Song is the director of the EMS Energy Institute and a distinguished professor of fuel science in the Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering. He also is a professor of chemical engineering in the Department of Chemical Engineering. He serves as associate director of Penn State's Institutes of the Energy and Environment. Since 2011, he has been serving as the founding director at Penn State for the international Penn State-Dalian Joint Center for Energy Research (JCER) between Penn State and Dalian University of Technology. Since 2015, he has been serving as the founding director of DOE University Coalition for Fossil Energy Research funded by the National Energy Technology Laboratory with $20 M for six years.
He specializes in clean fuels and catalysis research including catalytic conversion and utilization of energy resources, including coal, petroleum, natural gas, biomass and carbon dioxide as a carbon source. His current research interests include catalysis in fuel processing for ultra-clean fuels and fuel cells; adsorptive CO2 capture and separation, catalytic CO2 conversion and utilization; reforming of hydrocarbon and alcohol fuels for syngas and H2 production; shape-selective catalysis for synthesis of organic chemicals; catalysis and reaction chemistry for energy conversion; and synthesis and applications of nano-porous catalytic and adsorbent materials.
For making clean liquid fuels, Song and coworkers at Penn State have developed sulfur-selective adsorbents for removing sulfur from liquid fuels at ambient temperature and pressure, which enabled liquid fuel utilization in fuel cells and changed the way of thinking in the field. Many proto-type fuel processing systems have been fabricated by their industrial partner and applied for liquid fuel-based polymer electrolyte and solid oxide fuel cells. Song and coworkers at Penn State have developed novel solid “molecular basket sorbents (MBS) with high capacity for selective CO2 capture and separation from gas mixtures such as flue gas from coal-fired power plants. The MBS has been successfully scaled up for CO2 separation from his laboratory to a pilot plant for demonstration in collaboration with their industrial partner under the support of US Department of Energy. Song and coworkers at Penn State and collaborators at Penn State-Dalian Joint Center for Energy Research have developed a series of novel catalysts for selective CO2 conversion to chemicals and fuels. He and his collaborators have not only developed new bimetallic catalysts with high selectivity for CO2 conversion to lower olefins, liquid hydrocarbons and methanol, but also delineated the elemental reaction pathways on the surfaces of the new bimetallic catalysts.
Song has authored or coauthored 360 refereed journal papers, and thirty book chapters, edited eleven books, and eleven special issues of research journals, delivered sixty plenary or keynote lectures at national and international conferences, and given over 290 invited lectures worldwide. He is also an inventor for eight patents. He has received many awards for his original research such as Henry H. Storch Award and ACS Fellow from American Chemical Society, the Fulbright Distinguished Scholar Award from US Department of State, Honorary Professor of Tianjin University, Herman Pines Award from Catalysis Club of Chicago, and Catalysis Club of Philadelphia Award. Within Penn State, he has received Faculty Scholar Medal, Distinguished Professor, Wilson Award for Excellence in Research, and Faculty Mentoring Award. Song has served as an advisory board member for U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Frontier Research Center at Argonne National Laboratory, the National Science Foundation’s Engineering Research Center at University of Kansas, and as a consultant or advisor for some major energy companies including BP, ExxonMobil, and Saudi Aramco. Currently he is serving as the Editor in Chief for Advances in Catalysis (published by Elsevier), as Associate Editor for Frontiers of Chemical Science and Engineering (Springer), as Advisory Editor for Journal of CO2 Utilization (Elsevier), and as editorial advisory board member for some research journals such as Energy and Fuels, Catalysis Today, Chemical Engineering & Technology, Chinese Journal of Catalysis, Greenhouse Gases: Science and Technology, Green Energy and Environment.
Song worked at Osaka Gas Company Research Center in Japan prior to joining Penn State. He also held visiting professorships in Imperial College London, Pierre and Marie Curie University (also known as University of Paris VI), Tsinghua University, Dalian University of Technology, Tianjin University, Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics (Dalian) and Institute of Coal Chemistry (Taiyuan) in Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Taiyuan University of Technology.
