Longstanding College of Engineering faculty member George Gogos, the Wilmer J. and Sally Hergenrader Chair of Mechanical Engineering, has been named director of the Nebraska Center for Energy Sciences Research, effective August 14, 2023.
The NCESR, chartered in 2006, is a collaboration between Nebraska Public Power District and the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. It supports innovative research and interdisciplinary collaboration by funding competitive seed grants for energy sciences research.
Gogos, who will continue his role as professor of mechanical and materials engineering, succeeds interim director Jerry Hudgins, professor and chair of electrical and computer engineering. He also serves as co-director for the Center for Electro-Optics and Functionalized Surfaces and is co-founder of two companies: one developing equipment for certified organic weed control and one focusing on thermal management using functionalized surfaces.
Gogos’ primary research areas include flow and heat transfer using surfaces functionalized with femtosecond lasers and flame weeding. This research is funded by the Office of Naval Research, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, National Science Foundation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Boeing, Honeywell, Textron Aviation and the Nebraska Department of Economic Development.
“My vision for NCESR is to grow it into a global leader in energy sciences research. In this effort, it is important to strike a balance between funding research in renewable forms of energy and research in other energy sources targeting increases in energy efficiency and carbon capture, including carbon-neutral sources such as nuclear technologies,” Gogos said. “This approach is extremely important. Approximately 78 percent of our energy currently derives from fossil fuels (coal, petroleum and natural gas) and it will take a few decades and energy storage technical breakthroughs for larger transitions to renewable forms of energy.
“To achieve this vision, I plan to work closely with NPPD leadership to build a community of UNL energy researchers and increase the visibility of NCESR nationally and internationally.”
Bob Wilhelm, vice chancellor for research and economic development, said, “We are very pleased to appoint George to this critical position. His experience as a researcher and innovator will serve the center well as it works with NPPD to advance efforts in energy education and research.”
Mark Riley, associate dean for research in the College of Engineering and associate director of NCESR, said energy sciences is “an important topic for our research activities both at the foundational level and with application-driven investigations that support Nebraska. Many areas of industrial growth in the state, including data centers, transportation and logistics, and manufacturing, will most certainly increase energy demands. Numerous agricultural advances being developed in Nebraska also are energy intensive.”
Gogos has been a faculty member since 1993 in the Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering and with a courtesy appointment in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering. He received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his master’s and doctorate degrees in mechanical engineering and applied mechanics from the University of Pennsylvania.
NCESR’s mission is to harness science and technology through diverse, inclusive and innovative workforce development in order to lead the way towards a sustainable energy future for Nebraska, the United States and the world.