California State University, Los Angeles Professor, TechnologyTechnical Director for Hydrogen Research and Fueling Facility
Tapped by Cal State LA to expand its green portfolio by developing the largest hydrogen and fuel-cell research facility at any academic campus in the United States, Dr. David Blekhman jumped at the opportunity. When the Cal State LA Hydrogen Research and Fueling Facility opened in 2014, the engineering technology professor was named its technical director. The station was the first in the world to be certified to sell hydrogen by the kilogram directly to drivers, and it has hosted more than 10,000 students and industry professionals.
Beyond his vision for clear skies and a green and healthy planet, the alternative energy expert is intent on creating a world where his diverse and talented students are prized as highly skilled practitioners, with a direct hand in advancing sustainable policies and technical solutions for California’s top research firms, businesses and government agencies. To achieve this goal, Dr. Blekhman actively develops cutting-edge courses in electric and hybrid vehicles, fuel cell applications, photovoltaics, advanced engine design and other in-demand fields, leading students to explore real-world problems and their solutions through hands-on projects, guest presentations, industry tours and attendance at local conferences. Instrumental in introducing electric vehicle charging infrastructure and solar energy projects to Cal State LA, he now employs the campus as a “living laboratory” to enhance students’ learning and professional development.
Dr. Blekhman has also earned an enviable track record of securing federal grants to advance his students’ work. Since 2007, he has served as principal investigator, co-principal investigator and senior personnel for numerous grants totaling more than $32 million from the Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, Argonne Labs, California Air Resources Board, California Energy Commission, South Coast AQMD and others.
He has been recognized as a Cal State LA Outstanding Professor and as the Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Alternative Energy Technology at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden. And he led Cal State LA’s EcoCAR team in international competitions for seven years, garnering the Green Leadership Award from the County of Los Angeles, the National Science Foundation Diversity in Engineering Award and the South Coast Air Quality Management District’s 2018 Clean Air Award, among others.
An internationally renowned author and presenter, Dr. Blekhman holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in thermal physics and engineering from St. Petersburg State Polytechnic University in Russia, as well as a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of Buffalo in New York.