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International clean energy expert joins UB as Empire Innovation Professor

Jim P. Zheng is an Empire Innovation Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering. Photo credit: FAMU-FSU Engineering/M Wallheiser.

By JANE STOYLE WELCH

Published February 13, 2020

“Jim joins our department at an extremely fortuitous and critical time, as New York State seeks to make key strategic investments in emerging technologies for clean energy.”
Jonathan Bird, professor and chair
Department of Electrical Engineering

Jim P. Zheng, a recognized leader in battery technology and UB alumnus, has rejoined his alma mater to help advance research in clean energy.

Zheng, who returns to UB after a decorated career of more than 30 years in academia and national laboratories, has been named an Empire Innovation Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering.

“Jim joins our department at an extremely fortuitous and critical time, as New York State seeks to make key strategic investments in emerging technologies for clean energy,” says Jonathan Bird, professor and chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering. “He will help to spearhead efforts with our existing excellent faculty in the areas of nanotechnology, energy systems and transportation.

“His outstanding success in translating his research into the commercial sphere will also allow him to interact effectively with industry,” Bird says. “We are all delighted that Jim has decided to join us and look forward to high-profile developments in his research in the coming years.”

Prior to joining UB, Zheng was a Sprint Eminent Scholar Chair and a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Florida A&M University and Florida State University.

“Jim was a pioneer in many ways in our department,” says Sastry Pamidi, chair of the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “His work on energy-storage devices was innovative and he was a respected member of our faculty. Our department and the college wish him the best at the University at Buffalo, both personally and professionally. We will continue working with him collaboratively.”

A fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, Zheng has been awarded 21 patents, five of which have been licensed by private companies. He is founder of General Capacitor LLC and co-founder of Bing Energy International Inc.

Zheng’s research focus is in the areas of nanomaterials and nanotechnology, energy-storage materials and devices, fuel cells, and photonic and chemical sensors.

A member of the Materials Research Society, the Electrochemical Society and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, he is a prolific scholar, publishing more than 160 articles in scholarly journals and 140 papers in conference proceedings. His research has been funded by numerous federal agencies, including the National Science Foundation, NASA and the Department of Defense.

Among his many awards and honors are the National Research Council Fellow Award in 1993, the Army Research & Development Achievement Award in 1997, the NASA Faculty Research Award in 1999, and the Progress Energy Professional Development Award in 2005.

Zheng received a bachelor’s degree in physics from Fudan University in China, and master’s and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering from UB in 1986 and 1990, respectively. Prior to his career in academia, Zheng worked at the Sensors and Electron Devices Directorate of the U.S. Army Research Laboratory in Fort Monmouth, N.J.

The Empire Innovation Program (SUNY EIP) is a state-funded competitive grant program dedicated to recruiting and retaining world-class faculty SUNY. EIP scholars drive innovation, enhance partnerships with business and industry, increase tech transfer, create opportunities for student research, and increase the competitiveness of SUNY’s professional and graduate education programs.