Photo from SBU Media Relations
Devinder Mahajan, professor of Materials Science at Stony Brook University, has been selected by China to take part in its High-End Foreign Experts program, which allows him to bring his study of low-carbon technologies to Tongji University in Shanghai this April. Over the next three years, he will travel there up to four times a year.
At Tongji University, one of the top universities in China, Mahajan will work with the students and faculty there to conduct research and teach a short course in the control and utilization of fugitive gases—the escaping methane and carbon dioxide gases from natural systems, landfills and oil and gas operations that are a source of direct and indirect greenhouse gas emission.
“Professor Mahajan’s work in low-carbon technologies is game-changing as the world contemplates and creates alternative energy resources,” SBU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. said. “This is an excellent example of utilizing a New York State energy research and development facility – the Advanced Energy Center at Stony Brook – to promote international collaborations, and working with our partners at Tongji University in China will advance this initiative farther and faster than we could have ever imagined.”
Since 2002, Mahajan has been the co-director of the Chemical and Molecular Engineering program and has a lab based at the Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center. He also holds a joint appointment in Stony Brook University’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering and Brookhaven National Laboratory’s Department of Sustainable Energy Technology.
Before being selected for venture, Mahajan had already developed a cooperative relationship with Tongji University’s School of Environmental Science and Engineering for sharing technologies to promote the global use of biogas. The partnership, which dates to an agreement signed at the U.S. Department of State in 2013 as part of the Fifth U.S.-China Strategic and Economy Dialog, focuses on landfill biogas control and reutilization.
Angel Liang, from Tongji University’s International Exchange & Cooperation Office, said that it was Mahajan’s research on low-carbon energy technology development and implementation that caused Tongji University’s recruitment of him.
“Fugitive gases from landfills and other natural systems are of major concern to both China and the United States. As the State Key Laboratory for Pollution Control, Tongji University is keen on finding ways to control and utilize these greenhouse gases,” Liang said. “During Dr. Mahajan’s association with Tongji, we will benefit from his deep expertise in this area and work with him to establish a joint Energy and Environment center with focus on fugitive gases.”
The selection of Mahajan was part of China’s recruitment program for high-end foreign experts, which aims at foreign specialists who come to work in China for a short time. The experts are usually nominated by the president of a Chinese university. Then a selection committee in Beijing would evaluate the applicants.
The goal of this program, according to China’s State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs, is to recruit scientists, experts and international innovative teams that are able to achieve technology breakthroughs, advance the high-tech industries and promote new disciplines.
“China is also very interested in setting up a center for monitoring, control, and utilization of fugitive gases,” Mahajan said. “I will interact with multiple institutions in both the United States and China to facilitate setting up this center.”