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Professor Zhiping Lai, chemical engineering program director. Photo credit: Anastasia Serin.
KAUST Professor of Chemical Engineering Zhiping Lai believes that "chemical engineers are destined to continue making vital contributions to our future lives."
As the program director of the university's chemical engineering program, Lai offers students opportunities to develop real-world solutions to global challenges by performing rigorous coursework studies and cutting-edge research in chemical engineering.
His passion and dedication to his field have recently earned him the prestigious distinction of being jointly awarded AIChE's 2020 Industrial Gases Award. 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. He shares the award with Hae-Kwon Jeong, professor of chemical engineering, and materials science and engineering at Texas A&M University.
AIChE is recognized as the global home of chemical engineers, comprising 60,000 members representing more than 110 countries. The award highlights outstanding achievements and world-class contributions across a spectrum of chemical engineering endeavors.
Lai was recognized "for pioneering contributions and sustained excellence in the field of metal-organic framework membranes for gas separations development." The KAUST Advanced Membranes and Porous Materials Center member believes we can save up to 90% in energy resources in the future by employing membranes to replace existing separation technologies.
His research interests reflect this fascination for the transformational potential of porous material structures to offer unprecedented opportunities for engineering applications. Lai aims to understand the membrane formation and separation mechanisms in order to develop novel synthesis strategies to fabricate high-performance membrane systems.
The applications of these membranes are targeted on gas separations, hydrocarbon mixture separations, membrane reactors, wastewater treatment, and recovery of industrial organic solvents.