Faculty Directory

Zhang, Chen

Zhang, Chen

Assistant Professor
Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Maryland Energy Innovation Institute
1140 Kim Building, College Park, MD

Prior to joining UMD, Dr. Zhang was a Research Engineer in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he also obtained his doctoral degree in Chemical Engineering.

The overarching goal of his research is to reduce the CO2 footprints of large-scale separations, which currently consume roughly half of U.S. industrial energy use. Dr. Zhang’s lab aims to achieve this goal through leveraging material chemistry, transport, and scalable device fabrication to create advanced membranes for sustainable separation processes. More specifically, his research focuses on (1) understanding the control of molecular-scale membrane chemistry and structure to provide tunable transport properties for target fluid separations; (2) translating molecular-scale discoveries to hollow fibers with ultra-thin separation layers suitable for large-scale applications. His research addresses a broad range of challenging separation problems crucial to sustainable production of energy, clean water, bulk chemicals, and pharmaceuticals. Current interests include: (1) Membrane separation of hydrocarbon vapor mixtures; (2) Organic solvent nanofiltration membranes with tunable solvent permeability and ultra-high solute rejections; (3) Non-polymeric desalination membranes with ultra-high rejections of monovalent ions and low-molecular-weight uncharged solutes.


Ph.D. Chemical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology

Honors and Awards

NSF CAREER Award, 2021

Minta Martin Award, 2019



Membrane science, transport in nanoporous materials, advanced hollow fibers, and sustainable separation processes.

CHBE440: Chemical Kinetics and Reactor Design (Spring 2020, Spring 2021)

CHBE437: Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Laboratory (Fall 2018-2021)

A full list of publications can be viewed at https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=EJFKDMkAAAAJ&hl=en

  • Liu, G.; Chernikova, V.; Liu, Y.; Zhang, K.; Belmabkhout, Y.; Shekhah, O.; Zhang, C.; Yi, S.; Eddaoudi, M.; Koros, W.J., "Mixed Matrix Formulations with MOF Molecular Sieving for Key Energy-Intensive Separations" Nature Materials, 2018, 17, 283-289.
  • Zhang, C.; Koros, W. J., "Ultraselective Carbon Molecular Sieve Membranes with Tailored Synergistic Sorption Selective Properties" Advanced Materials, 2017, 1701631.
  • Koros, W. J.; Zhang, C., "Materials for Next-Generation Molecularly Selective Synthetic Membranes" Nature Materials, 2017, 16, 289-297.
  • Zhang, C.; Wenz, G. B.; Williams, P. J.; Mayne, J. M.; Liu, G.; Koros, W. J., "Purification of Aggressive Supercritical Natural Gas using Carbon Molecular Sieve Hollow Fiber Membranes" Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, 2017, 56, 10482-10490.
  • Zhang, C.; Koros, W. J., "Tailoring the Transport Properties of Zeolitic Imidazolate Frameworks by Post-Synthetic Thermal Modification" ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 2015, 7, 23407-23411.
  • Zhang, C.; Koros, W. J., "Zeolitic Imidazolate Framework-Enabled Membranes: Challenges and Opportunities" The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, 2015, 6, 3841-3849.
  • Zhang, C.; Zhang, K.; Xu, L.; Labreche, Y.; Kraftschik, B.; Koros, W. J., "Highly Scalable ZIF-Based Mixed-Matrix Hollow Fiber Membranes for Advanced Hydrocarbon Separations" AIChE Journal, 2014, 60, 2625-2635
  • Zhang, C.*; Gee, J. A.*; Sholl, D. S.; Lively, R. P., "Crystal-Size-Dependent Structural Transitions in Nanoporous Crystals: Adsorption-Induced Transitions in ZIF-8" The Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 2014, 118, 20727-20733. (*Equal contributions)
  • Zhang, C.; Dai, Y.; Johnson, J.; Karvan, O.; Koros, W. J., "High Performance ZIF-8/6FDA-DAM Mixed Matrix Membrane for Propylene/Propane Separations" Journal of Membrane Science, 2012, 389, 34-42.
  • Zhang, C.; Lively, R. P.; Zhang, K.; Johnson, J. R.; Karvan, O.; Koros, W. J., "Unexpected Molecular Sieving Properties of Zeolitic Imidazolate Framework-8" The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, 2012, 3, 2130-2134.

2020 Hulka/Wells Energy Fellowships Awarded

Biofuel Production and Advanced Energy Storage Projects Selected

Wood-based Technology Creates Electricity from Heat

Briber, Das and Hu make novel heat-conversion membrane

MTI App that Rewards Smart Commuting Featured in Washington Post, City Lab

incenTrip uses predictive modeling and real-time information to reduce congestion and energy use.

MSE Researchers Interviewed by Voice of America

Scientists in Liangbing Hu's research group explain novel uses of wood.

UMD Team Wins First Place in MaxTech Competition

Team UMD Dryer wins the first place gold medal for their energy saving heat pump dryer.