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Automotive researcher honoured by international peers

The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) has named UWindsor engineering professor Ming Zheng an SAE Fellow in recognition of his achievements in engineering, science and leadership.

SAE International is a global association of more than 138,000 engineers and related technical experts in the aerospace, automotive and commercial vehicle industries.

“I’m honoured my colleagues nominated me,” says Dr. Zheng, director of the Clean Combustion Engine Laboratory and a professor in the Department of Mechanical, Automotive and Materials Engineering. “This signifies Windsor as a major university in automotive research, we are up against peers at the best research institutions in the world.”

Zheng joined the University 13 years ago and led the team that established the Clean Combustion Engine Laboratory. In 2003, he was awarded Canada Research Chair in Clean Diesel Engine Technologies.

In their official nomination letter, colleagues wrote that Zheng’s leadership spans his 25-year career in the field and that his research in combustion and emission control raised sustained interest and support from industry and government.

His research centre at UWindsor has won recognition world-wide for innovations in clean and efficient combustion engines, which supports the training of highly qualified personnel and showcases collaboration between academic, industrial, and governmental research institutions.

Zheng says his lab was created from scratch, and one decade later, has raised over $12 million from industry and governmental sources for 56 projects. The lab houses more than $10 million worth of research equipment, half contributed by industry. He says leading automotive researchers in the world have adopted his team’s pioneering research methods.

“One ideology that sets us apart from most industry and academic research, is that we admit that when trying to burn fuels cleaner, the fuel efficiency always tends to suffer,” says Zheng. “But explicitly discussing this challenge gives us more leverage on how to overcome efficiency reduction. It helps us be creative with research solutions.”

Zheng’s research consortium boasts 12 patents, some in collaboration with leading automotive original equipment manufacturers.

“The clean combustion engine research is good for the image of UWindsor,” says Zheng. “Becoming an SAE Fellow is fairly rare for a Canadian researcher and will help with securing funding, keeping our lead, and attracting quality students and faculty.”

The 2016 awards ceremony, Honoring Excellence, takes place in Detroit in April.