Tao, Ye

Research Topic: 

Electrochemical Compression


Story by Francesca Pascual

For Ph.D. student Ye Tao’s thesis, entitled 'Electrochemical Compressor', Tao studies electrochemical compressors to validate their feasibility and create a working prototype to be used for vapor compression systems. “I’m working on refrigerant compression over membranes. By supplying constant voltage,  the refrigerants are converted to their ironic form in the membrane, and the refrigerants are then pumped from one side of the membrane to the other, which increases the pressure of the refrigerants,” he explains. Tao expects to graduate in December 2017.

During his time at CEEE, Tao has been a participant in many important projects. “I worked on metal hydride for heat pump applications,” he mentions, This design results in a desorbing reaction, which generates cool air, and an absorbing reaction, which generates hot air. Tao also worked  with ammonia as a refrigerant; “I developed a benchtop electrochemical compressor that could create a desired pressure lift for ammonia at different evaporating and condensing temperatures,” he says.

Wants to make an impact on the world

From a young age, Tao enjoyed fixing things and understanding how they worked by taking them apart and putting them back together. While earning his undergrad at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, he sought out a future in energy engineering. “I wanted to make an impact on the world’s energy economy,” Tao explains. This sparked an interest in thermal energy conversion systems. He then came to the University of Maryland for his Ph.D., but revisited his alma mater in spring 2016 for the International Compressor Engineering Conference at Purdue University. “It was my first time presenting at the Purdue conference, and it was a very valuable experience,” he explains. Tao’s hard work paid off, and he won the Best Paper award for his paper, 'Performance investigation on electrochemical compressor with ammonia’.

Once Tao graduates, he hopes to stay in the area. Though he is originally from Wuxi, China, he believes that his job prospects will be better if he stays in the United States. However, work is not the only factor; Tao enjoys the variety of cuisines available, such as French, Spanish, and Chinese. “I also like seeing performances at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. I’ve seen The Magic Flute and Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra Performance during the Chinese New Year,” he says with a smile.  In his free time, Tao likes to run and do anaerobic exercise, but also enjoys traveling and watching movies.