The presidents of the University of Central Florida and Mitsubishi Power will meet Sept. 8 on UCF’s main campus in Orlando, alongside representatives from government, industry, and academia, to address the role of hydrogen in the nation’s push to achieve net-zero carbon emissions and elevate a longstanding partnership between the two organizations.
In the forum, Hydrogen: The Time is Now, UCF President Alexander N. Cartwright and Mitsubishi Power Americas President and CEO Bill Newsom will discuss collaborative opportunities to achieve net zero by 2050. Keynote speaker Jennifer Wilcox, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Fuels and Carbon Management principal deputy assistant secretary, will address the government’s role and recent legislative progress. Panels of experts will discuss the challenges and opportunities in creating a national hydrogen economy.
The forum comes at a critical time, as nations worldwide seek clean-energy solutions. Scientists and engineers are turning to the most abundant element, hydrogen, as a clean energy source that could produce enough energy to serve growing populations while reducing greenhouse gas emissions to “net zero” by 2050.
The power generation industry’s transition to hydrogen, which involves large-scale production, storage and distribution, is a complex challenge. Creating a hydrogen-based energy economy, according to Cartwright and Newsom, will require high-level collaborations and investments among academia, industry and government.
“UCF offers partnership opportunities through our multiple research centers that leverage faculty expertise in a variety of relevant areas — such as power generation and storage, combustion, modeling and simulation, energy grid technology, sustainability, aerospace and environmental engineering, and more,” Cartwright says. “UCF — among the nation’s largest producers of engineers and computer scientists — in partnership with Mitsubishi Power and others can play a key role in educating and training the talent pipeline required for a hydrogen-based energy economy.”
Mitsubishi Power, a global leader in power generation, has made major investments in recent years to create the infrastructure required to produce and store hydrogen, and transition existing power plants to clean hydrogen.
“We have set an ambitious goal to reach net zero across all MHI Group companies by 2040,” Newsom says. “In order to help meet this goal we are elevating our partnership with the University of Central Florida — a proven research powerhouse in the energy sector. Through this partnership, we will focus on innovation, research, and education to advance the energy transition.”
- UCF and Mitsubishi Power are longtime partners. Approximately a third of the company’s engineering/manufacturing workforce are UCF graduates.
- In the past 16 years, the company has provided internships for hundreds of UCF students.
- In 2012, UCF installed a Mitsubishi Power power plant on campus that in four years reduced UCF’s carbon footprint by 2,000 to 3,500 metric tons of CO2 per year in carbon emissions.
- In 2021, UCF and Mitsubishi Power developed and launched a nitrogen oxide emissions tracker
- Since 2021, Mitsubishi has been funding Professor Subith Vasu in UCF’s Center for Advanced Turbomachinery and Energy Systems to research and experimentally quantify hydrogen ignition safety boundaries for gas turbines. This effort is also supported by additional funding from the Florida High Tech Corridor Council.
- Mitsubishi is a collaborator on an $800,000 award to UCF from the U.S. Department of Energy, also led by Vasu. The effort focuses on better understanding how to implement hydrogen in modern electricity-generating turbines, including exploring the best fuel blends and their combustion characteristics
UCF’s Research and Academic Centers that Can Support a National Transition to Hydrogen-Based Clean Energy
CATER: Center for Advanced Turbomachinery and Energy Research — led by Pegasus Professor Jayanta Kapat, UCF Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
FSEC: Florida Solar Energy Center — led by Professor James Fenton, UCF Department of Materials Science and Engineering
RISES: Resilient, Intelligent and Sustainable Energy Systems — led by Pegasus Professor Zhihua Qu, UCF Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
REACT: Renewable Energy and Chemical Transformations — led by Pegasus Professor Talat Rahman, UCF Department of Physics
UCF School of Modeling, Simulation and Training — led by Director Grace Bochenek ’98PhD., former director of National Energy Technology Laboratory and former acting secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy