The 2024 Spring Technical Meeting of the Eastern States Section of The Combustion Institute (ESSCI) was held from 10-13 March 2024 at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia, United States, hosted by Prof. Brandon Rotavera. The meeting brought together experts from industry, national laboratories, and academia in the field of combustion science and engineering to address many of the current challenges facing the field, including those related to sustainable transportation, energy efficiency, emissions mitigation in the atmosphere, fire safety, and advanced propulsion systems. The event consisted of an opening reception, a strong technical program developed by Prof. Jacqueline O’Connor of Penn State, invited speakers, and a banquet held at the State Botanical Gardens of Georgia.

Overall, there were 117 submissions and 149 attendees. Among the more than three-dozen institutions represented by the attendees and invited speakers were major universities like Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), Columbia, Princeton, and Penn State, as well as the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, GTI Energy, Honeywell, Ansys, and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).

Welcome remarks were delivered by Prof. Donald Leo, the Dean of the University of Georgia’s College of Engineering, and Dr. S. Jack Hu, the University of Georgia’s Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, both of whom also serve as UGA Foundation Professors in Engineering.

College of Engineering Dean, Professor Don Leo delivers welcome remarks at the 2024 Spring Technical Meeting of the ESSCI.

Provost, Professor S. Jack Hu delivers welcome remarks at the 2024 Spring Technical Meeting of the ESSCI.

Plenary Lectures were delivered by:

  • Timothy Lieuwen, Georgia Institute of Technology: “Combustion in a Net Zero World: Outlook and R&D Needs”
  • Jillian Goldfarb, Cornell University: “Wanted: Fugitive Carbon. Holistic Valorization Pathways for the Integrated Biorefiner”
  • Sibendu Som of Argonne National Laboratory: “Accelerating Decarbonization of Transportation and Power Generation Sectors: Leveraging Leadership Computing & High-Fidelity Experiments”

Prof. Sili Deng of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the recipient of the 2024 Irv Glassman Early Career Investigator Award, also gave a lecture on “Advancing Kinetic Modeling with Scientific Machine Learning.”

The first-ever industry engagement panel at the meeting was a highlight of the conference. Attendees heard directly from and engaged with leading industry researchers, including speakers from GTI Energy (Dr. Alex Fridlyand), Honeywell (Dr. Wyatt Culler), and Ansys (Stefano Orsino). Among the topics discussed were current areas of interest and projections on opportunities for growing the impact of combustion science and engineering by stronger integration between fundamental research and applied research.

The three industry engagement panel speakers, (from left to right) Dr. Alex Fridlyand, Dr. Wyatt Culler, and Stefano Orsino.

Overall, the meeting was a success due in part to support from the College of Engineering and the Department of Chemistry, as well as the Center for Computational Quantum Chemistry at the University of Georgia, the Innovation Partnerships program of the Oak Ridge Association of Universities (ORAU), and the Combustion and Fire Systems program at the National Science Foundation (NSF); strongly attended and featuring a robust technical program, a slate of renowned invited speakers, and more, the 2024 Spring Technical Meeting of the ESSCI provided a fascinating educational experience to its attendees. For more information about the ESSCI, visit their official website.