Haiqing Lin receives Innovation Award from AIChE

Haiqing Lin and students in a chemical engineering lab.

Haiqing Lin (left) was recognized for his work to design and develop high-performance membrane materials for carbon dioxide capture.
Photo credit: The Onion Studio; photo taken prior to January 2020.

By Nicole Capozziello

Published September 28, 2020

Chemical engineer Haiqing Lin received the Innovation Award from the Separations Division of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE).

“Haiqing's work has enormous potential for environmental and societal impact, and we are thrilled that he is leading these efforts here at UB. ”
Mark Swihart, UB Distinguished Professor and chair
Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering

The award recognizes Lin's work in the design, discovery and development of high-performance membrane materials for COcapture, including Polaris™ membranes for industrial hydrogen purification and carbon dioxide removal.

As fossil fuels continue to serve as a major energy source, CO2 capture remains the only option for mitigating CO2 emissions to the environment. With inherently high energy-efficiency, membrane technology has emerged as a leading means of capturing CO2. Lin’s contributions to the creation of advanced membrane materials and processes improve the CO2 separation efficiency, ultimately enabling a more cost-effective and environmentally friendly use of fossil fuels.

“The Innovation Award is a fitting recognition of the high quality and technologically impactful work that Haiqing has done and continues to do,” says Mark Swihart, UB Distinguished Professor and chair of the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering. “He is emerging as a global leader in research on gas separations using membranes, particularly related to the important problem of carbon dioxide capture. Such work has enormous potential for environmental and societal impact, and we are thrilled that Haiqing is leading these efforts here at the University at Buffalo.”

Lin, an associate professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, came to the University at Buffalo in 2013. His research interests include polymeric membranes, gas separation, water purification and carbon capture. 

His previous honors include the I&EC Research 2017 Excellence in Review Award; 2016 NSF CAREER Award; and the 2015 UB SEAS Early Career Researcher of the Year Award. At AIChE, he is a director in the Separations Division and the former vice-chair and chair of the Membranes Area of the Separations Division (2015 – 2019). He also serves on the Board of Directors of the North American Membrane Society.

He earned his PhD in chemical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin in 2005. Before joining UB, he worked at Membrane Technology and Research, Inc. (MTR) as a senior research scientist and group leader of the Gas Separations Group, where he led projects on natural gas clean-up and CO₂/H₂ separation membranes, including commercial development of MTR’s Polaris™ membranes. 

The AIChE Fall Annual Meeting will take place virtually from November 16-20. Lin will give an invited talk, entitled “Molecularly Engineering Polymeric Membranes for Pre-combustion CO2 Capture at 150 ℃ and Above,” at the Separation Division Plenary Session. There will also be a 30-minute video of this year’s awardees, including a 5-minute interview with each recipient, to be posted on their website. 

The world’s leading organization for chemical engineers, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) has over 60,000 members from more than 110 countries.

The Separations Division Innovation Award recognizes an individual for outstanding contributions to scientific, technological, or industrial areas involving separations technologies. Nominees are evaluated based on their development and implementation of significant discoveries, creative research or new processes and/or products. Their innovation must also demonstrate significant and measurable commercial, environmental or societal value.