James Wood, former deputy assistant secretary for clean coal in the U.S. Department of Energy, will succeed founding director, Professor Jerry Fletcher.
In his role with the Energy Department, Wood was responsible for the country’s $4.5-billion Clean Coal Program. He most recently was chairman, president and CEO of ThermoEnergy Corp., a Massachusetts-based company focused on industrial wastewater treatment and power generation technologies.
“We are excited that we were able to recruit someone with Mr. Wood’s experience for this position,” said Fred King, vice president for research at WVU. “His experience with the DOE and the energy industry prepares him well to take on this role.”
King said Wood would help build stronger ties between industry and academia to advance global clean coal technologies.
The U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center was established between the U.S. and China in 2009 to focus on technologies for improving the energy efficiency of buildings, advanced coal and clean vehicles. The US Department of Energy selected WVU to manage the $25 million Consortium.
“The Consortium has made important contributions in helping to guide the U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center through its initial formation, and collaborations with public, private and academic participants in the U.S. and China,” Wood said.
Wood’s goals for the Center include continuing the University’s collaborative efforts with industry, government and other academic institutions on clean energy initiatives.
“WVU has been a leader in clean energy research,” Wood said.
“Seeing a problem today, and providing its solution tomorrow means a focus on a variety of research activities, including connections to and collaborations with governments, industry, NGOs and other academic research institutions. You might start 10 experiments, to find only one has promise. Then you need to convince industry to try the invention beyond the bench or pilot scale size. If it shows promise past that point, industry might be interested in a longer term, larger scale test. Only after success at that scale and time, might industry adopt the product and create a market.”