University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota: Department of Mechanical Engineering


Jane H. Davidson

Professor and Ronald L. and Janet A. Christenson Chair in
Renewable Energy, and Director of Graduate Studies

Office: ME 3101E
Phone: 612-626-9850

Ph.D. 1984, Mechanical Engineering, Duke University
M.S. 1976, B.S. 1975, Engineering Science and Mechanics University of Tennessee



Professor Jane Davidson is Director of the Solar Energy Laboratory.

More energy from sunlight strikes the earth in an hour than all of the energy consumed on the planet in one year. Harvesting and storing the earth’s most abundant energy source for use in our homes, workplaces and automobiles are the core values of my research.

My group’s work on solar systems to heat water, to warm and cool buildings, and to provide heat for industry and agriculture focuses on improving the thermal behavior of these systems and development of new materials to reduce cost and to provide long-term storage for cold climates.

Looking toward the future, we are working on solutions to efficiently “reenergize” CO2 and H2O back into hydrocarbon form using solar energy as the heat source to drive chemical reactions. We are creating clean alternative fuels using concentrated sunshine, waste water and carbon dioxide or biomass.

Prof. Davidson has served as Editor of the ASME Journal of Solar Energy Engineering, Chair of the ASME Solar Energy Division, and on the Boards of the American Solar Energy Society (ASES) and the Solar Rating and Certification Corporation. She has received the American Solar Energy Society Charles Greeley Abbot Award, the ASME John I. Yellott and Frank Kreith Energy Awards, and the University of Minnesota Distinguished Women Scholar Award in Science and Engineering. She is a Fellow of ASME and ASES..


Solar Energy Laboratory