Working Toward a World with Clean Energy

student portrait with mechanical engineering lab in background

After completing his undergraduate degree in electrical engineering at the University of Iowa, Pengyang Xiang, who is an MS in Energy Systems student graduating in 2021, felt limited by the programs offered by most universities on the graduate level in his area of interest. He wanted to specialize in the energy field with a master’s degree by studying current and future energy technologies and systems such as renewable energy in an entrepreneurial environment. Northeastern was a natural choice.

Originally hailing from Beijing, Boston’s reputation as a college town attracted Xiang. “There are lots of young professionals and entrepreneurs from other universities like MIT and Harvard, and you can connect with them. There’s lots of opportunities to meet new people and new friends in Boston,” Xiang says. Living in a small town in Iowa had made him miss the city atmosphere.

Under Assistant Professor Hongli Zhu of the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, Xiang is researching redox flow battery for large-scale energy storage systems. Xiang’s master’s thesis will focus on high-performance porous membranes for flow batteries.

Xiang says he has been impressed by the quality of Northeastern’s facilities. “We have lots of new technology and new devices we can use which is really helpful for my research,” he says.

During his time at Northeastern, Xiang participated in Formula SAE, a student-led club that builds a miniature, electric-powered race car. He contributed to battery design. In addition to his classwork, research, and clubs, Xiang works as a graduate student ambassador to assist the graduate admissions department of the College of Engineering by communicating with prospective students. He’s enjoyed his experience at Northeastern and would like to see more students get involved with energy systems research here, Xiang says.

What does the future hold for the talented graduate student? Right now, he’s searching for a position in clean technology investment. Xiang wants to be involved with finding and funding projects to produce carbon capture, renewable energy development, and high-performance battery technologies.

Related Faculty: Hongli (Julie) Zhu

Related Departments:Mechanical & Industrial Engineering