CLEMSON — A Clemson University researcher who is helping extend the life of hybrid car batteries and has been invited to share her knowledge around the world will add to a string of honors Thursday when she goes to Charlotte to be recognized as an emerging leader in energy.

Simona Onori and assistant research professor Mark Hoffman (left) stand with some of her students (background) at the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research.

Simona Onori and assistant research professor Mark Hoffman (left) stand with some of her students (background) at the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research.

Simona Onori will be given a Carolinas Energy Leadership Award at the 2016 Energy Summit, an event expected to draw some of the region’s top executives, entrepreneurs, researchers, academics, advocates and emerging leaders.

Onori has developed two new classes and started a new lab since joining the university’s automotive engineering department as an assistant professor nearly three years ago. She has published more than 60 peer-reviewed papers while steadily building an international reputation for high-quality research.

“It’s an honor to be recognized as an emerging leader in a region where there is so much talent,” Onori said. “Thank you to those who selected me for the award and to Zoran Filipi for nominating me.”

“She is driven by an overarching goal of achieving sustainable transportation and highly deserving of the emerging leaders award,” said Filipi, the chair of automotive engineering. “Simona’s efforts contribute significantly to the growth of the research enterprise at the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research.

“They also increase the attractiveness of the Greenville area for considering new facilities in the Southeast.”

E4 Carolinas, a trade association for energy companies in North and South Carolina, annually collaborates with the Charlotte Business Journal to produce the Carolinas Energy Leadership Awards.

Onori previously won an InnoVision Sustainability award, an honor that recognizes some of South Carolina’s top technological advancements.

Since starting at Clemson, she has been invited to share her knowledge at higher education institutions from China to Germany. Onori is currently a visiting professor in the mechanical and energy engineering department at the University of Orleans in France.

She has also worked with the Summer Scholars program at CU-ICAR during Automotive Engineering Week.

Onori’s research has been sponsored by Honda R&D Americas, Johnson Controls, Chrysler Fiat Automobile, Borg Warner and the National Science Foundation.

Her main research focus is in developing new technologies to make automotive systems more efficient.

“Cars could benefit from new technologies that would increase the efficiency of the engines (or powertrain in general), decrease the pollutants they emit, and make those machines last a much longer time,” Onori said. “In these systems, efficiency is a key component.”

She works on fundamental research, supported by experimental work, on aftertreatment systems, lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles and waste heat-recovery systems. The main questions she investigates deal with how to operate systems more efficiently and make them last longer or being able detect when they fail.

“Dr. Onori’s work is part of the reason why Clemson University has established itself as a worldwide leader in clean-energy research,” said Anand Gramopadhye, dean of the College of Engineering and Science. “She has accomplished much in a short time in South Carolina. This is a richly deserved award.”

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