James Fenton Named Director of the Florida Solar Energy Center

James M. Fenton, associate director and co-founder of the Environmental Research Institute and professor of chemical engineering at the University of Connecticut, has been named director of the Florida Solar Energy Center. He began his new duties at FSEC on Jan. 3.

Fenton, who has been at the University of Connecticut since 1984, also served as acting head of the chemical engineering department and director of UConn’s Pollution Prevention Research and Development Center funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. He co-founded the Connecticut Global Fuel Cell Center and is part-owner of a University of Connecticut spin-off company, Ionomem Corp., which manufactures high-temperature membrane electrode assemblies for fuel cells.

A native of Anaheim, Calif., he holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from UCLA and master’s and doctoral degrees in chemical engineering from the University of Illinois. His research interests include fuel cells, renewable energy-powered hydrogen production, environmental engineering and pollution prevention. His research at UConn over the last eight years has been mostly in the areas of fuel cells that could be used for portable electronic applications, residential and standby emergency power and for vehicular power.

“I’m very excited about the opportunity of helping lead the Florida Solar Energy Center into its next phase of growth and development,” Fenton said. “I think there are many opportunities to expand both our research and our educational work. I look forward to working more closely with the academic departments at the University of Central Florida to develop both new courses and degree programs in renewable and sustainable energy. My work in fuel cells and hydrogen has convinced me that there are many opportunities for students to enter these exciting fields that are just now starting to grow. FSEC and the academic departments of UCF shall lead the United States towards sustainable energy independence.”

Fenton has authored more than 90 scientific publications, three book chapters and three patents, and his students have given more than 100 seminars at national and international meetings. He has edited eight Electrochemical Society Conference Proceedings, given more than 200 seminars and chaired more than 50 symposia.

The Florida Solar Energy Center, a research institute of the University of Central Florida, is the largest and most active state-supported energy research center in the country. Current research activities include solar water and pool heating, solar electric and distributed generation systems, energy-efficient buildings, alternative transportation systems, hydrogen fuel, fuel cells and other energy areas. For more information about the center, visit www.fsec.ucf.edu or call the FSEC Public Information Office at (321) 638-1015.