Above: Ryan P. Lively in his lab.
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, with each recipient nominated by the chemical engineering community and voted on by the members of AIChE’s volunteer-led Awards Committee. The awards recognize outstanding achievements and world-class contributions across a spectrum of chemical engineering endeavors.
The Allan P. Colburn Award
First presented in 1945, the Allan P. Colburn Award for Excellence in Publications by a Young Member of the Institute is awarded to an AIChE member in their early career. The award is sponsored by E. I. DuPont de Nemours and Company, Inc.
The recipient of the 2020 Allan P. Colburn Award is Ryan P. Lively, Associate Professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Dr. Lively is being recognized “for the creation of novel, scalable materials for small molecule separations, and for the conceptual and experimental development of the organic solvent reverse osmosis separation modality.”
His 110 articles to date highlight the impact that new materials can have on the world’s energy supply, while simultaneously reducing emissions of carbon dioxide. Innovations in Lively’s work include the discovery of new materials, fundamental understanding of adsorption and mass-transfer mechanisms, and development of practical separation systems, including innovations in manufacturing.
I became convinced early on in my education that chemical engineers...can effect change on a truly global scale, and it is this potential for worldwide transformative impact that I believe drives many of us to this discipline.
About this year's winner
Ryan Lively received his PhD in chemical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2011, working with Prof. William J. Koros. This was followed by post-doctoral research at Algenol Biofuels under the guidance of Dr. Ronald R. Chance. He joined Georgia Tech’s chemical and biomolecular engineering faculty in 2013 and was promoted to associate professor in 2018.
His research seeks to advance fluid separation processes critical to the global energy infrastructure. In particular, his team investigates adsorption and diffusion phenomena in polymeric and microporous materials. His group is working to transition these materials out of the lab by focusing on methods to manufacture them into modular separation devices.
Lively received a BRIGE Award and CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation, a 3M Non-Tenured Faculty Award, the Kunesh Award from AIChE’s Separations Division, and a U.S. Department of Energy Early Career Award. His more than 100 publications in the field of separations include articles in Science, Nature, and Nature Materials.
Dr. Lively's reflections on the award
Dr. Lively shared these thoughts about being named this year's recipient of the Colburn Award:
“This award is especially meaningful to me because of the seminal contributions that Prof. Colburn made in the areas of mass transfer and separations science. I became convinced early on in my education that chemical engineers — perhaps more so than scholars in any other discipline — can effect change on a truly global scale, and it is this potential for worldwide transformative impact that I believe drives many of us to this discipline.
Moreover, it is clear that chemical engineers will continue to play a central role in modern society for years to come as we grapple with the twin challenge of producing ever-increasing amounts of energy while reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. This daunting but ultimately solvable task will require close collaboration and communication among the various disciplines within chemical engineering including catalysis (thermal, bio, and electric), process systems engineering and control, materials science and engineering, and of course, separations science and engineering.
My “home” will always be separations science and engineering, which is a diverse, active, and exciting area of AIChE. My hope is that we can continue to improve our advocacy for the importance of separations to the new generations of chemical engineers — and beyond!”
In the weeks leading up to the 2020 Virtual AIChE Annual Meeting, we will feature other 2020 Institute and Board of Directors’ Award recipients, so please visit again to read more about these highly accomplished individuals. If you missed earlier award winners, check out the complete series to date.