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Hu Zhiyu: nano technology ignites the world of new energy

(sh-italent.cn)Updated : 2017-01-25

Hu Zhiyu, born in 1965 in Kunming, Yunnan province, is an expert in new energy and a member of the national "Thousand Talent Plan". He studied in the US in 1990 and returned to China in 2008. He is now the director of the Institute of Nano-Micro Energy at Shanghai University, and also the director of the National Key Laboratory of Science and Technology on Micro/Nano Fabrication at Shanghai Jiao Tong University.


The idea of applying nano technology to the field of new energy occurred to Hu when he worked as a researcher at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory for the US Department of Energy in 2005. After accidentally discovering that cotton tainted with nano-particles could be easily ignited when it came in contact with methyl alcohol, he discerned that some nano-particles could be used as a catalyst for burning at room temperature. He then published papers on nano-catalytic spontaneous ignition and self-supporting room-temperature combustion, and nanoscale energy conversion and its applications. According to him, such ignition can transform chemical energy into thermal energy or even electrical power, which can greatly reduce energy consumption and improve energy efficiency.

Although Hu made great academic achievements in the US, he decided to return to China after reading a report about China's severe pollution. "It is time for me to do something for my home country," Hu said to himself.

In 2008, He accepted the invitation from the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology to set up the Institute of Nano-Micro Energy at Shanghai University.

Hu and his group have since achieved a series of research results. For example, the digital high definition infrared micro thermal imagery products developed by him and his group have reached the same standard and performance of foreign products of their kind. A survey showed that the domestic demand for such products reached a number of at least 4,000, with a market worth of 5 billion yuan.

In addition, he and his group also invented China's first smart passport identification system, which is of great use and can be applied at border security check stations, banks and government agencies.

As a university professor, Hu has also paid great attention to teaching students. He not only asks students to obey moral principles, but also to think critically when facing a problem. He introduced advanced educational theories and management from home and abroad to cultivate talents with interdisciplinary knowledge, research and innovative abilities. He recruits graduate students from 12 majors at four schools, helping them expand their field research and pursue their initiatives.