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Monday, 31 October 2011

Engineer aims to create array of clean-energy jobs in Delaware
Oct 30, 2011

Yushan Yan's new laboratory in Newark is just starting to show signs of life -- vibrancy that state and University of Delaware officials hope will springboard innovation in coming years.

Yan is a new engineering professor at the university, and arrived here this summer with a 16-person crew: nine early-career scientists and seven eager doctoral candidates. They followed the renowned energy researcher across the country, from the University of California at Riverside.

Some had hung a sign in their new space at the Delaware Technology Park, a nonprofit campus for start-ups and established business: "Welcome to Yan's House of Science."

The house goal: commercialization. Yan, who has already licensed technology to start-up commercial ventures, says he hopes to market fuel cell membranes and catalysts that can help cheaply convert hydrogen into power for homes and cars, and lead to efficient batteries for clean energy storage. It's technology that could, theoretically, create a bounty of clean energy jobs in Delaware and elsewhere.

"I really want to commercialize technology that can improve society," said Yan, who is working on technology to replace platinum in fuel cell materials to drive down their price. "We don't wish to build a ninth floor on an eight story building. We want to start from the foundation."Some say Yan's recruitment -- and his $1.9 million setup, financed by the tech park campus and paid for by a lease to the university -- is yet another manifestation of the school's foray into state economic development. Babatunde A. Ogunnaike, a professor and interim dean of the university's chemical engineering department, said "a significant part of the driving force" behind Yan's recruitment was that the professor has skill in commercializing research ideas.
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