two dozen of members of Penn State and DUT faculty has collaborated on research projects in areas including energy efficient buildings, bioenergy, catalytic materials, and processes for carbon dioxide research and clean energy technology, which has led to the publishing of more than 100 peer-reviewed journal articles.

Chunshan Song, distinguished professor of fuel science in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences (EMS) and JCER co-director, said partnerships like this are required for solving global energy problems and that the two institutions are complementary in their research areas.

“Because this is a joint center for energy research we focus on energy and energy related environmental problems,” said Song, also a professor of chemical engineering. “Many of the global energy issues require global partnerships. We cannot solve these on our own and nor can any single country, so we collaborate. It’s important for Penn State to contribute to global energy solutions.”

The DUT delegation includes 11 faculty members and 14 students. Among the faculty leaders of the DUT delegation are Shengchuan Zhao, professor and director of international office and dean of school of transportation and logistics; Xinwen Guo, professor and vice dean for faculty of chemical, environmental and biological science and technology; Jili Zhang, professor and vice dean of graduate school and director of the institute of building energy; and Haoquan Hu, professor and director of the institute of coal chemical engineering. 

Many Penn State leaders met with and welcomed the DUT delegation members during the workshop. These included Neil Sharkey, vice president for research; Michael Adewumi, vice provost for global programs; Tom Richard, director of Penn State’s Institutes of Energy and the Environment; Rob Crane, associate vice provost for global programs; Justin Schwartz, dean of the College of Engineering; John Hellmann, senior associate dean in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences; Anthony Atchley, senior associate dean in the College of Engineering; and Patrick Tunno, director of global engineering engagement.

Other Penn State participants included Philip Savage, professor and head of chemical engineering; Bruce Logan, Evan Pugh professor and director of the Engineering Energy and Environmental Institute; Michael Janik, professor of chemical engineering; Sarma Pisupati, professor and chair of the energy engineering program; James Freihaut, professor of architectural engineering; Jonathan Mathews, professor of energy engineering; Randy Vander Wal, professor of energy engineering; Donghai Wang, associate professor of mechanical and nuclear engineering; Robert Rioux, associate professor of chemical engineering; Zhen Lei, associate professor of energy economics; Bruce Miller, senior scientist and associate director of the EMS Energy Institute; Xiaoxing Wang, associate research professor of EMS Energy Institute; Xueyi Zhang, assistant professor of chemical engineering; Gregory Pavlak, assistant professor of architectural engineering; and Kelly Rhoades and Elizabeth Wood, of the EMS Energy Institute.

The partnership has led to ties that have also strengthened education. Through the partnership, both students and faculty have been able to study and research at DUT, and that’s been reciprocated at Penn State. Song said that JCER has also strengthened Penn State’s visibility in global collaborative energy research and has also improved the citations of Penn State research publications.

He said a University-wide effort to find a global strategic partner for Penn State led to the pairing with DUT in 2011. The partnership is a part of Penn State’s global engagement network and strengthens efforts to build an international center for energy research.

“The center was created to contribute to global solutions in clean energy and enhance Penn State’s global engagement,” Song said. “The JCER has become a mutually beneficial and highly productive partnership between Penn State and DUT.”

Both the U.S. and China are fierce players in the quest for breakthroughs in new energy technology and cleaner energy.

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Last Updated December 07, 2017