389126 Engineering Advanced Membrane Materials for Gas Separation and Biofuels Production

Sunday, November 16, 2014
Galleria Exhibit Hall (Hilton Atlanta)
Shouliang Yi, School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA

My research work focuses on design and development of novel high performance hollow fiber membranes and sorbents with complex morphologies out of advanced polymers and nanostructured materials, and their applications in membrane-based gas separation, and biofuels purification. During my PhD at University of Chinese Academy of Sciences with Prof. Yinhua Wan, I introduced a new process for improving the affinity between nano-sized particles and polymer matrix through chemical bonds and hence suppressed the formation of microvoids at polymer–inorganic interface, which was used to develop novel organic permselective pervaporation membranes for biofuels purification from biomass fermentation broth. This work has been successfully resulted in a new research program around $2.0M at Chinese Academy of Sciences funded by Chinese Government as well as incubated several collaborations with companies to carry out the pilot scale application for bio-ethanol and bio-butanol production via fermentation/pervaporation coupled process based on cellulose and Cassava renewable feed stock, respectively.

Currently, I am a research engineer and lab manager at Georgia Tech, where I am expanding my expertise in membrane-based gas separation by engineering the economical membrane materials. I also provide mentorship and instruction to the undergraduates, PhD students and post-doctoral fellows in a group of over 20 researchers. This position has allowed me to expend my expertise from flat-sheet membranes to high performance hollow fiber membranes, and also from membrane-based separations to combined hollow fiber sorbents adsorption and membrane-based coupled separations. By using advanced cross-linkable polymers, functional polymers, and several commercially available polymers, I have created high performance hollow fiber membranes for aggressive sour gas separations, CO2 removal from flue gas, and biofuels purification.

My future research will address both fundamental issues and applied research related to membrane-based gas separations, organic permselective pervaporation membrane technology for biofuels purification, and recovery and/or removal of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from industrial wastewaters. Using the knowledge of the industrially available material properties developed in the fundamental studies, I will strongly focus on conducting cutting-edge research in engineering the advanced polymer structures and economical processes to produce high performance membranes with the emphasis on global CO2 reduction, energy conversion, and clean technology which will be met industrial applications.

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