Adam Gladen, associate professor of mechanical engineering, was appointed the inaugural KFI Engineers Professor of Energy Stewardship during a ceremony at the NDSU McGovern Alumni Center on Oct. 26.
The position is funded by a $300,000 investment from KFI Engineers with the goal of building the NDSU College of Engineering into a national leader in energy stewardship by attracting and retaining top faculty.
“Energy impacts our wallets, our environment, and our national security,” Gladen said. “We all use energy every day; no one wants to go back to the Stone Age, and we, as people, have a responsibility to be good and wise stewards of the resources we have.”
Since joining NDSU, Gladen has built a nationally recognized research program focusing on thermal energy systems with an emphasis on solar energy, energy storage technologies and electrochemical systems.
In just the last two years, his team has been awarded more than $4 million in funding, including $1.8 million from the Department of Energy to develop a novel thermochemical adsorption material for energy storage and over $500,000 from the National Science Foundation as part of a multi-institution project to provide sustainable, reliable and efficient engineering infrastructures and solutions for tribal energy sovereignty.
“Our long-term goal is to reduce energy usage in homes, offices, and other buildings. This can lead to significant savings for the owner, especially in states like North Dakota that have high heating loads.
“None of these advancements would be possible without the hard work of our graduate students, undergraduate researchers, and campus collaborators,” Gladen added. “Our student researchers at NDSU work very hard to move the research forward.”
In addition to providing funding for groundbreaking research, the gift from KFI Engineers allowed the Department of Mechanical Engineering to hire a new professor of practice specializing in thermal fluid sciences and energy stewardship.
Professors of practice focus on undergraduate teaching and bring important industry experience to provide students with real-world examples of the theory taught in class.
“By investing in our energy stewardship initiative, we’ll be able to build a national reputation in this area and develop new courses and labs that will enhance our educational offerings and give our students the skills companies need,” said Alan Kallmeyer, interim dean of the College of Engineering.
The support for an energy stewardship program is part of a larger effort in the College of Engineering to grow teaching and research in areas of high economic importance to North Dakota, the region, and the world. Other high-impact growth areas include precision agriculture and autonomous systems, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity, advanced infrastructure, and entrepreneurship and commercialization of new technology.
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