He has served on numerous boards and committees, including serving as the Chair of the American Chemical Society (ACS) Petroleum Division (2003-2005), Chair of the ACS Fuel Division (2007-2009), Chair of the Advisory Board for International Pittsburgh Coal Conference (2004-2006), Chair of 12th International Conference on Carbon Dioxide Utilization (2013), Co-chair of 24th North American Catalysis Society Biennial Meeting (2015), and Chair or Co-chair of 35 international symposia related to clean fuels, catalysis, CO2 capture and utilization, fuel processing for fuel cells, and heavy oil upgrading.
Conference Co-Chair, 24th North American Catalysis Society Biennial Meeting, Lawrence Convention Center, Pittsburgh, PA, June 14-19, 2015.
Conference Chair, 12th International Conference on Carbon Dioxide Utilization (ICCDU-XII), Alexandria, VA, June 23-27, 2013.
Chair, Selection Committee for Distinguished Researcher Award, Division of Energy and Fuels, American Chemical Society, 2012-present.
Distinguished Advisory Board, DOE EFRC/Institute for Atom-Efficient Chemical Transformation, Argonne National Laboratory team including Northwestern University, Purdue University and University of Wisconsin, 2011-2014.
Chair, Division of Fuel Chemistry, American Chemical Society, 2008.
Judge, ConocoPhillips Energy Prize (national energy award), 2008, 2009, 2010.
Scientific Advisory Board, NSF Engineering Research Center for Environmentally Beneficial Catalysis, University of Kansas/ University of Iowa/Washington University at St Louis/ Prairie View A&M University, 2008-2013.
Decision Review Board, Chevron-Penn State Alliance on Coal Conversion Technology, 2008-present.
Advisor, Technical Advisory Council, Research & Development Center, Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia, 2007-present.
Chair-Elect, Division of Fuel Chemistry, American Chemical Society, 2007.
International Advisory Board Member for 2007 International Conference on Coal Science and Technology Nottingham, UK, 2006-2007.
Chair, Advisory Board for International Pittsburgh Coal Conference, 2005-2006.
Treasurer, 19th North American Catalysis Society Biennial Meeting, Philadelphia, PA, USA, May 22-28, 2005.
Member, Long-Range Planning Committee, American Chemical Society Division of Petroleum Chemistry, 2005-2007.
Chair, Division of Petroleum Chemistry, American Chemical Society, 2004.
Award Committee, 21st International Pittsburgh Coal Conference, Osaka, Japan, Sept 12-17, 2004.
Program Chair, American Chemical Society Division of Fuel Chemistry, 2003.
Co-chair, Advisory Board for International Pittsburgh Coal Conference, 2003-2004.
Chair-Elect, American Chemical Society Division of Petroleum Chemistry, 2003.
International Scientific Committee, International Conference on Carbon Dioxide Utilization, 2003-present.
Member, Scientific Committee, 18th North American Catalysis Society Meeting, Cancun, Mexico, June 1-6, 2003.
My research areas include: 1) catalytic fuel processing for clean energy applications such as ultra clean fuels, hydrogen and synthesis gas production, and fuel cell applications; 2) carbon dioxide CO2 capture and utilization as fuels and chemicals; 3) catalysis for synthesis of value-added chemicals such as shape-selective synthesis of monomers for advanced aromatic polymer materials. A list of current projects include:
CO2 Removal from Flue Gas Using Molecular Basket Sorbent (PI)
Nano-porous Molecular-Basket Sorbents (MBS) for Removing Contaminants in Cathode Air for Navy Fuel Cell Systems (PI)
New Approach to Deep Reduction of Benzene in Gasoline by Alkylation over Shape-Selective Catalyst (PI)
Solid Oxide Fuel Cells Operating on Alternative and Renewable Fuels (Co-PI with Serguei Lvov)
Quiet Reliable and Compact Fuel Cell Based Truck APU (PI)
Selective adsorption for removing sulfur (PSU-SARS) from liquid fuels (PI)
Selective adsorption for removing nitrogen from liquid fuels (Co-PI with Xiaoliang Ma)
- "Distinguished Researcher Award," American Chemical Society Petroleum Chemistry Division, 2011
- "Henry H. Storch Award", American Chemical Society Fuel Chemistry Division, 2010
