Professor Jian Sun Named Director of Center for Future Energy Systems at Rensselaer

February 9, 2011

Professor Jian Sun Named Director of Center for Future Energy Systems at Rensselaer

NYSTAR-Funded Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Focuses on Green, Renewable Energy Technologies

Jian Sun

Power electronics expert Jian Sun has been named director of the Center for Future Energy Systems (CFES) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

As director of CFES, Sun is responsible for overseeing and developing the center’s research programs, as well as facilitating strategic growth and securing new industrial partnerships. The center, funded by the New York State Foundation for Science, Technology, and Innovation (NYSTAR), aims to connect the expertise of academic researchers with forward-thinking companies to develop and commercialize new, innovative renewable energy technologies.

“Dr. Sun has a strong background in power electronics, technology transfer, and research administration,” said Francine Berman, vice president for research at Rensselaer. “He will lead CFES at a time when renewable energy is a top priority both in the U.S. and globally. We look forward to seeing the Center for Future Energy Systems meet the challenges of our time and grow in success and impact under Jian’s leadership.”

“NYSTAR welcomes Dr. Jian Sun as the new director of the Center for Future Energy Systems at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Dr. Sun is an internationally recognized researcher in the areas of electric power generation and distribution, power electronics, and renewable energy systems. He has demonstrated outstanding leadership in research programs and entrepreneurship in business development,” said NYSTAR Executive Director Edward Reinfurt.

Sun, associate professor in the Department of Electrical, Computer, and Systems Engineering at Rensselaer, is a well-known researcher in the areas of power electronics and electric energy conversion. He said strong partnerships between academic and industry will be critical for advancing New York as a world leader in green energy, and for meeting the state’s goal of producing at least 25 percent of its power generation through renewable energy sources by 2013.

“At CFES, we are actively seeking new energy materials, devices, and system technologies that will lead to fundamental knowledge and transformational changes in energy conservation and efficiency,” Sun said. “Research taking place at CFES spans the threshold of renewable and clean technologies, from wind and solar to bioenergy and fuel cells, and also includes studies in smart building architectures, the smart grid, and smart lighting. There is no shortage of engineering and scientific expertise at Rensselaer, and we want to leverage that collective knowledge to solve key energy challenges while promoting economic growth and job creation within New York state.”

Sun joined the Rensselaer faculty as an associate professor in 2002, and served as acting director of CFES for most of 2010. Prior to joining Rensselaer, he worked as principal engineer and senior design engineer from 1997 to 2002 at aerospace and defense contractor Rockwell Collins, at the firm’s research and development center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Sun worked in 1996-97 as a postdoctoral fellow at Georgia Institute of Technology, and in 1995-96 as a research associate in Germany at the University of Paderborn. He started his professional career in 1984, designing aircraft electrical systems at the research and development center of the Xian Aircraft Company in Xian, China.

A prolific researcher, Sun has written three book chapters and more than 130 peer-reviewed journal papers and conference proceedings on topics related to power electronics. He holds seven U.S. patents related to integrated magnetics and high-frequency magnetic components design. He is also very active in his professional communities, currently serving as the editor-in-chief for the journal IEEE Power Electronics Letters. Today, Sun’s research focus is primarily in the areas of renewable energy, smart grids, and autonomous energy systems. More specifically, his studies include power conditioning and grid integration of wind and solar energy, smart and micro grids modeling and control, energy storage, and system energy management. He said his vision is to make the power grid as efficient, smart, and reliable as commercial aircraft power systems.

Sun received his bachelor’s degree in 1984 from the Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and went on earn his master’s degree in 1989 from the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He earned his doctoral degree in 1995 from the University of Paderborn. All of his degrees are in electrical engineering.

CFES is one of 15 Centers for Advanced Technology (CAT) designated and funded by NYSTAR. The CAT program was created in 1983 to promote the transfer of technology from New York state’s top research universities to its industries. The goal is to enhance commercially viable product development in the private sector. There are 15 CATs across New York engaged in the support of university/industry collaborative research and technology transfer in a range of technologies.

For more information on Sun and the CFES at Rensselaer, visit:

Contact: Michael Mullaney
Phone: (518) 276-6161


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