Meet CMI postdoc Syed Islam

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Syed Islam, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Syed Islam, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Syed Islam was a CMI postdoctoral researcher at Oak Ridge National Laboratory who now is an R&D Associate Staff member in the Chemical Sciences Division at ORNL. He conducts both basic and applied research on developing advanced materials and novel processes for clean energy technologies. His research focus is development of energy-efficient novel membrane technologies for the separation and recovery of critical materials.

Syed has been working with CMI since 2018. He has contributed to the development of several novel technologies, including the energy-efficient and cost-effective Membrane Solvent Extraction process for separation and recovery of high-purity critical materials. These include rare earth elements from scrap permanent magnets, and critical cathode materials such as cobalt from end-of-life lithium ion batteries. He is co-inventor on two patent applications that are licensed to industry sponsors for commercialization. Furthermore, he contributed to the development of an energy-efficient and cost-effective forward osmosis membrane process for lithium separation and concentration from geothermal brines.

In addition to CMI research, Syed is currently leading two projects on developing novel separation technologies supported by ORNL LDRD funding. Developing a diverse research portfolio has allowed him to be highly productive, as reflected by his patents, peer-reviewed journal publications, and conference presentations. He has published 15 peer-reviewed papers in high impact journals, is a co-inventor on three U.S. Patent applications, and about 50 national and international conference and symposium presentations. Syed is a recipient of several prestigious awards including 2020 ORNL Innovation Award. In addition to innovation, he shows leadership skills in serving scientific professional societies. He served as the Secretary of the 2020 executive committee of Oak Ridge Postdoctoral Association (ORPA) which comprises of about 300 postdoctoral researchers. He has also been serving in the North American Membrane Society (NAMS) student award committee since 2020. Prior to joining ORNL in 2018, he worked for the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute as a Postdoctoral Research Associate after completing his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering at the University of Kentucky in 2017.