Graduate students win 2023 Elias Klein Founders’ Travel Supplement Awards
Graduate students Yi-Chen Huang and Shraavya Rao have been selected as winners of the 2023 Elias Klein Founders’ Travel Supplement Award by the North American Membrane Society (NAMS). The selection of this award is based, in part, on academic achievements, and will provide up to $500 for the scholars to present their papers at the NAMS Annual Meeting to be held May 13 – 17, 2023 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Yi-Chen Huang is a doctoral student working with faculty members Nicholas Brunelli, Winston Ho and Research Scientist Yang Han ('18 PhD). Her paper, titled “Feasibility of Membrane-Adsorption Hybrid Process for Direct Air Capture," focuses on direct air capture (DAC) technologies that separate CO2 directly from ambient air. The research project proposes a membrane-adsorption hybrid process for DAC, which combines amine-containing polymeric membranes with physisorbents to purify the CO2 from an atmospheric level (418 ppm) to a purity of 95% while evaluating its feasibility for DAC. A potential benefit of this technology is that it could achieve net negative emissions and is not limited to locations with large, stationary point sources (such as fossil-fueled power plants).
Shraavya Rao, a doctoral student working with Yang Han and Winston Ho, was also chosen. Shraavya Rao's paper is titled “Selective H2S/CO2 Separation Using Sterically Hindered Amine Membranes" and focuses on H2S-selective membranes for syngas purification. H2S is a highly toxic and corrosive gas that can damage downstream equipment and catalysts. Consequently, H2S removal is crucial to minimize occupational and environmental hazards. The advantage of using H2S-selective membrane processes is that they are often less energy-intensive than traditional H2S removal methods, and can be a more environmentally-sustainable and economic alternative.