RESEARCH TEAM

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. Tim Merkel

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. Richard W. Baker

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.

 Mr. Karl Amo

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. Pingjiao (Annie) Hao

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.  

 Ms. Zhenjie He

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. Yu (Ivy) Huang

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. Jay Kniep

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. L. Steven (Steve) White

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. Hans Wijmans

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 


 
Membrane Technology and Research, Inc. 39630 Eureka Drive, Newark, CA 94560 • (650) 328-2228