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catalyst

The Magazine of The College Sciences

Research team offers cheaper way to separate acetylene from ethylene


Banglin Chen, associate professor in the Department of Chemistry published a paper in Nature Communications on Feb. 22, which outlines a more efficient and less costly method to separate acetylene and ethylene. The chemicals, which have comparable molecular sizes and boiling points, are widely used in the manufacturing, alternative energy and agriculture industries.

Chen has focused his research career on microporous metalorganic framework materials for gas storage, separation and other chemical processes. In the March 4 issue of Angewandte Chemie International Edition, Chen and his research colleagues target one very promising material for methane gas storage that has potential applications for compressed natural gas vehicles in the future.

“Scientists need to face the big challenges, and we need to figure out how to bring innovative ideas to market,” said Chen. “Ultimately, I hope that my materials can be utilized commercially. It’s one thing to do science and publish a paper. To see my work applied, that is my dream.”

For his contributions to chemistry, Chen is recently ranked 15th on the Thompson Reuters Top Chemists of the Past Decade. During that time, Chen published 75 papers and has been cited more than 6,300 times. He also holds five U.S. patents for different aspects of metal-organic frameworks and a license for one metalorganic framework’s characteristic gas storage.

Banglin Chen is a native of China and earned a doctorate in chemistry in 2000 from the National University of Singapore. In 2009, he joined the UTSA Department of Chemistry as an associate professor.

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