MTR’s membrane researchers are leaders in their field and actively engage with the international membrane community. Our knowledge base is enhanced by a number of joint projects with other institutions whose focus is on membrane technology.
Dr. Merkel joined MTR full-time as a Senior Research Scientist in 2003, became Director of Process Research and Development in 2007 and Director of the MTR Research and Development Group in 2009. He is leading MTR’s company-wide program on carbon capture and sequestration, including projects with DOE NETL to demonstrate membrane-based CO2 capture from power plant flue gas at 1 TPD and 20 TPD CO2 field units. In his earlier work at MTR, Dr. Merkel’s activities focused on innovative membrane and module studies, ranging from evaluation of organic vapor transport in polymers with high glass transition temperatures, to development of novel water transport materials and devices. Dr. Merkel received his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from North Carolina State University in 2002. Before joining MTR, Tim worked on novel syngas cleanup technologies at Research Triangle Institute, RTP, NC (1998-2002). He has published over 20 peer-reviewed articles, and is co-author on 7 patents and patents pending, primarily in the field of CO2 and flue gas separations. He has also given numerous presentations at academic and industrial meetings internationally, including the 2010 Gordon Conference on membranes.
Dr. Baker currently serves as MTR’s Principal Scientist. He founded the company in 1982, and served as President for 25 years. In that time, MTR became a leading membrane research, development, engineering, and production company, concentrating on the development of membranes and membrane systems for industrially and environmentally significant separations. He is currently leading MTR’s new development program for membrane-based biomass/biofuel ethanol separations. Dr. Baker is the author of more than 100 papers and over 100 patents, all in the membrane area. Two editions of his book, Membrane Technology and Applications, were published in 2000 and 2004, and a third edition is in progress. He serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Membrane Science and Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research, was previously on the editorial boards of The Journal of Controlled Release and Separation and Purification Technology, and served as editor of the NAMS quarterly newsletter for several years. He is founder and past president of the International Controlled Release Society, and co-founder of the North American Membrane Society (NAMS). In 2002, he was recipient of the first NAMS Alan S. Michaels Award for Innovation in Membrane Science and Technology.
Karl Amo joined MTR as a research engineer in 1993. Since 2005, he has worked as research liaison with MTR’s manufacturing group, incorporating membrane and module innovations into existing module designs and manufacturing processes. Karl received his B.S. (1991) and M.S. (2008) degrees in chemical engineering from San Jose State University, San Jose, CA. For two years before joining MTR, Mr. Amo was a graduate assistant and chemical engineer for NASA Ames Research Center, where he worked in research on air and water purification processes. His early work focused on membrane and module development for natural gas and refining applications. Mr. Amo is named as co-inventor on 10 patents.
Dr. Hao joined MTR in December 2010 as a Senior Research Engineer, just after receiving her Ph.D. in Chemical and Environmental Engineering from the University of Toledo (Toledo, Ohio). Her dissertation topic was air dehydration using hollow-fiber membrane modules. During her studies at Toledo (2005-2010), Dr. Hao worked with Professor G. Glenn Lipscomb’s group, where her studies included experimental, computer modeling and simulation activities related to evaluation of module design parameters and sources of inefficiency. Since joining MTR, her work has involved CFD modeling of spiral-wound and plate-and-frame membrane modules, and process simulation studies on projects related to carbon capture and sequestration. Prior to working with MTR and the University of Toledo, Ms. Hao worked with the Manufacturing Department at Lenovo Group in Beijing, China (2001-2004). At Lenovo, she supervised and worked with teams to plan, develop, and implement a variety of information systems for the manufacturing department, including systems for HR management, real-time workshop management, ERP, SCM and PDM systems. Prior degrees include B.S. and M.S. degrees in Chemical Engineering from Tianjin University (Tianjin, China) in 1998 and 2001, respectively. Dr. Hao is co-author of five publications.
