Professor honored by Electrochemical Society, American Institute of Chemical Engineers

Yushan Yan, the Henry B. du Pont Chair in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Delaware, was recently named a Fellow of The Electrochemical Society and received the Braskem Award for Excellence in Materials Engineering and Science from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE).

Fellows of The Electrochemical Society are recognized for advanced individual technological contributions in the fields of electrochemistry and solid state science and technology and service to the Society. Each year the society selects up to 15 fellows.

The Braskem Award for Excellence in Materials Engineering and Science is bestowed annually by AIChE to a leading researcher in recognition of outstanding contributions to the field of materials science and engineering.

Yan is an expert in electrochemistry and electrochemical energy engineering, the study and application of conversion between electrical current and chemical reactions. Much of his work focuses on the study of fuel cells, a green power source that could enable electric vehicles of the future. Yan leads and contributes to multiple projects funded by the Department of Energy, including projects funded by ARPA-E to design new polymer electrolyte, make fuel cell stacks that can work with ambient air instead of carbon dioxide-free air, or ammonia as an alternative fuel to hydrogen. The goal is to make fuel cells that are cheaper and viable for mass adoption.

Yan is a prolific inventor and an entrepreneur. In 2017 he founded W7energy to commercialize polymer membranes for platinum-free fuel cells that were invented in his UD lab. In 2019, the company received an EDGE Grant from the Delaware Division of Small Business. In 2018, W7energy won the University of Delaware FastPass Award, which granted the company an equity free start-up package, including operational and financial support valued at $50,000, and is provided by the Delaware Innovation Space. The company has also received grants from the Blue Hen Proof of Concept program and the Unidel Foundation.

Earlier in his career, Yan introduced the use of zeolite nanocrystals into membranes for desalination, or removing salt from saltwater. A startup company, NanoH2O, was formed to commercialize his nanocomposite desalination membrane technology and was acquired by LG Chemicals in 2014.

Yan is a highly decorated scientist. Most recently, in 2018, he was named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, and he won the (ECS) Energy Technology Division Research Award for 2018.

More about Yushan Yan

Yan received his B.S. in chemical physics from the University of Science and Technology of China and doctorate in chemical engineering from the California Institute of Technology. He also studied heterogeneous catalysis at the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. He worked for AlliedSignal Inc., as senior staff engineer and project leader before beginning his academic career at the University of California Riverside. He joined UD in 2011. He has more than 200 published articles, which have been cited nearly 25,000 times, according to Google Scholar.

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