This fall, ChEnected is introducing readers to the recipients of AIChE’s 2020 Institute and Board of Directors’ Awards. These are AIChE’s highest honors. Recipients are nominated by the chemical engineering community and voted on by the members of AIChE’s volunteer-led Awards Committee. These awards recognize outstanding achievements and world-class contributions across a spectrum of chemical engineering endeavors.
The Institute Award for Excellence in Industrial Gases Technology
The Institute Award for Excellence in Industrial Gases Technology recognizes sustained excellence in contributions to the advancement of technology in the production, distribution, and application of industrial gases.
The 2020 Industrial Gases Award is being presented jointly to Hae-Kwon Jeong, Professor of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University, and Zhiping Z. Lai, Professor of Chemical Engineering at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Saudi Arabia.
Dr. Jeong and Dr. Lai are being recognized “for pioneering contributions and sustained excellence in the field of metal-organic framework membranes for gas separations development.”
This post features Dr. Jeong, but you can read about Dr. Lai and his accomplishments in this post.
Dr. Jeong's research
Hae-Kwon Jeong’s research at Texas A&M focuses on chemical purification and separation. Jeong and his team have developed a novel membrane-based method to separate light olefins from paraffins. The method uses metal-organic frameworks (MOF) as the membrane material — in particular zeolitic-imidazolate frameworks (ZIF), which are composed of metal ions and imidazole-derived organic linkers. Traditionally, ZIF membranes, while effective in separations, have been expensive to produce. Jeong’s method drastically reduces the effective thickness of the ZIF membranes while increasing the membrane area, greatly reducing the cost of production. Jeong earned his PhD in chemical engineering at the University of Minnesota, where his thesis advisor was Michael Tsapatsis.
Dr. Jeong describes recent work
In receiving the Industrial Gases Award, Jeong described his work and recent projects:
“Throughout my career, I have developed technologies to synthesize metallic-organic framework membranes for separation of challenging gas mixtures. Due to the unique challenges resulting from the coordination chemistry of MOFs, my group has developed a variety of novel strategies to promote the heterogeneous nucleation and growth of MOFs on supports. In particular, my group has made important contributions in developing novel scalable strategies to bring these membranes to potential commercial applications. One such strategy led to one of the first highly propylene selective ZIF membranes with propylene/propane separation factor above 150~200. Another technique was to post-synthetically modify ZIF-8 membranes to drastically increase the productivity of ZIF-8 membranes without sacrificing C3 separation factor. Most recently, my group has reported high-quality ZIF-8 membranes on polymer hollow fibers, which are more cost-effective than inorganic supports. Apart from polycrystalline MOF membranes, we recently developed an innovative technology, fundamentally different from existing ones, that enabled in situ formation of MOF nanoparticles in polymer matrices, leading to formation of ZIF-8/polyimide mixed matrix hollow fiber membranes with submicron-thick selective skin layers and their first modules.”
To read about Dr. Lai, co-recipient of this award, please see this post.