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Prof. Li Detao wins Outstanding Contribution Award of Combustion Science
2023-10-27 10:51  

The awarding ceremony of Chinese Society of Engineering Thermophysics-Combustion Branch Outstanding Contribution Award 2023 sponsored by University of Science and Technology of China was held on October 13th. The organizing committee gave the honor of "Outstanding Contribution Award" to Prof. Li Detao, who is the retired faculty member of the School of Energy and Power Engineering of Jiangsu University (JSU), for his outstanding contribution to the research of combustion.

The organizing committee said that “Prof. Li Detao has made a pioneering contribution to the research and development of China's most productive, versatile and foreign-currency-earning swirl-chamber diesel in the past half a century. His ‘low fuel consumption, low pollution and low detonation pressure swirl combustion system’ broke the technological monopoly of the UK, the former USSR and Japan, and reduced the labor intensity of tens of millions of farmers. He made a remarkable contribution to the development of China's internal combustion engine industry and the cause of ‘agriculture, rural areas and farmers’ in China.”
The Outstanding Contribution Award of Combustion Science is the highest award established by Chinese Society of Engineering Thermophysics-Combustion Branch to recognize the high-impact academic contributions made in the field of combustion science in China, and senior scholars who have made unique or significant contributions to the development of China’s combustion science and society. Only 1-2 scholars are selected for this award every year.
Prof. Li Detao worked as doctoral supervisor in JSU, and enjoys the State Council special government allowances. He was a deputy to the 6th and 7th National People's Congress of China, assessment expert of the 3rd and 4th National Natural Science Fund of China, and the chief of the Combustion Section of the fund. In 1956, Prof. Li Detao graduated from Jilin University, majoring in internal combustion engine, and worked as a teacher at the university. In 1959, he began to serve as the main scientific research and teaching assistant of Prof. Dai Guirui, a famous expert of internal combustion engine and drainage and irrigation machinery in China, and participated in the research of a national key project of internal combustion water pump and the establishment of the first major of drainage and irrigation machinery. In 1962, he was transferred to Zhenjiang Institute of Agricultural Machinery (the predecessor of JSU) with the profession, and was sent by the Chinese government to study at the University of Timisoara in Romania in 1979. He returned to China after he received a doctor's degree in 1982 and set up the Engineering Thermophysics Research Laboratory which was approved by Ministry of Machine-Building Industry of the PRC, serving as the director. Prof. Li Detao has served as an adjunct professor in Hunan University, Nanjing University of Science and Technology and other universities, and a visiting professor in Japanese Sophia University. He was invited to Kyoto University and other universities for academic exchanges, and went to University of Texas at Austin for collaborative researches on unsteady combustion of internal combustion engines to develop the computational model and program for swirl-chamber diesel.
Prof. Li Detao, who is 90 years old this year, has devoted his life to scientific and educational work in the field of internal combustion engine, especially in the direction of the research of swirl-chamber diesel in combustion, which has made pioneering contributions. The swirl-chamber diesel engine is the main product of internal combustion engine with the largest output, the widest use and the most foreign currency earning in the past half a century in China. Prof. Li Detao has carried out a lot of basic theoretical and testing researches on the key core issues, published 5 monographs and about 220 academic papers. He constructed the theoretical system of combustion and cold-starting process of swirl-chamber diesel, and successfully developed the combustion system of swirl-chamber diesel with independent intellectual property rights of low fuel consumption, low pollution and low detonation pressure (low noise). He put an end to the domestic and overseas 30-year-long debate on the cold-starting mechanism of swirl-chamber diesel and lowered the minimum cold-starting temperature by 8~12℃, which reduced the labor intensity of tens of millions of farmers and promoted the development of “agriculture, rural areas and farmers”.

For the first time, Prof. Li Detao raised the RPM of the domestic diesel engine from 2000 rpm to 3000 rpm, increased the S195 diesel engine from 12 horsepower to 18 horsepower, reduced NOx by 20%, of which the fuel consumption and carbon and soot emission reached the international advanced level at that time. It was directly applied to more than 30 enterprises, saving 5-16 grams of fuel per horsepower hour, and the total fuel saving was roughly estimated to be over 100 million tons. He won 12 awards of State Award for Inventions, Advanced Individual Award of National Machinery Industry Federation and provincial and ministerial awards. His idea and practice of “Four-crosses” (cross-discipline, cross-department, cross-region and cross-national border) has played an important role in accelerating the development of science and technology in China’s universities and colleges.
In his acceptance speech, Prof. Li Detao said that he is grateful for the CPC’s cultivation of him, his motherland and his people. He was born and raised in the countryside, and his parents and grand parents were all ward-working farmers. He has a genuine gene and feelings for “agriculture, rural areas and farmers”. “I have done various farming work, so I know the farmers’ hardship and tiredness, and I ever dreamed to do something to relieve the farmers' hardship when I grow up.”
Prof. Li Detao said, to improve the non-stationary combustion process of diesel engine at low temperature is the subject that he and his research team have been working hard to do research on and figure out for half a century. The “Four-crosses” team will always adhere to the purpose of “serving the needs of the country and the people”, overcoming scientific and technical difficulties with unremitting efforts, keeping making research achievements to serve “agriculture, rural areas and farmers”, and contributing to the country's agricultural modernization.

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