The Associate Editor of Discover Energy discusses societal impact and the SDGs

The Source
By: Guest contributor, Wed Jun 1 2022

Author: Guest contributor

We spoke to Professor Chen, Associate Editor of the new open access journal Discover Energy about the journal, societal impact, the SDGs and supporting early career researchers.

What is the focus of your research work?

There are several aspects to my own research, which include: Bioenergy (torrefaction, pyrolysis, liquefaction, emulsification, gasification, combustion, pretreatment of lignocelluloses for bioethanol production); Hydrogen energy (hydrogen production from steam reforming, partial oxidation, autothermal reforming, thermocatalytic decomposition of methane, water gas shift reaction, gasification, hydrogen separation and purification by membrane); Clean energy (thermoelectric generation and cooling, wind power, clean coal technology, carbon dioxide capture and utilization; and Energy system (thermodynamic analysis, optimization – Taguchi method, response surface method, central composite design, ANOVA, big data analysis, AI integration – evolutionary computation, particle swarm optimization, multi-objective genetic algorithm, Nelder-Mead method, neural networks).

Which UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) does your work most closely relate to?

My work is closely related to SDG7 (affordable and clean energy) and SDG13 (Climate Action).

What do you think is the most relevant way to measure success against the SDG(s) in your field?

I think there are several elements: (a) Market scale of SDGs; (b) The price of energy goes down significantly. For example, green hydrogen targets 1.5 USD/kg in 2025; (c) Transition of developed technologies into our life; (d) Cooperation of developed technology with industrial companies; (e) Achieving International collaboration for developing advanced technologies; (f) Being on-track with international carbon neutrality targets and (g) Policy or adaptation plans for renewable and green energy systems.

How, if at all, has your research shifted given the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic? What are the trends you’ve noticed within your field?

My research is not much affected by COVID-19. Nevertheless, one of my study topics is PM2.5 deposition in human airways. On account of the COVID-19 outbreak and pandemic, my attention also shifted to COVID-19 virus intake into the airways. Even though COVID-19 reduces global energy consumption, the development of renewable energy remains a growth area for SDG7 and others. In recent years, the applications of AI, such as evolutionary computation and machine learning, are receiving more and more attention and more publications. Moreover, more review papers concerning energy and COVID-19 have been published. In the near future, the combination of energy, COVID-19, and AI will become an important topic in academic and industrial research.

What do you believe are the most effective ways of communicating your research?

From my point of view, there are four main ways: (a) Social Media such ResearchGate, Google scholar, LinkedIn, etc.; (b) International collaboration; (c) Publish papers in good and high-impact journals and (d) Present at various conferences and higher educational institutions.

What do you think is the most productive way to engage with your target audience? What is it that you want your audience(s) to do with the information?

Publication in open access journals is a productive way as well as attending and presenting research at relevant conferences. I would like to get more publications from my audiences, along with the citation of my research.

What support do you feel is needed by early career researchers to maximize their societal impact?

Mentorship through graduate programs or post-doc fellowships, collaboration by supporting facilities and instruments followed by joint publication. Moreover, provide the opportunity for them to be guest editors for academic service.

What do you see as the role of publishers when it comes to addressing the SDGs? How can they best support researchers?

Publishers play an important role in distributing and maximizing SDG knowledge. In this regard,  publishers can encourage scientists and researchers to make more efforts for SDG research and even waive APC if they publish open access papers. Moreover, publishers can also construct an SDG research platform for scientists and researchers to share their knowledge.


We invite you to take a closer look at Discover Energy, part of the Discover journal series committed to providing a streamlined submission process, rapid review and publication, and a high level of author service at every stage. It is an open access, community-focused journal publishing research from across the full range of disciplines concerned with energy.

Discover our hubs for SDG7:Affordable and Clean Energy and SDG13: Climate Action.

About the author
Wei-Hsin Chen © Springer Nature

Professor Wei-Hsin Chen is a Distinguished Professor at the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan. 

He was a visiting professor at Princeton University, University of New South Wales, University of Edinburgh, University of British Columbia, and the University of Lorraine. His research topics include bioenergy, hydrogen production and purification, clean energy, energy system analysis, and atmospheric science . 

He has published around 700 papers with an H-index of 67 (Web of Science). He is the editor, associate editor, and editorial board member of several prestigious international journals, and the guest editor of over 10 international journals. He has published 11 books and chapters concerning energy science and air pollution. Professor Chen has received numerous awards.


Author: Guest contributor

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