Prof. Ni is a famous scholar in the field of the modeling, simulation, control and diagnostics of turbo-machinery and thermal power systems. He has systematically developed the new theory and method for the modeling and control strategy of complex thermal systems, has attained creative achievement in online monitoring and diagnostics of large power plants, has developed the first training simulator of the gas/steam combined cycle, and has resolved a lot of key problems concerning the application of advanced gas turbines in China.
Prof. Ni is also an important and influential scientist in the field of energy and power in China. As a member of the Consultant Group of State Fundamental Research and the Co-chairman of Energy Group of China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED), he used to give consultation on state energy policies as well as on the planning and approving of important research and engineering projects in the energy field in China.
Prof. Ni is now devoted to the sustainable development of energy and energy conservation in China, and has proposed the idea that polygeneration based on coal gasification is the key strategy for the sustainable development of China and has been making a lot of efforts in promoting the research and implementation of polygeneration, and methanol and DME as alternative vehicle fuels in China. He also attaches much importance to the research of renewable energies especially wind power in China.
Besides, he has lead many national and international co-operations and research projects in the past 7-8 years and has achieved remarkable results, such as the cooperation of Tsinghua University with British Petroleum (BP) to set up "Tsinghua BP Clean Energy Research and Education Center", devoted to the research on "China Energy strategies and new energy systems; and the cooperation of Tsinghua University with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI)" to set up "Tsinghua University-Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Research and Development Center", dedicated to the research on key technologies of advanced power generation systems.