BALTIMORE — Danfoss North America and Pennsylvania State University at Philadelphia recently announced a major grant from Danfoss in support of Penn State’s 2017 Immersive Internship in Global Sustainability Practices. The grant marks the launch of a collaborative Engineering Tomorrow’s Cities initiative through which Penn State and Danfoss will focus on enlarging the workforce required to create, maintain, and renew sustainable, low-carbon communities; advance the deployment of innovative technologies and designs to reduce carbon emissions; and highlight the important role of engineering in creating the sustainable commercial buildings and communities of tomorrow.   

The initiative will be based at Penn State’s building and energy “living laboratory” research facility at the Philadelphia Navy Yard under the direction of Dr. James Freihaut, professor in Penn State’s department of architectural engineering.

Thirty graduate and undergraduate interns from leading universities around the world are expected to participate in the research project during the summer of 2017. Research topics will include district energy/combined heat and power (CHP) through a multi-city on-site initiative across Pennsylvania, building/microgrid integration, smart building and demand response technologies, variable-speed controls and building equipment, energy storage and building systems, and sub-systems integration. Participants will gain tangible work experience on real building efficiency and low-carbon footprint development projects and be matched with leading public and private sector sustainable development organizations in their home countries for additional and ongoing impact.

“The Engineering Tomorrow’s Cities initiative with Danfoss grew out of our work together for their EnVisioneering Symposium on buildings and energy in June 2016 and our subsequent collaboration to support the work of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe to develop a framework for high-performance building standards,” Freihaut said. “Danfoss is an invaluable partner with deep expertise in district energy and building technologies that are central to our research. Students from many first-class institutions around the world will benefit from their financial and intellectual support and carry that benefit back to their countries.”

Lisa Tryson, director of corporate communications, Danfoss North America, said supporting this project with Penn State and Dr. Freihaut is a natural fit for Danfoss.

“We are committed to helping drive energy efficiency and sustainable infrastructure in our cities. We believe innovation is key. Many technologies exist today, but we also need to take a holistic approach to understand the nexus between innovation, policy, and financial incentives in order to move forward.”

The Engineering Tomorrow’s Cities project will leverage the educational and research capacities of Penn State to serve as a catalyst for international collaboration among future global sustainability/low-carbon community leaders in industry, government, and the research communities. It aims to create public-private sector partnerships on a global basis to address some of the world’s most urgent resource and environmental concerns. Results from the initiative will be the subject of workshops at Penn State, a Danfoss EnVisioneering Symposium to be held at the Philadelphia Navy Yard in 2018, and a culminating report issued by the participating students. For more information, visit

Publication date: 2/13/2017

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