Zheng Zhu, PhD, P.Eng., wins 2019 OPEA Gala Engineering Medal – Research and Development

Zheng Hong (George) Zhu, PhD, P.Eng., FEIC, FCSME, FASME, AFAIAA, SMIEEE

Professor and Chair, Department of Mechanical Engineering, York University


Zheng Hong Zhou headshotA Tier 1 York University Research Chair in Space Technology, Dr. George Zhu has made significant impacts in the aerospace industry. His most important achievement is the autonomous capture and removal of space debris using a novel fuel-less propulsion technology based on electrodynamic tethers.  

In 2015, Dr. Zhu was awarded a grant by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) to demonstrate the technology in space using the CubeSat platform. The successful demonstration would change the design and operation of future spacecraft and rockets, which are required to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere within 25 years after a mission. In 2018, he was awarded another CSA grant to design, build, launch and operate a CubeSat for observing permafrost thawing in northern Canada. The thawing permafrost  will release locked greenhouse gases into earth’s atmosphere and exacerbate the effects of global climate change. Dr. Zhu is the only professor who is leading two Canadian CubeSat missions as a principal investigator in Canada 

In addition, Dr. Zhu supported the development of a revolutionary technology by Pratt Whitney Canada, which changes the composition of the gas turbine component from metal to nano-coating composite material. This technology is much lighter in weight and can be applied to various engine components and applications. In 2018, the patented technology won the Luke Hobbs Technology & Innovation Award.  

Dr. Zhu is a world-renowned mentor and leader in mechanical engineering education and research. A mechanical engineering professor, a member of the University Senate, and Chair of the Mechanical Engineering Department at York University, he developed new professional development programs for engineersintraining, leads research teams for large-scale interdisciplinary research projects, mentors junior faculty members and engages youth in the community to learn about the field of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.  

Dr. Zhu has a remarkable track record in research publications, including four book chapters and 262 publications. He has attracted over $7 million in support from the CSA, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Canada Foundation for Innovation, and the Ontario Research Fund, nationally; and the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Qatar National Research Funds, internationally.  

Dr. Zhu is recognized as the Fellow of the Engineering Institute of Canada, and the member of the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists, Royal Society of Canada. 

For more on this year’s OPEA Gala and all of the award winners, visit www.opeawards.com

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