He brings expertise in petroleum engineering to Illinois

3/26/2019 Taylor Tucker

Written by Taylor Tucker

New MechSE Teaching Assistant Professor Jiajun He has big plans for Illinois.

He hopes to share his background in petroleum engineering with students by developing a thermodynamics class with a petroleum aspect.

“There’s no petroleum engineering yet at Illinois so that would be a good way for me to fill the gap,” said He, who also plans to start a research program that focuses on renewable and clean energy.

Jiajun He
Jiajun He

He has enjoyed a diverse education, having earned his bachelor’s degree in materials science from the University of Science and Technology of China (2009), his master’s in chemistry from New York University (2011), and his PhD in energy resources engineering from Stanford (2016).  

His PhD focused on carbon dioxide capture, which is relevant for environmental applications such as treating side products from traditional power plants that are created during the energy cycle.

“Our target was to separate carbon dioxide from post-combustion mixtures and concentrate it for use in enhanced oil recovery,” He said.

After completing his PhD, He moved to Houston to work on research & development projects for Shell Oil Company.

“I investigated the mechanism for fluid-solid interactions by simulating the process of how oil interacts with underground porous media,” He said. “Then from there, we tried to predict the fluid flow and the phase behavior of the fluid underground to better identify and guide the production activity.”

He is currently teaching ME 502 (thermal systems) while he seeks funding for a research program. As a teacher, he said he values the opportunity to interact one-on-one with students.

“I think the most important thing is to build a positive relationship with my students,” He said. “To let them know that I care about them and show that I’m willing to address any questions or concerns they might have.”

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This story was published March 26, 2019.