Welcome to the Penn State EMS Energy Institute (EI) website. After a lengthy national search that yielded a slew of outstanding candidates, I am honored to have been selected by the dean of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences at Penn State to lead the EMS Energy Institute. I would like to express my gratitude to Chunshan Song and Bruce Miller for their contributions to the Institute. Chunshan led the Institute for fourteen years and departed on June 30, 2020, to become the Dean of the Faculty of Science at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). Following Chunshan’s departure, the Institute was extremely fortunate to have Bruce Miller serve as the interim director. Bruce not only made sure that all activities within the institute were sustained, but also worked very hard to maintain Penn State’s privileged position as the administrator of the DOE funded $25 million UCFER program. Bruce also advanced other initiatives to strengthen the Institute’s position as a premier energy research program in the country and the world. Thanks to his efforts, the amount of research funding administered by the Institute has increased, publications by EI researchers continue to be on an increasing trajectory, and citations for journal publications continue to rise.
The faculty, staff, and students of EI would like to thank Bruce for his tireless efforts to maintain EI as an exciting workplace and as a place that fosters innovation. I look forward to working with Bruce to implement new ideas and initiatives that will further enhance the Institute’s reputation as a premier energy research organization.
I moved to Penn State from the University of Texas at Austin in 2015 to assume the position of professor of energy and mineral engineering and the holder of the John and Willie Leone Family Chair in the Energy and Mineral Engineering department. I was appointed head of the department in 2017 and served in that capacity until June 30, 2023, when I took over as the director of EI. Throughout my time here at Penn State, I have had the good fortune to interact with some of the most creative and collaborative faculty researchers across multiple departments and colleges. I also have had the privilege to work with outstanding undergraduate and graduate students. As the director of EI, I hope to further enhance the creative and collaborative environment within the Institute so that all researchers working on energy-related topics have access to top-notch facilities and get all the assistance they need to establish and operate world-class research programs.
The Institute has a long and illustrious history that started in 1949 when it was conceived as a combustion laboratory within the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. Major expansion of the Institute occurred between 1993 and 1997 when the combustion laboratory, along with various labs and centers, were consolidated into the EMS Energy Institute. In 2000, the Institute encompassed five research areas, including carbon materials, clean fuels and catalysis, natural gas and petroleum, sustainable energy, and electrochemical systems. In 2007, the Institute became one of the Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment.
Building on its rich legacy, the institute is now getting ready to take on the emerging challenges associated with the development and assimilation of more renewable and sustainable energy sources into energy systems both nationally as well as globally. New frontiers in materials and minerals science and engineering, the engineering design and optimization of complex energy systems incorporating sustainability concepts, and the economics and policy aspects of implementing these new energy systems, are emerging and my sincere effort will be to position the institute to undertake many of these challenges. In pursuing these emerging areas, I would very much like to receive your thoughts and ideas as well as support, and to that end, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Thank you for your continued interest and support.
Director, EMS Energy Institute