Zhenjie He joined MTR in 1996 and is currently a Senior Research Scientist, working on the development and pilot-scale production of composite membranes for gas and vapor separation. In her 15 years at MTR, her research has focused on the design of innovative, high-performance membranes for commercial applications. In the past few years, Ms. He developed MTR’s Z-Top™ membrane for refinery hydrogen separations and, more recently, the Polaris™ membrane for carbon dioxide capture and other acid gas applications. Her academic training includes a Bachelor’s degree in Optical Engineering from Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China, in 1988; and a Master’s degree in Biochemistry from Adelphi University, New York, in 1996. From 1988 to 1993, she worked as a research engineer applying laser technology to microcircuit production at Nanjing Electronic Research Institute. Ms. He has authored or coauthored 24 published research papers and is named as co-inventor on 16 U.S. patents.
Dr. Huang joined MTR in 2005 as a Senior Research Engineer and Group Leader of the Liquid Separations Group. She received her B.S from Tsinghua University in 1992, her M.S from National University of Singapore in 1996, and her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Texas, Austin in 2005. Currently, she is leading several MTR projects to develop membranes, modules and processes for use in alcohol/water separations, especially for biofuel applications, and is concurrently leading a group to transfer the technology from the MTR biofuels laboratory studies into commercial BioSep™ product offerings. Several patents are published/pending in this area. In 2010-11, she directed the operation of a field test demonstration unit for this group. Before joining MTR, Ivy participated in a number of research projects sponsored by the Singaporean Government, U.S. Government agencies, and private clients. These programs ranged from fundamental membrane research to the design and development of membrane separation systems. Dr. Huang is author or co-author on about 20 peer-reviewed publications and is listed as co-inventor on about 10 patents/patent applications. Dr. Huang speaks frequently on BioSep and other biofuel applications of membranes, and has served as meeting chairs/co-chairs for several times.
Dr. Kniep joined MTR as a Senior Research Engineer in May 2010, just after receiving his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Arizona State University (ASU). His dissertation involved a systematic study of dense inorganic membranes for use in catalyzed membrane reactors; other studies at ASU focused on improving the chemical and mechanical stability of inorganic membranes for use in membrane reactors. While at ASU, he was awarded an NSF grant for six months of graduate study at the Norwegian Institute of Technology (SINTEF), working on a dual phase membrane for CO2 separation. Prior degrees include an MSE from ASU (2009) and a BSE from Kansas State University (2003), both in Chemical Engineering. Dr. Kniep’s engineering experience began at the Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM), where he worked for two years (2003-2005) as a Production Assistant at ADM’s Soybean Processing Plant in Fremont, NE. Since joining MTR, he has been involved primarily with two types of projects: design of new plate-and-frame modules, and development of advanced composite membranes and related membrane processes for hydrogen production from water gas shift reactors. He is co-author on eight peer-reviewed publications, mainly in the areas of ceramic and other inorganic membranes.
Dr. Lin joined MTR in 2005 as a Senior Research Scientist and Group Leader of the Gas Separations Group. He began his professional training at Xiamen University in China (PRC), where he received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering (1996). In 2005, he received his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Texas, Austin. Dr. Lin’s academic work targeted the development of new membrane materials that are suitable for use in industrial gas separations. He is leading projects related to natural gas clean-up and carbon dioxide/hydrogen separation membranes, including commercial development of MTR’s new Polaris™ membranes. He has also led projects bringing membrane technology to the field demonstration stage in a number of areas including coal bed methane recovery, syngas separations, natural gas dehydration and dilute methane utilization. He is the author or coauthor of more than 20 publications, and is listed as co-inventor on two patents and one U.S. patent application.
Dr. Low joined MTR in early 2011 as a Senior Research Scientist, soon after graduation from the National University of Singapore (NUS) with a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering in August 2010. She also received her Bachelor of Engineering degree from NUS in 2006. Her Ph.D. thesis work involved polymeric-based membranes for hydrogen enrichment and natural gas sweetening. She worked with a variety of modified organic and organic-inorganic hybrid materials, especially diamines and azido-functionalized compounds, studying their comparative performance for H2/CO2 and CO2/CH4 separations over a wide range of operating conditions. She also worked one year as a Research Fellow, leading a project directed at design and synthesis of membrane materials for CO2 capture from flue gas. Since joining MTR, Ms. Low has been working on a project to develop energy-efficient membrane systems for building applications, as well as working with the MTR teams focused on optimizing the performance of carbon capture and natural gas-related membranes. Dr. Low has co-authored ten publications, and has presented talks internationally.