- "Fellow", American Chemical Society, 2010
- "Distinguished Professor of Fuel Science", Penn State, 2010
- "QianRen Jihua" (Thousand Talents Award), Central Government of China, 2010
- "Liaoning Friendship Award", Provincial Government of Liaoning Province, China, 2010
- "Top Cited Authors 2003-2007" in catalysis, Elsevier, Netherlands, 2008
- "Most Cited Author 2003-2007" in Applied Catalysis B: Environmental, Elsevier, Netherlands, 2008
- "Most Cited Author 2003-2007" in Catalysis Today, Elsevier, Netherlands, 2008
- "Distinguished Service Award", American Chemical Society Petroleum Chemistry Division, 2008
- "Herman Pines Award" for Outstanding Research in Catalysis, Catalysis Club of Chicago/North American Catalysis Society and UOP, 2007
- "D. R. Robinson Distinguished Lectureship" in Chemical and Materials Engineering, University of Alberta, Canada, 2007
- "Top Cited Authors 2002-2006" in catalysis, Elsevier, Netherlands, 2007
- "Most Cited Author" in Applied Catalysis B: Environ. 2001-2005 and 2002-2006, Elsevier, Netherlands, 2007
- "Most Cited Author" in Catalysis Today 2001-2005 and 2002-2006, Elsevier, Netherlands, 2007
- "Chang Jiang Scholar Award," Ministry of Education, China, 2006
- "Top Cited Article Award" in Catalysis Today in 2003, Elsevier, Netherlands, 2006
- "Top Cited Authors 2001-2005" in catalysis, Elsevier, Netherlands, 2006
- "Distinguished Service Award," 23rd International Pittsburgh Coal Conference, Pittsburgh, PA, 2006
- "Faculty Mentoring Award," College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, Pennsylvania State University, 2006
- "Distinguished Catalysis Researcher Lectureship," Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, WA, 2005
- "Haitian Scholar" and "Visiting Professor," Dalian University of Technology, Dalian, China, 2005
- Invited Professor at University of Pierre and Marie Curie (University of Paris VI), Jan-Feb 2005
- Visiting Professor in Chemical Engineering, Imperial College London, University of London, 2004-2005
- "Fulbright Distinguished Scholar" Award, U.S. Department of State and US-UK Fulbright Commission, 2004
- "Outstanding Scholar Overseas Award", Chinese Academy of Sciences, China, 2003
- "Outstanding Service Award," American Chemical Society Fuel Chemistry Division, 2003
- "Inventor Incentive Award" by The Penn State Research Foundation, PSU IDN 2002-2598, 2003
- "Outstanding Service Award," 18th International Pittsburgh Coal Conference, Newcastle, Australia, 2001
- "Inventor Incentive Award" by The Penn State Research Foundation, PSU IDN 1998-1948, 2001
- "Wilson Award for Outstanding Research," The Pennsylvania State University, 2000
- "Inventor Incentive Award" by The Penn State Research Foundation, PSU IDN 1998-1947, 2000
- "Senior Technical Advisor Award," United Nations Development Program, United Nations, 1999
- "NEDO Fellowship Award," New Energy Development Organization (NEDO), Japan, 1998
- "AIST Fellowship Award," Agency of Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Japan, 1995
- "Materials Science and Engineering Service Award," Pennsylvania State University, 1995
- "Inventor Incentive Award," The Penn State Research Foundation, PSU IDN 1993-1281, 1994
- Guest Professor at State Key Laboratory Catalysis, Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Dalian, China, 2003-2006
- Guest Professor at School of Chemical Engineering, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian, China, 1999-present
- Guest Professor at Taiyuan University of Technology, Taiyuan, China, June 2002-present
- Guest Professor at Anshan University of Science and Technology, Anshan, China, 2003-2008
- Guest Professor at State Key Laboratory for Coal Conversion, Institute of Coal Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Taiyuan, China, 1997-present
- Guest Professor at State Key Laboratory for C1 Chemical Technology, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China, 1997-2003
- Guest Professor at State Key Laboratory for C1 Chemical Technology, Tianjin University, Tianjin, China, 2002-2003