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College of Engineering and Computing


Savannah River National Laboratory and UofSC strengthen ties with joint faculty appointment

Savannah River National Laboratory and the University of South Carolina recently joined forces to build regional smart manufacturing partnerships and provide electromechanical research expertise. John W. Weidner, department chair and professor of Chemical Engineering in the College of Engineering and Computing, assumed a faculty joint appointment to serve both institutions to further advance manufacturing capabilities in the region.

“This joint appointment is an important milestone as we increase our partnership with Savannah River National Laboratory,” says Dean Hossein Haj-Hariri, College of Engineering and Computing. “John’s expertise serves as an excellent step in our joint efforts to build relationships between academia and industry.”

In his new role, Weidner will be engaged in building partnerships among regional companies, universities and other U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratories to support Savannah River’s secure energy manufacturing and advanced manufacturing initiatives. The role will also serve to increase the lab’s involvement with the Rapid Advancement in Process Intensification Deployment (RAPID) Manufacturing Institute and the Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute (CESMII).

Weidner will be involved with Savannah River’s Laboratory Directed Research and Development program to establish new projects in advanced manufacturing, nuclear materials treatment and processing, secure energy and environmental management. In addition, he will provide expertise in material development, modeling and theory validation for lab projects of an electromechanical nature.

“I’m excited about this role and the college’s continuing relationship with Savannah River National Laboratory,” says Weidner. “The work is extremely important, and I look forward to helping accelerate our advanced manufacturing and energy research.”

Weidner leads the college’s Hydrogen and Fuel-Cell Center, which helps industry advance the technology and commercialization of hydrogen and fuel cells. The center trains graduate students and conducts research within the areas of fuel cell and electrolyzer design and performance; mathematical modeling of electrochemical systems and components; and electrocatalyst development.

The joint appointment will increase the development of relationships between academia and industry. This will enable students to receive more hands-on experience in the workforce and build valuable connections with professors and working professionals.

Weidner holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and a doctorate in chemical engineering from North Carolina State University. He has published over 100 refereed journal articles and is internationally recognized in the field of electrochemical engineering. He is a fellow of both the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) and the Electrochemical Society (ECS).

Savannah River National Laboratory is a multi-program national laboratory for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management that provides practical, cost-effective solutions for the nation’s environmental, nuclear security, energy and manufacturing challenges.