Skip to main content

Lin lauded for chemical engineering leadership

November 09, 2009

Only one chemical engineer in the world each year is selected to receive the American Institute of Chemical Engineering award for outstanding contributions to the theory and practice of chemical separation technologies.

This year the Institute’s Award for Excellence in Industrial Gas Technology went to Arizona State University’s Jerry Y.S. Lin.

Lin is a professor of chemical engineering in the School of Mechanical, Aerospace, Chemical and Materials Engineering, a part of ASU’s Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering.

He was presented the award Nov. 8 at the Institute’s annual meeting in Nashville, Tenn. It’s the first time an ASU chemical engineer has received the prestigious honor from the Institute.

The award recognizes Lin’s achievements in fundamental research that is advancing inorganic membrane science for gas separations, and his pioneering work on high-temperature adsorption separation technologies.

Inorganic membranes and adsorption technologies are used in many industrial processes, including air separation to produce pure oxygen and nitrogen, hydrogen production as a fuel for fuel-cell cars, and carbon dioxide capture for carbon sequestration to prevent global warming. These technologies are also used in processes that have a direct impact on human health, including purification of drinking water and clarification of beer and other drinks.

The Institute noted Lin’s stature as an internationally recognized authority in inorganic membrane science and adsorption, pointing out that his work over two decades has advanced the field “from its infancy to a major subdivision of membrane science.”  

Numerous invitations to present keynote lectures at international conferences attest to Lin’s reputation in the field, the Institute said in its award statement.

In his letter nominating Lin for the award, Robert Pfeffer, a research professor of chemical engineering in the School of Mechanical, Aerospace, Chemical and Materials Engineering, described Lin’s accomplishments as “monumental research and educational contributions” in the areas of industrial gases technology, including inorganic membrane science, membrane catalysis, biological membrane systems, adsorption, ionic conducting ceramics, and solid oxide fuel cells.

“His [research] papers are widely read and cited by other engineers and scientists. Many of them have opened up new vistas of research and have reported major scientific breakthroughs with important applications to specific industrial processes,” Pfeffer said.

Lin has been granted four patents related to his work, published 180 journal articles – most of them in the leading chemical engineering publications – 49 science and engineering conference proceedings papers, and four book chapters. His work is some of the most often cited in other chemical engineering researchers’ published articles.

He is the editor of Journal of Membrane Science and serves on editorial boards of several other journals.

Before coming to ASU in 2005, Lin was a professor and co-director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Center for Membrane Applied Science and Technology at the University of Cincinnati. He was won numerous awards, including an NSF Career Award, given to scientists and engineers who demonstrate leadership and innovation in teaching and research.

During his career, he has been the primary adviser for as many as 50 students who have earned doctoral and master’s degrees. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Zhejiang University in China, and master’s and doctoral degrees in chemical engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts.