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Purdue engineering professor discusses climate change with Pope Francis

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Posted at 7:24 PM, Feb 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-08 19:24:39-05

WEST LAFAYETTE — A Purdue engineering professor was part of a small delegation that had a private audience with Pope Francis Friday at the Vatican to talk about climate change.

Professor John W. Sheffield, who is with Purdue's Polytechnic Institute, discussed hydrogen as a sustainable energy in the face of climate change.

“Today, as an industrial gas, hydrogen is already a big global business,” Sheffield said in a release from Purdue. “It is used by industry for refining petroleum, treating metals, producing fertilizer and processing foods.”

Sheffield, who also serves as president of the International Association for Hydrogen Energy, was joined by four other organization members to meet with the pope.

Sheffield said the delegation prepared a one-page petition it read to the pope.

“It’s language that says, ‘This is our belief, our values and our vision,’” Sheffield said. “We believe that hydrogen energy is the best and permanent solution for a sustainable energy future.

As part of the visit, the Pope gave Sheffield a medal commemorating his seventh year as pope, while Sheffield gave Pope Francis the book, "Ever True: 150 Years of Giant Leaps at Purdue University."