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Two University of Houston Cougars Named 2024 OTC Emerging Leaders

Jian Shi and Mejdi Kammoun recognized for work focused on Safety and Sustainability

By Rashda Khan 713-743-7587

The Offshore Technology Conference is recognizing two University of Houston Cougars— one alumnus and one faculty member— among the conference’s 2024 Emerging Leaders. They are among an esteemed group of 11 individuals earning a spot on the 2024 list.

Jian Shi, assistant professor of engineering at the University of Houston and Mejdi Kammoun, UH alumnus, are part of the 2024 Emerging Leaders cohort being honored at the Offshore Technology Conference.

The recipients are:

  • Jian (Jason) Shi, Ph.D., is an assistant professor with a dual appointment in the Department of Engineering Technology, and Electrical and Computer Engineering at University of Houston’s Cullen College of Engineering. He is also director and founder of SOAR or the Smart and ZerO-Carbon Energy Analytics and Research Lab at UH.
  • Mejdi Kammoun is principal engineer at the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS). He earned a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from UH in 2016. At ABS, his primary responsibility involves developing regulations and requirements to ensure the safe implementation of energy storage and generation systems for marine and offshore shipping contexts.

The OTC’s Emerging Leaders program selects young professionals with fewer than 10 years of experience in the offshore energy sector who demonstrate exceptional talents, commitment and promise as future leaders, according to a press release from the OTC.

Safety and sustainability are important issues for both recipients.

The drive to decarbonize the U.S. energy sector is bringing transformative changes to the offshore and marine sector. These changes can introduce new safety and health risks that need to be identified and addressed to protect workers in the industry.

“My aspirations have always centered around contributing to a safer, greener world. Whether through innovative technologies, sustainable practices or policy advocacy, my dream remains unwavering: to leave a lasting positive impact on our planet,” Kammoun said.

Kammoun has made significant contributions to the comprehensive update of the “ABS Requirements for Fuel Cell Power Systems for Marine and Offshore Applications” and “ABS Requirements for Use of Lithium-ion Batteries in the Marine and Offshore Industries.”

Shi’s overall research interests include deep decarbonization of multi-energy power grid, maritime electrification and decarbonization, energy justice and equity, community-based energy systems and smart grid cyber security.

 His work involving vessel technologies aligns with the global push for sustainable maritime transportation and contributes to the reduction of carbon footprints and environmental impacts associated with offshore energy operations. Furthermore, Shi’s research has addressed a critical safety concern in the maritime domain – navigating vessels around offshore energy installations under unpredictable weather conditions.

 “My research focuses on addressing new safety challenges associated with energy transition in the offshore environment that require attention now to prevent spikes in injury and hazard rates in the future,” Shi said.

Shi’s journey started with curiosity.

“As a child, I found solace in the fantastical realms of science fiction, which evolved into a deep-seated curiosity about the intersection of technology and society, shaping my understanding of innovation and driving me to explore renewable energy solutions with the same wonder and excitement,” he said.

He hopes his work helps share a future “where our world is powered by an abundance of innovative energy sources, where technology coexists harmoniously with nature, and where humanity embarks on bold adventures into uncharted territory.”

Kammoun gives credit to UH and Haleh Ardebili, the Kamel Salama Endowed Professor of Mechanical Engineering and assistant vice president of Entrepreneurship and Startup Ecosystem at UH, for supporting his growth and offered some advice to students:

“Establishing a robust foundation through a deep grasp of fundamental subjects like electrical theory, electromagnetics and solid-state electronics is critical for success in your electrical engineering studies,” he said.

Shi also shared some advice: “Learn, experience, connect and innovate!”

This year’s Emerging Leaders cohort will be recognized during a special ceremony during the conference on Tuesday, May 7.

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