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Three Renowned Argonne Scientists Accept Joint Appointments at the University of Houston
Rashda Khan
L to R: Scientists Michael Wang, Zachary Hood and Jianlin Li with Argonne and UH.
L to R: Scientists Michael Wang, Zachary Hood and Jianlin Li with Argonne and UH.

Three top researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory have accepted joint appointments in various capacities at the University of Houston. These appointments are part of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) Argonne signed recently with the Greater Houston Partnership.

The MoU creates greater collaboration across academia, industry, private investors and government to accelerate and scale decarbonization efforts in the region, with the goal of achieving a net-zero emissions economy by 2050, according to an Argonne press release.

“This strategic collaboration leverages the combined strengths of Argonne and the University to further critical research efforts, public-private partnerships and educational opportunities for students in the energy transition and lead to transformational advancement of commercial scale energy industries,” said Ramanan Krishnamoorti, vice president for energy and innovation at UH.

Michael Wang, senior scientist and director of the Systems Assessment Center — Environmental Assessment Leader within Argonne’s Energy Systems and Infrastructure Analysis Division, is the inaugural Distinguished Senior Scholar at UH’s Energy Transition Institute (ETI).

A trailblazer in life-cycle analysis, Wang developed Argonne's widely utilized GREET (Greenhouse gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy use in Technologies) model, which boasts over 60,000 registered users worldwide. It has influenced regulatory development and compliance in organizations such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In his ETI role, Wang will foster collaborations between the Institute, energy companies and federal agencies. His key objectives include advancing research in decarbonizing the oil and gas sector through carbon management and transitioning to emerging energy technologies like hydrogen and renewable energy sources. He will also enhance the Institute’s analytic capabilities to provide comprehensive evaluations of energy technologies, policies and regulations.

Wang will conduct seminars and present invited class lectures in environmental sustainability, life cycle and techno-economic analysis of energy technologies, while helping Argonne tap into the University’s talent pool, recruiting students for future opportunities.

“With more than 30 years of experience, Dr. Wang brings critical tools and expertise to the UH Energy Transition Institute, which is dedicated to unlocking the transformative potential within three critical domains: hydrogen, carbon management and circular plastics. These areas not only present opportunities for reshaping the energy sector but also stand as pillars for societal sustainable development and decarbonization,” said Joe Powell, founding executive director of ETI.

Zachary Hood, group leader and material scientist in Argonne’s Applied Materials Division (AMD), has accepted a joint appointment in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the UH Cullen College of Engineering. He will be hosted by Yan Yao, the Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Distinguished Professor and principal investigator at the Texas Center for Superconductivity.

Yao and his team are globally known for their research involving next-generation batteries using abundant, low-cost organic materials. Hood heads the Advanced Chemical Storage Group at Argonne, leading pioneering efforts in synthetic approaches for state-of-the-art solid-state materials. This collaboration aims to fast-track research on solid-state batteries, focusing on innovating manufacturing processes for battery components and establishing crucial foundations for future energy storage technologies.

Jianlin Li, manager of the Energy Storage and Conversion Department in AMD at Argonne, has a joint appointment in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Cullen College. His plans include establishing a dry room facility at UH and conducting research on emerging energy storage technologies, advanced electrode processing and cell manufacturing.

"This collaboration signifies a significant step towards bridging the gap between academia and industry to drive impactful change in the energy landscape," Krishnamoorti said. “We look forward to working with Argonne and Houston Energy Transition Initiative (HETI) to deliver an energy system that is affordable, reliable and sustainable for all.”

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