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Five faculty wearing nice clothes line up

Chemistry professor and colleague recognized with Institute of Energy and the Environment Award

30 January 2024

Donghai Wang and Adri van Duin are one of three teams recognized with Institute of Energy and the Environment’s Research Awards at the IEE Reception on Jan. 18 at the Hintz Family Alumni Center. Each two-person team was nominated by the Penn State community for their collaborative, interdisciplinary research efforts and mentorship.

Wang is a professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering with an appointment in chemical engineering and van Duin is a distinguished professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering with appointments in chemical engineering, engineering science and mechanics, chemistry, and materials science and engineering, 

Bruce Logan, IEE’s director, said these awards not only celebrate individual accomplishments but also reflect the spirit of collaboration and excellence that defines the Penn State community.

“We are thrilled to recognize the outstanding achievements of these esteemed researchers at Penn State. The collaborative efforts of our award recipients highlight the transformative impact of interdisciplinary research,” Logan said. “Their dedication underscores the vital role played by our faculty in addressing complex energy and environmental challenges and fostering international cooperation.” 

Wang and van Duin received the Advancement of Knowledge Award. This award recognizes a team of two or more Penn State faculty whose interdisciplinary research in one of the five IEE themes has led to a significant advance in science as shown by a peer-reviewed article.  

Wang and van Duin received the award for their paper "Stable metal anodes enabled by a labile organic molecule bonded to a reduced graphene oxide aerogel," published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2020. Their collaborative effort addressed a critical challenge in energy research in lithium battery technologies, which addressed uneven metal plating and stripping at metal anodes. Their work not only advanced battery development, but it was also made possible by engaging students from several different departments and colleges. 

The awards process was guided by IEE’s Award Committee, which is led by Chris Gorski. The committee members are Ying Gu, Jessica Myrick and Chris Scott.