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Pioneering Energy Research

Prof. ZHAO Tianshou Elected as Member of Chinese Academy of Sciences

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E-fuel – Prof. Zhao’s latest breakthrough in smart and sustainable energy storage, was featured on campus.
E-fuel – Prof. Zhao’s latest breakthrough in smart and sustainable energy storage, was featured on campus. [Download Photo]

Prof. ZHAO Tianshou, Cheong Ying Chan Professor of Engineering and Environment, Chair Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Director of Energy Institute at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), has been elected as a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) – bringing the total number of CAS members at HKUST to five.

CAS membership is the highest academic recognition conferred by the Chinese government for science and technology research achievements. Only scientists who have made significant contributions to the advancement of science can be nominated, and they require the support of more than two third of the members from their own division in order to be elected.  Among the 64 members and 20 Foreign members elected for 2019, Prof. Zhao is the only academic chosen from Hong Kong under the Technological Sciences division, for his achievements in engineering thermos-physics and clean energy production.

HKUST President Prof. Wei SHYY extended his warmest congratulations to Prof. Zhao, saying that his outstanding achievements have affirmed Hong Kong scholars’ contributions to science and technology.  Prof. Zhao said he is deeply privileged by this honor and would keep striving for excellence in his research areas including heat transfer, fuel cells, and batteries. 

Using an interdisciplinary approach that combines thermo-fluid sciences with electrochemistry, Prof. Zhao has been exploring the best combination of materials and system structures that allows revolutionary boost in the performance, cost and life spans of energy storage devices.  He recently disclosed a ground-breaking concept known as e-fuels – a novel technology that stores intermittent solar and wind power in electrically rechargeable liquid fuels. This e-fuel energy storage could make renewable energy accessible wherever and whenever needed, at an efficiency 20% higher than that of today’s vanadium redox flow batteries, and a power density double that of the latest hydrogen fuel cells. 

Prof. Zhao has received numerous national and international recognitions over the years, including the Ho Leung Ho Lee Prize for Scientific and Technological Progress, two State Natural Science Awards (Second Class), HKUST’s Distinguished Research Excellence Award and Croucher Foundation’s Senior Research Fellowship.  He is a Fellow of both the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), a Yangtze River Chair Professor of the Chinese Ministry of Education, as well as Overseas Distinguished Young Scholar and fund recipient of the Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC).  He published over 350 papers in various prestigious Journals.   

Prof. Zhao received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Tianjin University, China, and completed his PhD study in the University of Hawaii at Manoa, USA. He joined HKUST in 1995 and rose through the ranks to Chair Professor of Mechanical Engineering in 2011. 

HKUST's other CAS members are:  Prof. Nancy IP, Vice-President for Research & Development and The Morningside Professor of Life Science; Prof. TANG Benzhong, Chair Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Stephen Kam Chuen Cheong Professor of Science; Prof. ZHANG Mingjie, Chair Professor in the Division of Life Science and Kerry Holdings Professor of Science; and Prof. LI Jian-shu, Chair Professor in the Department of Mathematics.  Dr. SUN Binyong – the youngest scholar elected to CAS this year, was a PhD student of Prof Li.