Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Story shared from Penn State News

A group photo at the Penn State-Dalian University of Technology Joint Energy Workshop  At the third Penn State-Dalian University of Technology (DUT) Joint Energy Workshop in March 2012, former University President Rodney Erickson and Michael Adewumi, vice provost for Global Programs, led a delegation of 10 Penn State faculty members, including Tom Richard, Bruce Logan, Chunshan Song, Mike Janik, Zhen Lei, Sarma Pisupati, Jonathan Mathews, Yaw Yeboah and Yongsheng Chen, to China. Also present DUT officials,

With the goal of promoting global cooperation in clean energy research and education, Penn State and Dalian University of Technology (DUT) in China established an international Joint Center for Energy Research (JCER) in 2011 as a part of global engagement efforts at both universities.

“The Joint Center for Clean Energy Research between DUT and Penn State has become a model for our engagements with our strategic partner institutions around the world,” said Michael Adewumi, vice provost for Global Programs. “And this is due in large part to the leadership provided by professor Song.”

Chunshan Song, distinguished professor of fuel science and chemical engineering, and co-director of the JCER said, “The joint center has provided a platform between the faculty members of both universities. Energy and the environment are globally important challenges. I am looking forward to continuing and expanding the collaboration between Penn State and Dalian through the joint center.”

The center has been actively facilitating research collaborations and faculty and student exchanges between the two universities. In the three years since JCER’s start, affiliated researchers at DUT and Penn State have published 35 refereed journal articles on energy-related collaborative research including bio-energy, CO2 conversion to chemicals and fuels, 3-D nano-structured porous materials, novel carbon materials, new catalytic processes for hydrogen production, shape-selective catalysis for chemicals synthesis, biomass conversion to chemicals and computational catalysis. In addition, faculty and students have continued to travel between the two universities in order to conduct collaborative research, and both universities have hosted visiting professors and doctoral students. Collaboration for study abroad program for undergraduates in the energy area has also begun in summer 2014.

Many of Penn State’s 12 JCER faculty affiliates have visited DUT, including Tom Richard, director of the Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment (PSIEE), who gave an invited lecture on biomass energy research in the DUT School of Chemical Engineering, and Bruce Logan, Evan Pugh Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, who was appointed a visiting professor at DUT. In March 2012, Penn State President Emeritus Rodney Erickson and Michael Adewumi, vice provost for Global Programs, led a Penn State delegation of 10 faculty members to visit DUT for the third Penn State-Dalian Joint Energy Workshop. More recently, JCER-affiliated faculty member Mike Janik, associate professor in chemical engineering, visited DUT to lecture and collaborate and was selected for a Haitian Scholar Award from DUT in 2013.

Song spent a part of his sabbatical leave during the 2013-14 academic year at DUT for collaborative research supported through a QianRen Distinguished Visiting Professorship, awarded by the Chinese government.

Several faculty affiliates from DUT have visited Penn State and some were former visiting professors. The former DUT President, Jinping OU, and Vice President, Guiling Ning, led two delegations to visit Penn State in 2009 and 2011. In addition, the EMS Energy Institute has hosted six visiting professors and two visiting doctoral students form DUT, and there are currently three active graduate students in the John and Willie Leone Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering who are supported on scholarships from DUT. The EMS Energy Institute at Penn State coordinates the JCER activities on behalf of PSIEE.

The JCER is a research endeavor between Penn State and DUT in China. The goal of the center is to facilitate collaborative and multi-disciplinary research in energy and energy-related environmental sciences and technology, and serve as a hub for global cooperation and education.

Song co-directs the JCER with Jieshan Qiu, professor of chemical and materials engineering, associate director of DUT Energy Center and associate dean for the faculty of chemical and environmental technology and life sciences at DUT. Xinwen Guo, professor of chemical engineering; Haoquan Hu, professor of chemical engineering; Anjie Wang, professor of chemical engineering; Anhui Lu, professor of chemical engineering; and Liping Huang, professor of environmental engineering; are among the active DUT faculty members conducting collaborative research with Penn State faculty members.

Over the past three years, the JCER has led to many developments in energy research and enriched educational experiences for students. Going forward, JCER researchers will continue to build connections and expand research efforts. One new effort that evolved from JECR connections is an undergraduate study abroad program with DUT. During May to June, a group of seven Penn State undergraduate students studied at DUT as part of a six-week study abroad program led by Zhen Lei, assistant professor of energy and environmental economics, and Andrew Kleit, professor of energy and mineral engineering. The program will take place again next year, and the JCER will provide some support.

DUT is one of the top national universities in China with strengths in various engineering fields and business management, especially in the fields of chemical engineering (including energy chemical engineering), environmental engineering, mechanics, civil engineering, mechanical engineering, mathematics and management, and has strong research in energy and environmental areas and chemical engineering. The university has more than 40,000 students and more than 3,000 faculty members.