Faces of Research - Meet Tim Lieuwen

Tim Lieuwen, Executive Director of Georgia Tech's Strategic Energy Institute.

Meet Tim Lieuwen, executive director of the Strategic Energy Institute (SEI).

SEI is one of Georgia Tech's 10 interdisciplinary research institutes within the Georgia Tech Research enterprise.

What is your field of expertise and why did you choose it? 

I work in fluid mechanics, combustion, and acoustics. These disciplines lie right at the intersection of what makes energy systems work.  I absolutely love doing research and my research areas – making fire, saving the planet, pointing lasers and high-speed cameras at complex facilities, what more could you ask for? 

What makes the way in which SEI enables campus energy research unique? 

Georgia Tech has over 300 faculty and 1000 researchers working on energy.  The key role of SEI is to promote this work, build communities across campus, and assist in developing greater resources through larger federal and corporate opportunities. One of the things I like most about this job, is that my success is measured by that of the Georgia Tech team as a whole- and it is an extremely high performing team! 

What couldn’t have happened without SEI? 

Georgia Tech’s energy innovations have had an enormous footprint – solar cells, artificial intelligence for optimizing complex energy systems and energy storage, just to name a few.  SEI works hard to make faculty aware of external opportunities with the government and companies, and to develop and frame issues that we think are important. I personally spend a lot of time working with organizations across campus developing corporate connections, national lab connections and federal connections to help build the success of SEI.  

What impact is Georgia Tech energy research having on the world? 

Georgia Tech energy research has had a huge impact on virtually every part of the energy ecosystem – both in terms of generation of power, transmitting/moving/storing energy to users, and the consumption of energy.  In addition to technologies and basic science, our systems level perspectives that incorporate policy, economics, and human behavior have been critical in framing national thinking about deployment of renewables.  Our faculty have developed IP, started up nationally leading companies, and have created crucial partnerships in developing and deploying these innovations. 

What do you like to do in your spare time when you are not working on your research or teaching? 

I enjoy the outdoors and particularly enjoy trail running, rock climbing and gardening. I also love woodworking and spending time with my wife and four daughters. 

Read more about the Strategic Energy Institute.