Purdue, China forming joint energy-research labs

May 2, 2011

Purdue President France A. Córdova and Beihang University President Huai Jinpeng signed an agreement in China to establish two joint laboratories to further research on emissions, combustion and energy systems. (Purdue University photo)

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University is forming two joint laboratories with China's Beihang University to focus on low emissions, combustion and energy systems research.

"These collaborations will advance knowledge that is needed to create cleaner, more efficient energy and power systems," said Purdue President France A. Córdova.

Córdova signed an agreement with Beihang University President Huai Jinpeng to form the BUAA-Purdue Joint Laboratory on Energy Systems and the BUAA-Purdue Joint Laboratory on Low Emissions Combustion. Beihang University also is known as Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

The work will combine Purdue's strengths in computational modeling and Beihang's strengths in experimentation, said Tom Shih, professor and head of Purdue's School of Aeronautics and Astronautics, who was present at the signings in Beijing.

The energy systems lab will concentrate on research into heat flow and fluid mechanics in "rotating systems" and will be led by Shih and John P. Sullivan, professor of aeronautics and astronautics and director of the Center for Advanced Manufacturing. Sullivan will lead work associated with diagnostic techniques for fine tuning the experiments.

Shih stressed that the research is fundamental and does not involve any commercial applications.

Pennsylvania State University and the U.S. Department of Energy also are involved in the energy systems laboratory.

The combustion lab is led by mechanical engineering professor Hukam Mongia and Charles Merkle, Reilly Professor of Engineering in mechanical engineering and aeronautics and astronautics. The laboratory, which also involves the University of Connecticut, will focus on joint activities with Beihang University to further work into low-emission combustors for gas turbines in power generation and aircraft.

Increasing energy efficiency and reducing noise and emissions are the most critical issues for improving gas turbines, while local air quality is affected by aircraft emissions of nitrogen oxides and smoke, which cause smog, Mongia said.

Researchers in the combustion lab will use laser-based diagnostic techniques in conjunction with computational modeling, with Purdue concentrating on the modeling aspects of the work. 

Writer:  Emil Venere, 765-494-4709, venere@purdue.edu

Sources:   France A. Córdova, president@purdue.edu

                    Charles Merkle, 765-494-9763, merkle@purdue.edu

                    Hukam Mongia, 765-494-1537, hmongia@purdue.edu

                    Tom Shih, 765-494-3006, tomshih@purdue.edu