University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Press Release

Unprecedented industry-academic partnership to focus on energy storage as Johnson Controls and UWM and UW-Madison name endowed professorship

The appointment, based at UW-Milwaukee’s College of Engineering & Applied Science and affiliated with WEI, is part of a collaboration among Johnson Controls, and two of the state’s largest public research universities.

By - Dec 11th, 2014 09:14 am

MILWAUKEE – Dec. 11, 2014 – Renewable energy expert Deyang Qu has been named as the Johnson Controls Endowed Professor in Energy Storage Research, a collaborative appointment between the company, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) and the Wisconsin Energy Institute (WEI) in the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s College of Engineering. He begins his new duties in Milwaukee January 15.

“I am honored by this appointment and look forward to helping lead joint projects that will get ideas and concepts about storing energy out of labs and into products,” said Qu. “This will also provide a unique opportunity for students to gain early exposure to the real-world of industrial engineering and my focus will be on developing student curricula to build the skill sets needed for advanced technology industries.”

The appointment, based at UW-Milwaukee’s College of Engineering & Applied Science and affiliated with WEI, is part of a collaboration among Johnson Controls, the world’s leading supplier of automotive batteries, and two of the state’s largest public research universities. The industry-academic partnership aims to advance research, development and commercialization of energy storage technologies.

Qu, a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Massachusetts Boston (UMass Boston) since 2005, will be responsible for providing long-term strategic coordination between the universities and the clean energy industry’s needs in matters of curricula, sponsored research and the talent pipeline development.

“With his history of academic excellence and industry experience, we are fortunate to have Dr. Qu join the universities and Johnson Controls,” said MaryAnn Wright, vice president Engineering and Product Development, Johnson Controls Power Solutions. “He will take the lead for the applied research and development projects we already have in place, execute new technology development projects and will continue to mature the skill sets needed to foster future employees to ensure we meet our goal of groundbreaking discoveries in energy storage technologies.”

In addition to the endowed professorship, Johnson Controls’ multi-million dollar investment in research already has produced two joint laboratories at UWM’s College of Engineering & Applied Science, where faculty, students and the company’s scientists work side-by-side. One of the labs is a state-of-the-art “dry pilot manufacturing” lab, the only one of its kind on a university campus in North America, which enables work on the next generation of Lithium-ion batteries.

“This endowed professorship is a model of success for our students as they build expertise and skills that immediately transfer to the needs of future-focused companies like Johnson Controls,” said UWM Interim Chancellor Mark Mone. “I’m grateful to Johnson Controls for strengthening our deep working relations with this appointment. Our regional and state economies benefit greatly from joint efforts such as this. I am pleased by the naming of Deyang Qu as endowed professor and the resulting growth in collaboration.”

The company also has funded and installed the Johnson Controls Energy Storage Research Lab, housed in the Wisconsin Energy Institute at UW-Madison, to test, evaluate and optimize how battery systems perform and interact with a vehicle’s powertrain and electrical architecture.

“Professor Qu is a wonderful addition to the University of Wisconsin as the Johnson Controls chair. His research has encompassed broad engineering interests, including the development of high performance energy storage systems for emerging electric vehicle technologies, and fundamental material and electrochemistry research,” said Michael Corradini, the Wisconsin Distinguished Professor of engineering physics at UW-Madison and WEI director. “He will be a great addition to the Wisconsin Energy Institute and collaborator in the Center for Renewable Energy Systems.”

Qu brings with him two Ph.D. students and one Senior Research Associate.

During his tenure at UMass Boston, Qu built a recognized research program in energy storage systems for electric vehicles, smart-grid technology and military applications.

He holds three patents and brings existing grants from the U.S. Department of Energy and the Office of Naval Research.

Qu earned a Ph.D. from the University of Ottawa in Canada and a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Wuhan University in China. For more than a dozen years he worked in research for private industry, including Rayovac Corporation (now called Spectrum Brands) and Emtech Technology Corporation (Ashurst Technology Center).

About Johnson Controls:

Johnson Controls is a global diversified technology and industrial leader serving customers in more than 150 countries. Our 170,000 employees create quality products, services and solutions to optimize energy and operational efficiencies of buildings; lead-acid automotive batteries and advanced batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles; and interior systems for automobiles. Our commitment to sustainability dates back to our roots in 1885, with the invention of the first electric room thermostat. Through our growth strategies and by increasing market share we are committed to delivering value to shareholders and making our customers successful. In 2014, Corporate Responsibility Magazine recognized Johnson Controls as the #12 company in its annual “100 Best Corporate Citizens” list. For additional information, please visit and @johnsoncontrols on Twitter.

About UWM:

As Wisconsin’s premier public urban institution, UWM enjoys a growing national reputation for excellence in research, teaching and community engagement. On an operating budget of $680 million, it educates nearly 28,000 students and is an engine of innovation for Southeastern Wisconsin. The 104-acre main campus and satellite sites are located in the economic and cultural heart of the state. The university’s recent expansion includes new academic and research facilities, and the creation of the Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health and the only School of Freshwater Sciences in the United States.

About the Wisconsin Energy Institute:

The Wisconsin Energy Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is a world-class leader in clean energy research, education and outreach. Home to the nation’s first solar energy lab and the only Department of Energy-funded bioenergy research center on an academic campus, WEI supports the efforts of hundreds of faculty, scientists and students working across traditional research boundaries to make game-changing energy discoveries. WEI continues UW-Madison’s legacy of solving large-scale problems by developing strategies for clean, efficient and economic energy for the state, nation and world.

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