The concept of providing a forum for the exchange of information on research and application of electrostatic precipitation originated with Dr. Harry J. White. Dr. White is recognized world wide for his pioneering research on electrostatic precipitation and for his book “Industrial Electrostatic Precipitation” which is a classic in the field.

Several factors made it necessary to expand electrostatic precipitator technology. Prior to the worldwide interest in air pollution in the 1960s, precipitators were designed for moderate efficiencies. Designs were based on previous experience in similar applications and unrecognized changes in a process often resulted in failure to meet even the modest efficiencies. However, emission standards set by regulatory agencies required higher efficiencies and penalties for failure to meet emission limits were severe. The result was a large market for retrofitting existing pollution control equipment as well as for new installations. Higher efficiencies as well as changes in particulate properties due to control of gaseous emissions place greater restrictions on precipitator design to prevent installations that are unnecessarily large and expensive on the one end and even worse, to small to meet emission limits.

These factors led to increased research on basic fundamentals as well as design and application of precipitators. Dr. White was a consultant for several agencies in various countries and was aware of the research being conducted throughout the world. He was a strong proponent of sharing of technology and decided to establish an international steering committee to plan and organize an international conference for exchange of information on theory and application of electrostatic precipitators.

The Organizing Committee was composed of: John S. Lagarias (Kaiser Engineers, USA), Chairman, Harry J. White (Consultant, USA), Noel J. Felici (CNRS, France), Dan Giovanni (EPRI, USA), Senichi Masuda (University of Tokyo, Japan), Sabert Oglesby (SRI, USA), Sidney R. Orem (Industrial Gas Cleaning Institute, USA), Edmund C. Potter (CSIRO, Austalia).

The first conference was held in Monterey, California, USA, in October 1981. The success of the first conference suggested a second one and it was decided to hold it in Kyoto, Japan, with Senichi Masuda as Chairman. It was held in November 1984. The Third International Conference was held in Abano Terme, Italy in June 1996 with Massimo Rea as Chairman. At this meeting it was decided to formalize the organization as “The International Society of Electrostatic Precipitation” and the following officers were elected by the Steering Committee: Senichi Masuda, President, Sigvard Matts, Vice President, Sabert Oglesby, Secretary-Treasurer, and board members Kenneth Darby, Gernot Mayer-Schwinnning, Sidney Orem, John Maulbetsch, Masanori Akasaki, and John Lagarias.

The Secretary was requested to establish Articles of Incorporation and By Laws for the organization and to file the necessary papers to designate the organization as non-profit with tax exemption. The decision was made to hold an International Conference at about three years intervals.

Succeeding meetings were held as follows:

  • Beijing, China, 1991 with Li Ruinian, Chairman
  • Washington, DC USA, 1993 with Grady Nichols, Chairman
  • Budapest, Hungary, 1996 with Istvan Berta, Chairman
  • Kyongju, Korea, 1998 with Chunghwan Chun, Chairman
  • Birmingham, Alabama, 2001 with Wallace Harrison, Chairman
  • Mpumalanga, South Africa, 2004 with Rod Hansen, Chairman
  • Cairns , Queensland , Australia 2006 with Colin Paulson, Chairman
  • Hangzhou, China 2008
  • Nuremberg, Germany 2011

Officers of the Society were selected at each Conference to serve approximately three years or until the following Conference. The following is a list of the officers who have served:

  • Presidents: Senichi Masuda 1987-1990, Sabert Oglesby 1990-1993, Massimo Rea 1993-1996, Grady Nichols 1996-1998, Gernot Mayer-Schwinning 1998-2001, Kjell Porle 2001-2004, Rod Hansen 2004-2006, Robert (Bob) Crynack 2006-2008, Prof. Dr. Keping Yan 2008-2011, Mr. Carsten Lund 2011-Present

  • Vice President: Sigvard Matts 1987-1990, Massimo Rea 1990-1993, Grady Nichols 1993-1996, Robert (Bob) Crynack 2001 - 2006, Tetsuji Oda 2006-2008, Carsten Lund 2008-2011, Michael Frank 2011-Present

  • Secretary-Treasurer: Sabert Oglesby 1987-1990, Robert Crynack 1990-2001, Preben Lausen 2001-2004, Ralph Altman 2004-2006, Wallis Harrison /Mark Berry 2006-2008, Michael Frank/Mark Berry 2008-Present

The International Society of Electrostatic Precipitation has functioned effectively to provide a forum to exchange information on all phases of ESP technology. Dr. White, whose idea it was to establish the organization would be pleased that it has continued to contribute to effective control of particulate emissions worldwide


For any question or comment, please address to the editor@isesp.org