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Dr. Benjamin S. Hsiao

Benjamin S. Hsiao received his Ph.D. in Materials Science from University of Connecticut. He carried out postdoctoral training at University of Massachusetts and spent over eight years at DuPont as a scientist. Currently, he is the Chair and Professor in Chemistry Department at Stony Brook University. He is also the Spokesperson for Advanced Polymer PRT (X27C) Beamline at the National Synchrotron Light Source, Brookhaven National Laboratory. He has authored and coauthored over 370 scientific papers and reviews, 2 books, 28 patents and applications. His research interests focus on the use of nanostructured materials for health, environmental and energy applications. Based on his recent work on nanofiber technology, he co-foundered two start-up companies to commercialize nanofibrous membranes for different water applications. The nanofiber platform enables water treatment systems to process more water to a higher standard, at a faster rate and also at lower energy costs and less maintenance requirements.

Breakthrough Energy-Saving Nanofibrous Membrane Technology

New breakthroughs on thin-film nanofibrous composite (TFNC) membranes for water purification, including the use of ultra-fine cellulose nanofibers (diameter ~ 5 nm) and the development of multiple-jet electrospinning technology (nanofiber diameter 100 - 300 nm), have provided promising pathways in the filtration field that requires our attention. The non-woven structure has interconnected pores and very large surface-to-volume ratio, while the ease of surface modifications for cellulose can open up interesting leads for many biomedical and industrial applications. For water purification, we can significantly improve the permeability of the membrane thereby improving energy cost, providing a smaller footing, and effectively reducing the cost. Recent results on the use of such filters for several different water purifications are presented. This membrane technology can also be used for pervaporation in biofuel to separate alcohol and water in a much more-energy efficient manner.