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Villanova’s Dr. Al Ortega Appointed Associate Director of the Center for Energy-Smart Electronic Systems

Dr. Alfonso Ortega

Dr. Alfonso Ortega, the James R. Birle Professor of Energy Technology, Department of Mechanical Engineering, has been appointed to the new position of associate director of the multi-university National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center for Energy-Smart Electronic Systems (ES2). Working with Director Dr. Bahgat Sammakia, Vice President for Research at Binghamton University, Dr. Ortega will assist the Center’s three university sites—Villanova University, Binghamton University and the University of Texas at Arlington—with strategic planning and aligning the overall ES2 vision with industry partners. He will oversee the recruitment of national companies and organizations to the Center and will represent ES2 at events and venues both nationally and internationally.

ES2 is committed to increasing the energy efficiency of America’s data centers, which use billions of watts of energy; on average, half of that energy is wasted due to inefficiencies in the system. Thousands of data centers across the country handle information and processing needs for the government, businesses, industry and the military, and in the near future, they are expected to surpass the airline industry in CO2 emissions. ES2 researchers at the three universities are working on collaborative research with member companies to create self-sensing, self-regulating electronic systems that could increase data center efficiency by 20-35 percent. This energy-cost reduction and recycling is tantamount to reducing energy waste by one to two nuclear power plants every three years or removing the emissions of 1-1.7 million homes.

A member of the Mechanical Engineering faculty since 2006, Dr. Ortega is the founding director of Villanova’s ES2 site, in 2011, and directs the College’s Laboratory for Advanced Thermal and Fluid Systems. He is an expert in data center energy and thermal management, electronics cooling, convective heat and mass transfer, experimental methods in thermal sciences, and energy technology. He teaches thermodynamics, heat transfer and design of thermal-fluid systems to Villanova students and is a frequent short course instructor to industry engineering professionals. Among many honors, Dr. Ortega received the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award from the IEEE InterSociety Conference on Thermal Phenomena in Electronic Systems. Read more about his latest research in the article “Villanova’s Dr. Al Ortega at the Forefront of Research in Advanced Liquid Cooling of Data Centers.”

Current Villanova site director and Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Dr. Aaron Wemhoff says, “We are excited to have Dr. Ortega back in a leadership role that will help the Villanova site and the entire ES2 consortium grow and prosper as it enters its eighth year as an NSF I/UCRC.”