UH names leader for energy initiatives

Ramanan Krishnamoorti, an engineering professor at the University of Houston, has been chosen to lead the university’s energy-centered research and education programs.

Krishnamoorti, who stepped down as chairman of the chemical and biomolecular engineering department for the new role, also will oversee the expansion of UH’s Energy Research Park.

Renu Khator, president of UH and chancellor of the four-university system, identified energy as a key focus for the university to pursue in its drive to achieve Tier One status soon after her arrival on campus in 2008.

UH purchased the 74-acre Schlumberger Wells Service property on the Gulf Freeway less than two miles from the main campus for $27.5 million in 2009, to serve as its Energy Research Park, a place where students, faculty and energy companies could work collaboratively.

It has since completed about $30 million in renovations.

Krishnamoorti said he will develop a strategic plan to pull together UH’s energy-related talent and resources.

“I also will be working on … our global partnerships with industry in regards to education and research,” he said, including developing both degree and non-degree programs, with both online and off-site programs.

UH last year announced it would offer the nation’s first graduate program in subsea engineering, a program that grew out of a request from FMC Technologies, which had asked UH to consider the idea.

Mike Harold, head of the Texas Diesel Testing and Research Center at UH, will replace Krishnamoorti as chairman of the chemical and biomolecular engineering department.