Utah State University named Regan Zane the 2021 Faculty Researcher of the Year at the university’s first annual faculty awards ceremony Mar. 30. During his short time at USU, the professor of electrical and computer engineering has proven himself to be a forward-thinking researcher ready to take on some of the greatest engineering challenges of our time.
Zane joined USU’s College of Engineering in 2012. Over the years, he developed and served as the director for three new USU laboratories, including the Power Electronics Lab, the Battery Limits and Survivability Testing Lab and the Electric Vehicle and Roadway Research Facility and Test Track. The test track is the first of its kind in the United States, featuring a 4,800-square-foot high-bay research building and an electrified oval test track designed to demonstrate in-motion wireless charging for electric vehicles.
Zane has raised more than $80 million in external funding. Most of that comes from a five-year, $26 million grant, renewable to 10-year, $50.60 million, from the National Science Foundation to develop an international research center dedicated to advancing sustainable, electrified transportation. The center, known as the ASPIRE Engineering Research Center, is expected to raise more than $200 million over the next decade in government and industry support.
“We are motivated by a common vision and escalating enthusiasm to make the world a better place through vehicle electrification,” said Zane. “We expect ASPIRE to grow with our partners as an academic enterprise and become the trusted guide on a national and international stage in the future of electrified transportation.”
Zane’s research programs cover key aspects of electrified transportation charging systems and infrastructure. They include battery, vehicle and charging systems, grid integration, smart charge management, demand response, and distributed energy resources. He currently holds 29 patents and has mentored dozens of graduate students who are now leaders in their field.
Zane is also a recipient of several prestigious awards. In 2018, he received an endowed professorship from USU benefactors David G. and Diann L. Sant. He received the Utah Innovation Award in Clean Technology and Energy in 2019 and the Utah Clean Cities Sustainability Partner of the Year in 2020. For Zane, the recognition his work receives is a testament to the drive and talent of his team.
“I’ve learned to really focus on doing all I can for the people around me. There is so much we can learn from one another, and we can do so much more together.”
Public Relations Specialist
College of Engineering
Sant Endowed Professor, ASPIRE Center Director
Electrical and Computer Engineering