Colorado State University’s Bryan Willson Now Also Serving as Program Director for Research Arm of U.S. Department of Energy

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Colorado State University’s Bryan Willson, director of one of the largest independent engine testing laboratories of its kind and co-founder of Envirofit International, has accepted a short-term assignment as a program director for the U.S. Department of Energy’s research division.

A CSU mechanical engineering professor, Willson’s three-year assignment to the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy, known as ARPA-E, will focus on natural gas and stimulating new technologies to reduce the environmental impact of production and developing beneficial new uses for natural gas.

Willson will continue to serve in his position as director of CSU’s Engines and Energy Conversion Laboratory. He also is founding director of the university’s Clean Energy Supercluster, a campuswide effort to foster and support clean energy research in all eight CSU colleges and move technological advancements more quickly to the marketplace.

“This is a high honor for Dr. Willson and for the university,” said Bill Farland, vice president for Research at Colorado State. “The connections he builds through the Department of Energy will assist many researchers around the country including the great work being conducted here at CSU.”

Under Willson’s leadership over the past 20 years, the Engines and Energy Conversion Laboratory has done more than any group in the world to address impacts of natural gas pipelines, helping industry partners reduce environmental effects of natural gas compression as well as improve efficiency. Much of the research originated with new requirements for industry created through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 1990 Clean Air Act. Research is primarily focused on advanced ignition systems, fuel injection systems and aftertreatment systems.

“Natural gas will be a key component in our intentions as a nation of moving away from our reliance on oil to more renewable sources,” Willson said. “I look forward to this new opportunity with the DOE.”

Since founding the Engines and Energy Conversion Laboratory, or EECL, in 1992, Willson has been committed to using innovative science and engineering coupled with an entrepreneurial, market-based approach. The ultimate goal is to develop and disseminate solutions to global, large-scale energy problems.

Willson started the cookstoves program at the university and cofounded – with two students and another faculty member – Envirofit International, a private, non-profit technology leader using sustainable, scalable business models to solve global health and environmental problems. Earlier this year, the university, Envirofit and Oak Ridge National Laboratory were honored by the Federal Laboratory Consortium for designing and disseminating a cleaner burning cookstove that is directly helping households throughout the developing world.

The Engines and Energy Conversion Laboratory twice has been named on the list of Popular Science’s 25 “Most Awesome College Labs.” Willson’s many personal awards include being named to the “Scientific American 10” honor roll for innovations that benefit humanity. He is also an International Fellow of the Society of Automotive Engineers.