Dr Yi Harvey Huang




+44(0)131 6507793


1.192 Fleeming Jenkin

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Engineering Discipline: 

  • Chemical Engineering

Research Institute: 

  • Materials and Processes

Research Theme: 

  • Carbon Capture and Separation Processes
  • Reaction Engineering and Catalysis
  • Materials Design, Processing and Characterisation
Dr. Harvey Yi Huang
Dr. Harvey Yi Huang


Dr Harvey Yi Huang is currently a Reader in Chemical Engineering at the University of Edinburgh (UoE). He received a dual degree from Harbin Engineering University in China and a PhD (Chemical Engineering) from the Monash University in Australia. During his PhD study, he worked at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIRO) as a postgraduate scientist and also visited the Tsapatsis Research Group at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities (US) as a research specialist. Prior to joining UoE, he was a postdoctoral research fellow at Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, US.

Currently, he leads a research team at UoE, studying advanced adsorption and membrane separation, novel nanofabrication methods and nanotechnology to address the most challenging issues in many industrial processes, e.g. high-performance mixture separation (high flux and selectivity), high-capacity gas storage and clean water supply.


Academic Qualifications: 

  • PhD in Chemical Engineering, Monash University, Australia (2007-2011).
    • Research scientist (postgraduate), CSIRO, Melbourne, Australia (2008-2010)
    • Research specialist, Department of Chemical Engineering & Materials Science, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, United States (2010-2011)
  • B.Eng. in Chemical Engineering and Dip. Ec. in International Economics and Trade, Harbin Engineering University, China (2002-2006)


Professional Qualifications and Memberships: 


  • Chemical Engineering Laboratory 3 (CHEE09016) - Course Instructor
  • Chemical Engineering Design: Projects 4 (CHEE10002) - Project Supervision
  • Chemical Reaction Engineering 4 (CHEE10008) - Course Organiser
  • Chemical Engineering Study Project 4 (CHEE10009) - Project Supervision
  • Chemical Engineering Industrial Project 5 (CHEE11014) - Project Supervision
  • Chemical Engineering Research Project 5 (CHEE11017) - Project Supervision


Research Interests: 

  • All across the world, people are facing a wealth of new and challenging problems, particularly the energy and environmental issues. For example, billions of tons of annual CO2 emissions are the direct result of fossil fuel combustion to generate electricity. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. emitted 6.1 billion metric tons of CO2 to the atmosphere in 2007. Producing clean energy from abundant sources, such as coal, will require a massive infrastructure and highly efficient capture technologies to curb CO2 emissions. In addition to its environmental impact, CO2 also reduces the heating value of the CH4 gas streams in power plants and causes corrosion in pipes and equipment. To minimize the impact of CO2 on the environment, the design of high-performance separation materials and technologies for efficient carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) is urgent and essential. My research in this area is creating novel nanostructured (membrane) materials with enhanced transport properties by ordering their nano-architectures via different methods and meanwhile exploring their novel and energy-sustainable scale up.
  • Enhanced demand for fuels worldwide not only decreased world oil reserves but also increased climate concerns about the use of fossil-based fuel. To address these energy and environmental problems, efforts have been made towards improved utilization of fossil fuel and the development of renewable energy production. With the abundant availability and carbon-neutral nature, biomass is recognized as one of the most promising renewable energy resources. A number of transportation fuels can be produced from biomass, helping to alleviate demand for petroleum products and improve the greenhouse gas emissions profile of the transportation sector. Traditional catalysts suffer from many undesirable properties, such as small accessible pore size, low hydrothermal stability, and less controllable active sites. Among these, low hydrothermal stability at upgrading temperatures greatly hinders the conversion of lignocellulosic biomass to biofuel. My research is focused on synthesizing a new class of ultra-stable catalysts with tunable nanostructure and functionalities for efficient bio oil upgrading, with special emphasis on the study of their hydrothermal stability.
  • Oil pollution is another serious global issue because of the large amounts of oily wastewater produced by petrochemical and other industries, as well as by frequent off-shore oil-spill accidents. The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) issues guidance addressed at all companies involved in offshore exploration and production where oil may be released into the sea or other water systems. The regulatory limit for the concentration of oil in produced water discharged into the sea is set at a 30 mg/l performance standard (this figure applies as averaged over a monthly period). At any one time, the concentration must not exceed 100 mg/l. Therefore, it is in great need to develop effective techniques to treat oil-polluted wastewater at such low oil/grease concentrations in order to satisfy the stringent governmental limitations and preserve the environment. Membrane techniques have been widely employed for water purification and are very effective in separating stabilized oil emulsions-especially for removing oil droplets. However, current membranes suffer from membrane fouling both on surfaces and in internal structures, which significantly limits their service time and degrades separation performance in practical operations. My research in this field attempts to adopt the concept of biomimetic hierarchical roughness in membrane design for creating superoleophobic membrane surfaces from a vast pool of candidate materials, such as zeolites, metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), and single-layered graphene oxide. Our research also focuses on the development of facile, low-cost preparation technique which would open a completely new direction for the membrane society.




  • Nanofabrication of porous materials and their growth mechanisms
  • Adsorption and membrane materials (e.g. 2D/microporous/hierarchical porous) 
  • Ultra-thin inorganic and hybrid membranes
  • Hydrothermal stability test of porous crystalline materials (e.g. Zeolites and Metal-organic Frameworks (MOFs))
  • Adsorption and membrane separation (gas/liquid)
  • Drinking water purification, wastewater treatment and desalination
  • Other interests: hydrothermally stable materials for catalytic bio-oil upgrading; novel controlled delivery systems for small drug delivery


Further Information: 

Current Opportunities:

Open!! Sustainable Lithium Mining and Recycling using Membrane Technology​ (applications are welcomed from self-funded students, or students who are applying for scholarships from the University of Edinburgh or elsewhere.).

PhD Project 2: Bioinspired Materials and Membranes for Energy-Efficient Liquid Separation (self-funded, please see scholarships/funding opportunities below) (position filled)

Filled! PhD Project 3: Hierarchical nanofabrication of microporous materials with enhanced hydrothermal stability for efficient catalytic reactions and adsorption-based separation (Tuition fees and stipend are available for Home/EU students. International and self-funded students can also apply, but the funding only covers the Home/EU fee rate).

Summer project (funded by International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience (IAESTE)): Ultrathin Membranes Composed of 2D Materials


Undergraduate Students

Undergraduates who are interested in adsorption and membrane separation, materials synthesis, and catalytic science, please contact Dr. Huang.

Graduate Students:

Always looking for outstanding prospective students who are interested in Ph.D. studies in Chem. Eng. The following scholarships can be applied to support your study. (School of Engineering also provides Ph.D. scholarships for exceptional applicants)

Principal's Career Development Ph.D. Scholarships

Carnegie/Caledonian PhD Scholarships

Research Scholarships for international students - Edinburgh Global Research Scholarship

China Scholarships Council/University of Edinburgh Scholarships (Citizens and permanent residents of the People's Republic of China)

More funding information can be found here!

Postdoctoral researchers

Outstanding applicants can consider the following fellowship, e.g., EPSRC, RAE, MC (Individual Fellowships), Newton International FellowshipsSir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowships

Note: additional postdoctoral opportunities may be available in "Current Opportunities" section if research group funding opportunities arise!

Visiting researchers

Interested in self-funded visiting student/scholar/professor


Other enquiries?

Welcome, just send an email to Yi.Huang@ed.ac.uk