With the introduction of congressional bills like the Green New Deal, climate change and the environment have been at the forefront of the nation’s mind. However, for Prof. K. Max Zhang, mechanical... Read more about The Missing Link: Cornell Prof. finds Hidden Connections Between Energy and the Environment
Dr. Zhang's research interests focus on energy and the environment. He studies the effects of airborne particulate matters (PM) and gaseous pollutants on air quality, climate change and ecosystem, using numerical models and experimental techniques. One particular area he is working on is environmental nanoparticles. Nanoparticle pollution affects public health by depositing deeper in our lungs and moving into the blood circulation. These nanoparticles can also grow into cloud condensation nuclei (CCN). Changes in CCN concentration may affect cloud reflectivity and lifetime, thus perturbing the energy balance of the planet. His research in this area focuses on characterizing various emission sources and their transformation in the atmosphere, especially the rapid changes in the first few minutes after emission. One important goal is to establish a source-to-receptor relationship for airborne nanoparticles. The "receptor" refers to either humans or the climate system. Dr. Zhang's group has developed CTAG (which stands for Comprehensive Turbulent Aerosol dynamics and Gas chemistry), an environmental turbulent reacting flow model, to simulate the transport and transformation of multiple pollutants in complex environments. In particular, he aims to develop a mechanistic understanding on 1) near-road air pollution and its potential mitigation strategies, 2) the effects of turbulent mixing on particulate emission measurements, and 3) the impacts of plume processing on regional air quality and climate simulations.
Another major area of Dr. Zhang's research interests is sustainable energy systems. In a low-carbon economy, the production of energy will be much less centralized and most energy services will be delivered to customers via the electric grid, and electric power systems, transportation systems and building systems are seamlessly integrated. However, the transition to such a low-carbon economy will face technological, institutional, financial and environmental challenges. Dr. Zhang is working with colleagues as an interdisciplinary team addressing those challenges. His research in this area focuses on aggregating a large number of distributed and controllable energy resources such as electric vehicles to provide a wide range of cost-effective systems services. These technologies will greatly facilitate the transition to a reliable, secure, efficient and clean power system.
Aerosols, Air Quality and Climate Change; Near-road air pollution; Advanced plume characterizations; Air quality modeling; Energy Systems Engineering; Elictrification of the transportation sector; Intelligent distributed energy systems
Dr. Zhang teachs Engineering Thermodynamics, Future Energy Systems, and Air Quality classes through the Sibley School.
- He, X., Zhang, S., Wu, Y., Wallington, T. J., Lu, X., Tamor, M. A., McElory, M. B., Zhang, K. M., and Hao, J. (2019). "Economic and Climate Benefits of Electric Vehicles in China, the United States, and Germany." Environmental Science & Technology.
- Liang, X., Zhang, S., Wu, Y., Xing, J., He, X., Zhang, K. M., Wang, S., and Hao, J. (2019). "Air quality and health benefits from fleet electrification in China." Nature Sustainability, 2(October), 962–971.
"Mixed-Integer Model Predictive Control of Variable-Speed Heat Pumps." Zachary Lee, Kartikay Gupta, Kevin J. Kircher and K. Max Zhang. Energy and Buildings, In Press, 2019.
- "Strategic planning for utility-scale solar photovoltaic development – Historical peak events revisited." Jeffery Sward, Jackson Siff, Jiajun Gu and K. Max Zhang. Applied Energy, 250: 1292-1301, 2019.
- "Considerations for evaluating green infrastructure impacts in microscale and macroscale air pollution dispersion models." Arvind Tiwari, Prashant Kumar, Richard Baldauf, K. Max Zhang, Francesco Pilla, Silvana Di Sabatino, Erika Brattich, Beatrice Pulvirenti. Science of The Total Environment, 672: 410-426, 2019.
- "Near-source air quality impact of a distributed natural gas combined heat and power facility." Bo Yang, Jiajun Gu, Tong Zhang and K. Max Zhang. Environmental Pollution, 246: 650-657, 2019.
- "The effects of roadside vegetation characteristics on local, near-road air quality." Parikshit Deshmukh, Vlad Isakov, Akula Venkatram, Bo Yang, K. Max Zhang, Russell Logan and Richard Baldauf. Air Quality, Atmosphere & Health, 12: 259-270, 2019.
- "Fine-grained vehicle emission management using intelligent transportation system data." Shaojun Zhang, Tianlin Niu, Ye Wu, K. Max Zhang, Timothy J. Wallington, Qianyan Xie, Xiaomeng Wu, Honglei Xu. Environmental Pollution, 241: 1027-1037, 2018.
Selected Awards and Honors
- Scientific and Technological Achievement Award (Environmental Protection Agency) 2015
- Engaged Scholar Prize (Cornell University) 2017
- People's Choice Sign of Sustainability Award (Sustainable Tompkins) 2016
- B.S. (Thermal Engineering), Tianjin University, 1998
- B.A. (English Language), Tianjin University, 1998
- Ph.D. (Mechanical Engineering), University of California, Davis, 2004
In the News
Professor Max Zhang commented on research being conducted by Christina Fuller in Atlanta. Fuller is studying what kinds of trees are best at filtering ultrafine particles. Professor Max Zhang is... Read more about Researchers look to trees to help ease highway air pollution
“I always associated that smell with winter since childhood,” he said, “but I never really asked myself – what is it? Later I came to realize it was basically sulfur dioxide.” Zhang explained that... Read more about Air quality benefits from electric vehicles could save thousands of lives