UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Monty Alger, former senior vice president of research and development (R&D) at Myriant Corp. in Woburn, Mass., has been selected as the inaugural director of the Institute for Natural Gas Research (INGaR) at Penn State.
His appointment is effective May 16.
Amr Elnashai, Harold and Inge Marcus Dean of Engineering, said Alger brings unique perspective and training, impeccable academic credentials and tremendous industrial experience to Penn State. "His knowledge, connections, credibility, expertise and enthusiasm for cutting-edge research and applications are the ideal combination for success as the inaugural INGaR director and distinguished professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering."
Elnashai added the college's curricula and students will also benefit from Alger's perspective on engineering education from his experience in industrial research and development.
Prior to joining Myriant, Alger was the vice president and chief technology officer with Air Products and Chemicals Inc., where he was responsible for R&D and championed development for the gases and specialty materials businesses, as well as the expansion of the company's R&D effort in China.
Alger also spent 23 years at General Electric (GE) where he led technology development at the Global Research Center and GE Plastics. He was general manager of technology for the Advanced Materials Business.
Before GE, Alger was an assistant professor and director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Chemical Engineering Practice School station at GE Plastics.
He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and serves on several university chemical engineering advisory councils.
A collaborative effort of the colleges of Engineering, and Earth and Mineral Sciences, the INGaR will promote multi-disciplinary research on the sustainable development and utilization of natural gas.
"INGaR will have the depth and breadth of expertise to tackle comprehensive problems encountered in the exploration, drilling, transport and use of natural gas, including the environmental challenges of extraction,” said William E. Easterling, dean of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences.
Elnashai noted natural gas has become the primary factor in the nation's energy security, and the state of Pennsylvania is one of the largest producers. "As the flagship university of the state and of the nation, Penn State is expected to play the central role in the natural gas space, from drilling to safe delivery to the customers."
He said the INGaR will help steer the University's research towards a problem of critical importance and will enhance our stature and visibility as an institution focused on addressing the world's most pressing challenges. "INGaR is conceived to be the one-stop center for natural gas research and information on a national and international level."
Alger explained, "The development of natural gas resources has provided the U.S. and the world with major new low cost energy. There is a need for innovation to support efficient and sustainable natural gas development. INGaR can help support major research programs across University departments and build partnerships with government agencies, foundations and industry to provide access to market needs and technology commercialization. The broad range of capability at Penn State provides a great foundation for building and expanding the research for natural gas."