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Klein appointed Dan Rich Chair of Energy, director of UD Energy Institute

May 6, 2010--Michael Klein has been named the University of Delaware's Dan Rich Chair of Energy and director of the UD Energy Institute (UDEI), Provost Tom Apple announced today. The appointment is effective July 1.

Klein, a native of Delaware and both a UD alumnus and former faculty member, currently is the Board of Governors Professor of Chemical Engineering at Rutgers University. He served as dean of engineering at Rutgers from 1998 to 2008.

“Energy is one of the most serious challenges facing the world today,” Apple said. “Michael Klein brings great knowledge, talent, and ambition to the University of Delaware as our Dan Rich Chair of Energy. We look forward to his scholarship and to his leadership in expanding the capabilities, resources, and impacts of the UD Energy Institute locally, nationally, and internationally.”

Klein, who also receives an appointment as chemical engineering professor with tenure in UD's College of Engineering, is an expert in chemical reaction engineering, with special emphasis on the kinetics of complex systems. He has received numerous awards throughout his career including the R. H. Wilhelm Award in Chemical Reaction Engineering from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the National Science Foundation's Presidential Young Investigator Award, and the American Chemical Society's Delaware Valley Section Award.

Ranked among the top 100 authors for citations in Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research, Klein has written over 200 research articles. He is editor-in-chief of the American Chemical Society journal Energy and Fuels and the reaction engineering topical editor for the Encyclopedia of Catalysis. He also is on the editorial board for Reviews in Process Chemistry and Engineering and the McGraw-Hill Chemical Engineering series.

Born and raised in Wilmington, Del., Klein received his bachelor's degree from UD in 1977 and doctorate from MIT in 1981. While on the UD faculty from 1981 to 1998, he served as associate dean, director of the Center for Catalytic Science and Technology, and chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering, and was appointed Elizabeth Inez Kelley Professor of Chemical Engineering before leaving UD to become dean of engineering at Rutgers.

Coming back to UD is like coming home again, Klein said.

“The University of Delaware is an outstanding institution, and the opportunity here is so great,” Klein noted. “The people, the programs, the resources, and the ambitions all line up. So many positive things are happening, with the Path to ProminenceTM, the purchase of the former Chrysler assembly plant, and the planned construction of a new interdisciplinary science and engineering building, to name just a few initiatives. I'm excited to be back.”

Klein said his major goals for UDEI are “to organize, communicate, and make coherent the energy capabilities and resources UD already has,” and to continue building an institute that is “truly cross-cutting in an environment that people want to be a part of.”

Founded in 2008, UDEI has over 250 affiliated researchers working on solar photovoltaics, wind power, energy policy, biofuels, vehicle-to-grid technology, hydrogen fuel cells, next-generation magnets, and more.

“The world's problems don't care what academic disciplines solve them,” Klein noted. “Because the energy issues facing us are so broad in scope, we need the integration of science, engineering, ethics, policy, economics -- all of these fields.”

Klein also sees opportunities for expanded collaboration on many levels, with academic, government, industry, and international partners.

“The University of Delaware Energy Institute has the chance to attract major collaborators, to help advance UD as a true international player in energy,” Klein said.

Supported by a gift from the Unidel Foundation, the endowed chair is named in honor of Dan Rich, for his distinguished service as the University's provost from 2001 to 2009. A member of the UD faculty since 1970, Rich also served for a decade as a college dean. He is now University Professor of Public Policy in the College of Education and Public Policy.

Article by Tracey Bryant