Engineering / Mechanical + Aerospace Engineering (PROF)
Max Zhang is the Irving Porter Church Professor of Engineering in the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. At Cornell Atkinson, he serves as the Kathy Dwyer Marble and Curt Marble Faculty Director and leads the Accelerating Energy Transitions research area.
Zhang’s research focuses on energy and the environment, driven by societal impact. A main thrust of his research is sustainable energy systems. In a low-carbon economy, the production of energy will be more distributed, most energy services will be delivered to customers via the electric grid, and electric power systems, transportation systems and building systems are seamlessly integrated. Working with community partners, he is leading the efforts on the electrification of the heating sector, characterization of renewable resources and low-impact solar development. Zhang also studies the effects of airborne particulate matter and gaseous pollutants on ambient air quality, indoor environmental quality and climate change, using numerical models and experimental techniques. Zhang’s field experiments with Internet of Things (IoT)-based solutions in the energy and environmental systems led him create an initiative to design the first statewide public IoT network in the U.S., supported in part by a 2018 Cornell Atkinson Academic Venture Fund award. Combining broadband with Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) to bridge the digital divide between rural and non-rural America, this initiative has already enabled a wide range of impactful research activities such as microclimate monitoring at solar farms across New York State and hyperlocal weather forecasting to enhance response winter storm response in rural communities.