Johnson Controls charges up its automotive battery research

Posted on 17 Dec 2014 by Tim Brown
The last step in the battery production process is the labelling and the final inspection of the battery at the Johnson Controls battery plant in Burgos, Spain
The battery production final inspection point at the Johnson Controls battery plant in Burgos, Spain - image courtesy of Johnson Controls.

Renewable energy expert Deyang Qu has been named as the Johnson Controls Endowed Professor in Energy Storage Research, a collaborative appointment between the company, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) and the Wisconsin Energy Institute (WEI).

The appointment, based at UW-Milwaukee’s College of Engineering and Applied Science and affiliated with WEI, is part of a collaboration among Johnson Controls, one of the world’s largest suppliers of automotive batteries, and two of the state’s largest public research universities.

The industry-academic partnership aims to advance research, development and commercialization of energy storage technologies.

Qu, a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Massachusetts Boston (UMass Boston) since 2005, will be responsible for providing long-term strategic coordination between the universities and the clean energy industry’s needs in matters of curricula, sponsored research and the talent pipeline development.

“I am honored by this appointment and look forward to helping lead joint projects that will get ideas and concepts about storing energy out of labs and into products,” said Qu. “This will also provide a unique opportunity for students to gain early exposure to the real-world of industrial engineering and my focus will be on developing student curricula to build the skill sets needed for advanced technology industries.”

Qu brings with him two Ph.D. students, one Senior Research Associate and a visiting professor.

During his tenure at UMass Boston, Qu built a recognized research program in energy storage systems for electric vehicles, smart-grid technology and military applications.

He holds three patents and brings existing grants from the U.S. Department of Energy and the Office of Naval Research.