Dr. Wei joined MTR in early 2009 as a Senior Research Engineer. He began his professional training at Tsinghua University in China (PRC), where he received his B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering (2003). This was followed by an M.S. from the University of Cincinnati (2005) and a Ph.D. from Arizona State University (2008), both in Chemical Engineering. Xiaotong’s work at ASU focused on development of ceramic and other high temperature inorganic membranes. Since joining MTR, Dr. Wei has been working with the carbon capture and sequestration team on membrane development and demonstration plant design including design and optimization of a membrane skid for 1 TPD CO2 removal from flue gas. The skid operated for three months at Arizona Public Services’ power plant in Cholla, AZ. He is also leading a project on the use of carbon membranes for olefin/paraffin separations. Dr. Wei has published eleven peer-reviewed research papers and given several presentations at technical conferences.
Dr. White recently joined MTR (September 2010), as Principal Research Chemist for the Membranes and Materials Development Group. He is currently leading the membrane development and optimization activities for a major MTR project on post-combustion CO2 capture. Steve came to MTR with twenty-five years of industrial experience in a broad array of membrane research and production activities. Prior to joining MTR, Steve worked with UOP LLC (Des Plaines, IL), as Senior Principal Scientist in membrane aspects of gas processing (2009-2010); W.R. Grace & Co. (Columbia, MD), as Senior Principal Scientist for Grace Davison Membranes (1989-2009); and Allied – Signal Engineered Materials Research Center (Des Plaines, IL), as Senior Research Chemist in the Chemicals and Process Technology Group (1984-1989). Dr. White received his Ph.D. in organic chemistry in 1985 from Cornell University (Ithaca, New York), where he studied with Professor Lawrence Que. Prior degrees include an M.S. in Chemistry from Cornell in 1982 and a B.S. in Chemistry from Clarkson University (Potsdam, New York) in 1979. His work on membrane technology has been reported through over 30 research papers and patents.
Dr. Wijmans is the President of MTR. He joined MTR in 1984, served as Director of Research through 2006, and moved to the President’s position at that time. Under his leadership, the activities in the research group ranged from fundamental membrane research to the design, development and manufacture of membrane separation systems, and formed the basis of MTR’s commercial membrane separations business. Since Dr. Wijmans became President, MTR commercial revenues have more than doubled, product lines have expanded, and R&D activities have remained strong, positioning MTR for continued future growth. In 1996, Dr. Wijmans was awarded a Certificate of Accomplishment by the Department of Energy in recognition of MTR's contribution to the advancement of energy efficiency and pollution prevention technologies. He served as President of the North American Membrane Society in 2003 - 2004 and was a member of the NAMS Board of Directors from 1998 to 2006. He currently serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Membrane Science. Dr. Wijmans frequently gives presentations at national and international conferences on membrane research and membrane system development and has authored or co-authored 29 refereed publications and 8 book chapters. He is a regular contributor to educational workshops and for over ten years was co-presenter of AIChE's Continuing Education Course, "Industrial Separations Using Membranes." He is named as inventor or co-inventor on 37 U.S. patents; ten are pending.
Dr. Zhou joined MTR as a Senior Research Engineer in late 2008. She received her B.S. (1995) and M.S. (1998) degrees in Chemistry from Jilin University, China, and her Ph.D. (2006) in Chemical Engineering from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She started her career in membrane research in 1998 as a research associate at the Research Center for Membrane Separations & Materials at Ningbo University, China, where she worked on membrane materials synthesis and development for both liquid and gas separation applications. Her Ph.D. thesis research focused on development of novel nanostructured polymer membranes using lyotropic liquid crystals. Since joining MTR, Dr. Zhou has been working on innovative membrane research and development, including the development of Proteus™ and other high performance membranes. Currently, she is leading the membrane development effort for H2/CO2 and CO2/CH4 separations. Dr. Zhou has published 18 peer-reviewed research papers and is named as co-inventor on two patents and eight U.S. patent applications. Before joining MTR, Dr. Zhou worked as a Membrane Scientist at Separation & System Technology, Inc. and NanoH2O, Inc., where she focused on development and commercialization of reverse osmosis and related membranes.