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 decarbonize large-scale separations, which 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 mixtures; (2) Carbon molecular sieve membranes for high-temperature hydrogen separations; (3) Catalytic hollow fiber membrane reactors for decarbonized chemical conversion; (4) Hierarchically porous silica hollow fiber membranes and sorbents for carbon capture.


Ph.D. Chemical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology

Honors and Awards

ACS PRF Doctoral New Investigator Award, 2021

NSF CAREER Award, 2021

Minta Martin Award, 2019



Membrane science, transport in nanoporous materials, advanced hollow fiber membranes, reaction engineering.

CHBE494/694: Sustainable Separations and Carbon Capture (Fall 2023-2024)

CHBE440: Chemical Kinetics and Reactor Design (Spring 2020-2024)

CHBE437: Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Laboratory (Fall 2018-2022)

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

  • Ku, C.; Liu, L.; Zhang, C., Ion-Exchange Resin-Templated Carbon Capture Sorbents with Hierarchical Pores. Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research 2024, 63, 11444.

  • Bhowmick, A.; Liu, L.; Liu, Z.; Zhang, C.; Liu, D., Protocol for preparation of electrifiable carbon membrane reactor for non-oxidative alkane dehydrogenation. STAR Protocols 2024, 5, 103112.

  • Iyer, G.; Ku, C.; Zhang, C., Polyamide-imide copolymer-derived carbon molecular sieve membranes for efficient hydrogen/carbon dioxide separation. Carbon 2024, 216, 118598.

  • Liu, L.; Bhowmick, A.; Cheng, S.; Blazquez, B. H.; Pan, Y.; Zhang, J.; Zhang, Y.; Shu, Y.; Tran, D. T.; Luo, Y.; Ierapetritou, M.; Zhang, C.; Liu, D., Alkane dehydrogenation in scalable and electrifiable carbon membrane reactor. Cell Reports Physical Science 2023, 4 (12), 101692.

  • Iyer, G.; Zhang, C., Precise Hydrogen Sieving by Carbon Molecular Sieve Membranes Derived from Solution-Processable Aromatic Polyamides. ACS Materials Letters 2023, 5, 243-248.

  • Liu, L.; Liu, D.; Zhang, C., High-Temperature Hydrogen/Propane Separations in Asymmetric Carbon Molecular Sieve Hollow Fiber Membranes. Journal of Membrane Science 2022, 642, 119978.

  • Liu, L.; Ku, C.; Zhang, C., Petrified Hollow Fiber Membranes with Hierarchical Pores. ACS Materials Letters 2022, 938-943.

  • Cao, Y.; Zhang, K.; Zhang, C.; Koros, W. J., Carbon molecular sieve hollow fiber membranes derived from dip-coated precursor hollow fibers comprising nanoparticles. Journal of Membrane Science 2022, 649, 120279.

  • Tran, D.; Zhang, C.; and Choi, K.Y., Effects of Silica Support Properties on the Performance of Immobilized Metallocene Catalysts for Ethylene Polymerization. Macromolecular Reaction Engineering 2022, 2200020.

  • Pan, Y.; Bhowmick, A.; Bhowmick, A.; Zhang, Y.; Diao, Y.; Zheng, A.; Zhang, C.; Xie, R.; Liu, Z.; Meng, J.; Liu, D., Titanium Silicalite-1 Nanosheet Supported Platinum for Non-oxidative Ethane Dehydrogenation. ACS Catalysis 2021, 11, 9970-9985.

  • Shi, Y.; Liang, B.; Lin, R.-B.; Zhang, C.; Chen, B., Gas Separation via Hybrid Metal–Organic Framework/Polymer Membranes. Trends in Chemistry 2020, 2, 254-269.

  • Iyer, G. M.; Liu, L.; Zhang, C., Hydrocarbon separations by glassy polymer membranes. Journal of Polymer Science 2020, 58, 2482-2517.

Groundbreaking Plasma Innovation Shines as Invention of the Year

Maryland Engineers Take Home Top Prize at 2024 Innovate Maryland

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.