COLLEGE PARK, Md.—The University of Maryland (UMD) announced plans to establish a new research center of excellence with United Technologies Corporation’s commercial businesses, UTC Climate, Controls & Security and Otis, which will lead to scientific advancements for safer, smarter and more sustainable building technology and climate controls systems design.

The collaboration will initially support research projects for two departments in UMD’s A. James Clark School of Engineering — the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Fire Protection Engineering—with plans to grow to include additional projects in the coming years.

Balakumar Balachandran

“Given the range of industry-relevant research activities that we pursue in the department, we welcome the establishment of this new center for excellence supported by United Technologies,” said Balakumar Balachandran, Department of Mechanical Engineering chair and the Minta Martin, professor of Engineering. “The support received by this center will allow us to pursue interdisciplinary research activities across the college and provide unique opportunities for doctoral students in the thermal sciences and energy systems area.”

The Center for Environmental Energy Engineering will spearhead this research for the department. The center is a leader in research and education in environmentally responsible, economically feasible integrated energy conversion systems for buildings and transportation. The center’s research focuses, in particular, on air conditioning, refrigeration and heat pumping, as well as integrated cooling, heating and power systems.

Looking ahead, Fire Protection Engineering Department Chair and Professor James Milke added, “We are excited to engage in research activities promoting safe and energy efficient infrastructure. We believe that this long term collaboration will lead to significant advancements in these important areas of engineering and put our faculty and students at the forefront of cutting edge industrial research and development.”

The UTC center of excellence began its work this fall at the University of Maryland College Park campus.