Dr. Ralph Yang was appointed the John B. Fenn Distinguished University Professor of Engineering. Dr. Yang’s research interests are focused on solid surfaces and their new applications.
Q: What does your research currently focus on?
A: My students are developing new and superior sorbents for CO2 capture. The new sorbents need to have high CO2 capacity (> double that of the current benchmark sorbent), high CO2/N2 selectivity, moisture stability, fast uptake rates and good regenerability.
Q: What role do you think carbon technology or CO2-based products play in climate mitigation policies?
A: Improved CO2 technologies will make climate mitigation policies (e.g., cap-and-trade) more acceptable to voters and easier to implement.
Q: What real world application or sector(s) do you see your research or tech having the most impact on?
A: Improved sorbents will lead directly to lower costs for CO2 capture. We also develop new sorbents for direct air capture which may be used to lower CO2 concentration in the atmosphere.
Q: How do students react to your work or this climate mitigation approach in general?
A: Students react very positively to research for carbon capture.
Q: How has the Michigan community supported your efforts, or have there been any reactions from fellow faculty, students, researchers?
A: Our community here has reacted positively.
Q: Have you seen any growth in this field that gives you hope for future efforts?
A: Yes, slowly but definitely.
Q: What advice do you have for technologists or entrepreneurs starting off in this field?
A: Patience is needed and do not give up.