Jim Leidel has been involved in the energy and energy management industries since his graduation from Purdue University with a BS in mechanical engineering in 1990. From 1991 to 2001, he worked in various positions with Invensys Building Systems (formerly Barber-Colman) and Detroit Edison, followed by 10 years as Energy Manager for Oakland University’s Facilities Management Department. In 2011, Jim helped create the Clean Energy Research Center within the School of Engineering and Computer Science at OU and moved over to be the Director of Clean Energy Systems.
Following up his BSME degree from Purdue and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from U of M, he is presently completing his mechanical engineering PhD dissertation at Oakland University. His research is studying a building-integrated hybrid thermal-electric solar collector and energy system.
Recently, James has been researching, producing, using and promoting the use of veggie oil based biodiesel. At Oakland, he designed and installed a 10kW roof integrated photovoltaic system, a small hybrid wind/solar installation, and has been developing projects for a utility sized wind turbine, a central campus bioenergy plant, and a gas fired cogeneration system. All of these projects could involve outside, third party financing and ownership. Presently, he is assisting with OU's first green building project, the Human Health Building, utilizing an innovative geothermal heat pump system with a solar thermal driven desiccant dehumidification ventilation. He procured two grants totaling $2.8M to help fund this project.
Jim also teaches an Environmental Studies course ENV 312, Energy and the Environment, and has been lecturing on biodiesel and alternative energies throughout Michigan and rural Haiti.
Jim has published papers on and holds a patent regarding a low heat rejection automotive engine design and is presently working on several other innovative energy technologies.
Jim has received state, federal, and university funding for many projects over the past several years including:
- Kresge Foundation Green Building Initiative ($75,000 grant award)
- US DOE Geothermal / Solar Thermal Green Bldg Project ($2.75M)
- Biodiesel promotion and business planning (two $6,000 grant awards)
- Photovoltaic demonstration installations ($100,000 grant award)
- Utility scale wind power development ($50,000 grant award)
- Bioenergy combined heat and power plant development ($43,000 grant award)
- 3.5 MW dual fueled biodiesel backup generator project ($1.3M project)
- University campus submetering system ($650,000 project)
- Energy and deferred maintenance performance contract ($11M project)