An aviation industry veteran with more than 30 years of experience at General Electric and 80 patents to his name will be joining the Cullen College of Engineering's Computer and Electrical Engineering Department as a Distinguished Adjunct Professor, to teach a new generation of students.
Hao Huang, Ph.D., starts at the University of Houston effective July 2021. He retired from the position of Technology Chief of G.E. Aviation – Electrical Power in 2020 after 33 years serving in Aviation and Land Vehicle Electrification industries. He was responsible for generating technical directions, innovation strategies and multi-generation product roadmaps, and contributing innovations and inventions of aircraft electrical power technologies to that industry.
“I had 80 U.S. patents and pending in electrification” he said. “In February of this year, I was elected as a member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) with citation 'for contributions to advances in electric machines and power electronics technologies for aerospace electrical systems.' Election to the NAE membership is one of the highest professional honors accorded an engineer.”
In addition to NAE membership, Huang is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) as of 2013, and a Fellow of the Society of Automotive and Aerospace Engineers (SAE) as of 2014. He was also the winner of 2019 IEEE Transportation Technologies Award.
After retirement, Huang thought about what he wanted to do next, and the field of education appealed to him.
“After the retirement from GE and the election to the NAE, I thought a lot about what I should do for society in the rest of my retirement life,” he said. “Helping engineering education was the idea that jumped to the top of my list. When I was in industries, particularly at GE Aviation and Smiths Aerospace, I saw the great needs to fill some gaps to accelerate the young and just graduated engineers from universities to perform their jobs, to accelerate their industrial learning, and to grow their capabilities to serve the companies. I realize that if I am helping with teaching as well as research in one or two universities, I may be able to help the universities and industries to effectively narrow these gaps due to my experience, knowledge and vision in field.”
Huang said he shared his post-GE goals with Kaushik Rajashekara, a Distinguished Professor of Engineering in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, who is also a member of the NAE, IEEE and SAE.
“He has been a member of the NAE for years, and he also came from the aerospace industry, although he came in at much younger age. He understood my desire and was very supportive, and he introduced me to the department chair Professor Badri Roysam,” Huang said. “I then had an opportunity to meet the Dean of the Engineering School, Dr. Joseph Tedesco, and then I was offered this position.”
Huang said he was excited to help students through the next transition phase of the aerospace industry.
“Aerospace is experiencing a major advancement or revolution – electrification, including more electrical aircraft (MEA) and hybrid electrical propulsion (HEP), and addressing the challenges of energy conservation and environmental challenges, such as pollution, noise and greenhouse issues,” he said. “Regarding what is electrification, long story short, MEA is to electrify the aircraft systems – hydraulic system and pneumatic system – while HEP is a big step further – electrifying the engine that provides the aircraft propulsion. This whole electrification is and will be opening up huge opportunities for the young engineer generations in next few decades to come. Renewable energy is one of the aspects in MEA and HEP.”
Huang's first course offering will be ECE5388, Renewable and Efficient Electric Power Systems.
“Although aerospace is not a focus in this course, the concepts utilizing renewable energies will be very adaptive to aerospace,” he said. “Utilization of renewable energy is a big trend, and learning about it is important for the generations to come. Obviously new engineering generations need to be ready for this mega trend and challenge.”
Huang is also working on a new book that can be used by this generation of students.
“One of my goals is to co-author a new book and start a new course, Electrical Power Systems and Components for Modern Aircraft Electrification, after the book is ready,” he said. “The purpose of these is in line with my primary motivation – helping young engineers who just came into the aerospace field the electrical power industries that will accelerate their learning curves and maximize their abilities.”
Huang received his doctorate in Electrical Engineering from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He received his M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Hohai University in Nanjing, China, and his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Tsinghua University in Beijing, China.
When it came to his professional accomplishments, Huang pointed to the citation he received from the NAE “for contributions to advances in electric machines and power electronics technologies for aerospace electrical systems.” His team at GE also had a list of accomplishments that he was particularly proud of:
- The world's first aircraft main engine starter and generator (S/G) (250kW) with regenerative and sensorless commutation capabilities for Aerospace.
- The world's first aerospace 1 MW dual spool electrical power extraction (250kW from the high spool and 750kW from the low spool) from a GE F110 engine.
- The U.S. first Silicon Carbide (SiC) based aircraft electric power system, including all subsystems having been utilized in the two new U.S. air vehicles developed by a major U.S. aircraft manufacturer.
- The aerospace’s first +/-270V DC aircraft electrical system and subsystems for next generation narrow body aircraft funded by the FAA.
- The aerospace’s first ADDITIVE manufacturing technology based aircraft synchronous electric generator (120kVA).
- The world first MW power, kV voltage, high altitude electric motor utilized to drive an aircraft propulsive propeller.
- The world’s most advanced electrical power integrated systems center (EPISCenter) in GE Aviation in Dayton, Ohio.
“I am very pleased that for almost all of these I was able to conceive the concepts, invent the ideas, provide the technical leadership, and closely work with the team to work through the critical issues to achieve success,” he said. “I will share my experiences of these things in the courses that I will teach at the UH whenever appropriate.”