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Featured Profile: Shawn Xu

Shawn XuUniversity of Missouri researcher Dr. Yun-sheng “Shawn” Xu has his feet on the ground – and his eyes below.

Temperatures above ground rise and fall with the seasons. But just a few feet below the surface, the soil remains 50 to 65 degrees all year round. This constant temperature can be used to heat and cool buildings – a sustainable resource known as geothermal energy.

Xu is a globally recognized geothermal expert with international experience. He served as energy advisor on the construction of the 2008 Olympic facilities in Beijing, China. Under his recommendation, the Olympic Village, National Stadium and other buildings were successfully constructed using geothermal techniques.

Xu has focused particularly on applications for agricultural and industrial facilities. Recently, he turned his attention to the poultry industry. Brooder houses for young birds are ideally maintained at up to 90 degrees, and heating them with fuel is expensive. With partial funding from the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Department of Agriculture, Xu helped a Missouri turkey farmer install a prototype geothermal and waste heat recovery system for his brooder houses. Xu is now working with companies in America and internationally to adapt the technology.

Dr. Shawn Xu is associate research professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering in the College of Engineering and serves as director of the Chinese chapter of the International Ground Source Heat Pump Association.

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Related Initiative(s):
Sustainable Energy