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Institute for Combustion Science




                                        Dr. Yan Cao

Professor of Chemistry

                          Western Kentucky University


This is a pivotal moment for the Institute for Combustion Science and Environmental Technology (ICSET), as there are shifts on many fronts that I would like to share with you.

The root of ICSET started with the creation of the Thermal Analysis Laboratory on the 4th floor of Thompson Complex in 1986. The Combustion Laboratory followed soon thereafter with ICSET's first fluidized bed combustor in the basement of College Heights Hall in 1993, and then in 2001 the Emissions and Control Laboratory was established in the present day WKU South Campus. The years between 2002 and 2006 saw phenomenal growth, that by 2006 all three laboratories had been moved to ICSET's current location at WKU's Center for Research and Development. The achievements of ICSET during the last 27 years have been due in large part to Dr. Wei-Ping Pan's vision, hard work, and dedication to science.

As the new director of ICSET, I have been given some very large shoes to fill. However, I have a vision and a clear plan that will not only ensure that ICSET remains on the cutting edge of research, but continue to push ahead for innovation and technological developments. My plan for the future is to continue developing our solid knowledge base of coal combustion technology, energy utilization, and thermal analysis research. Then, to augment our efficiency and proficiency in these areas by developing advanced materials which yield synergistic results to our base. In keeping true of this, the Thermophysical properties of Material Laboratory was established on August 5, 2013, which further expands the capability of Institute, and provide an added services for our research client, both internally and externally.

We foresee the need for the development of novel materials and technology that will reduce mercury emissions from coal fired power plants. We also envision being a leader in developing the new materials that will increase the operating efficiency of coal fired power plants. Thus, our goals for the next five years are ambitious as we prepare to:

• Continue investigating the development of the chemical looping combustion process
• Continue examining efficient conversions of coal and biomass to clean gases
• Continue exploring the incineration of different waste materials including coal waste, biomass and waste liquids
• Initialize the new development and research, such as functional engineered materials, microfluidic devices, micro-fabrication-manufacturing engineering

At the heart of ICSET is a staff of highly skilled individuals that I look forward to working with, and in ICSET tradition, a host of undergraduate, graduate, and international students that round out the teaching aspect of the institute. Truly, the most difficult and challenging aspect of director is to formulate a plan of action, whereby each student, staff, and fellow faculty develop his/her ultimate level of attainment. The institute is a collaborative unit that works with many different departments both on and off campus. I am excited at the additional focus and new initiatives that are on the horizon for ICSET!

We thank you for your support and look forward to working with you in the near future!








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 Last Modified 9/24/14