Jason C. Ganley
Teaching Associate Professor & Assistant Department Head
I believe that the capital duty of every faculty member lies in the instruction and direction of their students. My professorial experience has guided me toward the consistent implementation of three distinct educational principles.
The first of these is an effort to engage student interest through classroom conversation and clear enthusiasm on the part of the instructor. In each lesson, I endeavor to specify only one or two main topics that will give each student a new understanding and personal command of the concepts in the course. Naturally, the students must be encouraged to engage in the conversation by sharing their initial impressions, questions, and considerations. For many students, an effective tool is to continually remind them of the big picture, or the view of each topic in the larger context of the course (or the overall curriculum). Naturally, engineering is a ripe field for describing the use of course fundamentals or concepts in real-world practice.
Second is the proper use of technology to enhance the learning experience. The rapid communication made possible with today’s personal computing, information-sharing devices, and software allows us to overcome the limitations of the old homework-feedback paradigm. Web-based lecture material, tutorials, and demonstrations allow students to pause, restart, and repeatedly view course discussions in an interactive and naturally intuitive manner which is better suited to the various styles of student learning. I have consistently used technology to allow students to better “learn by doing,” and to ultimately do more – in greater depth – with less time invested.
Finally, team exercises and open-ended projects are incorporated into course work to allow students to better take ownership of, and a more direct responsibility for, her or his own education. Many of the most rewarding course-related work in which students may engage are projects presented near the end of the academic semester. It is at this critical point in the teaching of a course where all previous topics may be brought together and reconciled. When students are given the freedom to carry out a design or goal-based determinations as they see fit, they take true ownership of their investigation, and to use their creativity in a way that would have never been possible in the traditional “ask-answer” environment of homework and exams. Fostering the ability to work effectively in teams is a priority for all engineering curricula, and in my experience, these types of projects can be effective “capstones” for individual courses at all levels, from introductory courses through those in advanced specialization.
In general, my research activities and interests lie in the fields of energy and the impact of energy use on the environment. Persistent environmental issues such as climate change, pollution impacting air quality, and thermal waste have long been concerns of mine, and they remain present threats to the health and well‐being of our Nation’s citizens. In my academic career, I have endeavored to bring a wide range of energy research topics and environmental improvement connotations into my areas of experience. Additionally, undergraduate researchers are central to my laboratory efforts.
The current unsustainable consumption of fossil‐based, carbonaceous fuels for electrical power production and transportation within the United States has spurred my interest in alternative fuel production and utilization. Anhydrous ammonia (NH3) is a carbon‐free chemical most often used as an agricultural fertilizer, but is also used as an energy‐dense liquid fuel. Ammonia is the only fuel other than hydrogen that produces no greenhouse gases upon combustion. My research involving ammonia involves its use in fuel cells, combustion engines with additives, and to produce on‐demand hydrogen using catalytic reforming. Hydrogen production from renewable energy is one key to realizing a true hydrogen energy economy. My research involving hydrogen production has included high temperature and pressure electrolysis, which takes thermodynamic advantage of high temperatures to save electrical power in the electrolyzer, and furthermore produces a high pressure product that requires less compression for storage. Biodiesel production from waste vegetable oil is a method of synthesizing a renewable, carbon‐neutral fuel that avoids the food‐versus‐fuel debate that plagues most biofuel efforts. In my previous faculty appointments, I created and supervised multiple undergraduate research efforts to recover waste oil from university sources, and to promote its use for on‐campus diesel generators and fleet vehicles.
Fuel cells have long been considered as an attractive alternative for the delivery of electrical power when compared to both batteries and internal combustion engine/generator sets. Interest for their adoption has been strong in industrial applications as well as in military devices and vehicles. Current challenges to their adoption include cost, materials lifetime, and fuel flexibility. My research has involved the study and synthesis of electrolytes, electrocatalysts, and housing materials for use in intermediate temperature ceramic fuel cells, nanocomposite polymer fuel cells, and multiple forms of direct ammonia fuel cells.
J. Ganley, “Design and Testing of a Series Hybrid Vehicle with an Ultracapacitor Energy Buffer,” Journal of Automobile Engineering, in press.
D. Kumar, Y. Liu, J. Ganley, W. Tilson, A. Dekich, J. Fergus, “Transition Metal Doping of Manganese Cobalt Spinel Oxides for Coating Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Interconnects,” Proceedings of Energy Technology 2012: Carbon Dioxide Management and Other Technologies, Orlando, FL, USA, 11-15 March 2012, p. 313 – 319.
S. Licht, B. Wang, S. Ghosh, H. Ayub, D. Jiang, J. Ganley, “Solar Thermal Electrochemical Photo (STEP) Carbon Capture,” Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, 1, p. 2363 – 2368 (2010).
J. Ganley, N. Karikari, and D. Raghavan, “Performance Enhancement of Alkaline Direct Methanol Fuel Cells by Ni/Al Layered Double Hydroxides,” Journal of Fuel Cell Science and Technology, 7, p. 301019-1 – 301019-6 (2010).
J. Ganley, “High Temperature and Pressure Alkaline Electrolysis,” International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 34 3604 – 3611 (2009).J. Ganley, “An Intermediate‐temperature Direct Ammonia Fuel Cell with a Molten Alkaline Hydroxide Electrolyte,” Journal of Power Sources, 178, 44 – 47 (2008).