Professor Max Zhang's project to design a statewide internet of things network was featured on Smart Cities Dive. The project aims to close NY's digital divide by broadening internet access and... Read more about Cornell designs statewide IoT network to close New York's digital divide
Dr. Zhang's research interests focus on energy and the environment, driven by societal impact. He studies the effects of airborne particulate matters (PM) and gaseous pollutants on ambient air quality, indoor environmental quality and climate change, using numerical models and experimental techniques. One important goal is to establish a source-to-receptor relationship for harmful air pollutants and indoor contaminants. Dr. Zhang's group has developed CTAG (which stands for Comprehensive Turbulent Aerosol dynamics and Gas chemistry), an environmental turbulent reacting flow model, to simulate the transport and transformation of multiple pollutants in complex environments. Notably, CTAG has been used as a design tool for science-driven roadside green infrastructure for disadvantaged communities and assisted the development of new building downwash-sidewash algorithms for distributed generation. In parallel, his group has also employed data-driven techniques to provide actionable strategies for effective air quality and energy management, taking advantage of increasingly ubiquitous low-cost sensors.
Another major area of Dr. Zhang's 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. His current research in this area focuses on 1) aggregating a large number of distributed and controllable energy resources such as heat pumps to provide a wide range of cost-effective systems services, and 2) renewable energy resources and solar farm designs. These technologies will greatly facilitate the transition to a reliable, secure, efficient and clean power system.
Dr. Zhang’s extensive experience 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. He believes that combining broadband with Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) is the most cost-effective way 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.
Integration of community engagement into research and education is a unifying theme in Dr. Zhang’s academic and professional activities. He is working closely with the Office of Engagement Initiatives to establish community engagement and real-world learning experiences as the hallmark of the Cornell experience. Dr. Zhang is passionate about communicating science to the public. He is always looking for motivated students at all levels to join his group to pursue impact-driven research.
Aerosols, Air Quality and Climate Change; Energy Systems Engineering; Electrification of the heating and transportation sectors; Building systems; Internet of Things (IoT)
Dr. Zhang teaches Internet of Things (IoT), Future Energy Systems, Air Quality and Engineering Thermodynamics classes through the Sibley School.
- Zachary E. Lee and K. Max Zhang. Scalable identification and control of residential heat pumps: A minimal hardware approach. Applied Energy 286, 116544, 2021.
- Kevin J. Kircher and K. Max Zhang. Heat purchase agreements could lower barriers to heat pump adoption. Applied Energy 286, 116489, 2021.
- Jiajun Gu, Bo Yang, Michael Brauer and K. Max Zhang. Enhancing the evaluation and interpretability of data-driven air quality models. Atmospheric Environment 246, 118125, 2021.
- Zhao Ma, Ming-Jia Li, Ya-Ling He and K. Max Zhang. Effects of partly-filled encapsulated phase change material on the performance enhancement of solar thermochemical reactor. Journal of Cleaner Production 279, 123169, 2021.
- Kevin J. Kircher, Walter Schaefer and K. Max Zhang. A computationally efficient, high-fidelity testbed for building climate control. Journal of Engineering for Sustainable Buildings and Cities, 2(1): 011002, 2021.
- Yunjie Wang, Yifan Wen, Yue Wang, Shaojun Zhang, K. Max Zhang, Haotian Zheng, Jia Xing, Ye Wu, and Jiming Hao. Four-Month Changes in Air Quality during and after the COVID-19 Lockdown in Six Megacities in China, Environmental Science and Technology Letters, 2020.
- Hui Wang, Ye Wu, K. Max Zhang, Shaojun Zhang, Richard W. Baldauf, Richard Snow, Parikshit Deshmukh, Xuan Zheng, Liqiang He, Jiming Hao,. Evaluating mobile monitoring of on-road emission factors by comparing concurrent PEMS measurements. Science of The Total Environment, 736: 139507, 2020.
- Khaled Hashad, Bo Yang, Richard Baldauf, Vlad Isakov, Parikshit Deshmukh and K. Max Zhang. Enhancing the local air quality benefits of roadside green infrastructure using low-cost, impermeable, solid structures (LISS). Science of the Total Environment, 717: 137136, 2020.
- Zhao Ma, Ming-Jia Li, Ya-Ling He and K. Max Zhang. “Performance analysis and optimization of solar thermochemical reactor by diluting catalyst with encapsulated phase change material“, Applied Energy, 266: 114862, 2020.
- Bo Yang, Jiajun Gu and K. Max Zhang Parameterization of the building downwash and sidewash effect using a mixture model. Building and Environment, 172: 106694, 2020.
- Zachary E. Lee, Qingxuan Sun, Zhao Ma, Jiangfeng Wang, Jason S. MacDonald and K. Max Zhang “Providing Grid Services with Heat Pumps: A Review“, Journal of Engineering for Sustainable Buildings and Cities, 1(1): 011007, 2020
- He, X., Zhang, S., Wu, Y., Wallington, T. J., Lu, X., Tamor, M. A., McElory, M. B., Zhang, K. M., and Hao, J. (2019). "Economic and Climate Benefits of Electric Vehicles in China, the United States, and Germany." Environmental Science & Technology.
- Liang, X., Zhang, S., Wu, Y., Xing, J., He, X., Zhang, K. M., Wang, S., and Hao, J. (2019). "Air quality and health benefits from fleet electrification in China." Nature Sustainability, 2(October), 962–971.
"Mixed-Integer Model Predictive Control of Variable-Speed Heat Pumps." Zachary Lee, Kartikay Gupta, Kevin J. Kircher and K. Max Zhang. Energy and Buildings, In Press, 2019.
- "Strategic planning for utility-scale solar photovoltaic development – Historical peak events revisited." Jeffery Sward, Jackson Siff, Jiajun Gu and K. Max Zhang. Applied Energy, 250: 1292-1301, 2019.
- "Considerations for evaluating green infrastructure impacts in microscale and macroscale air pollution dispersion models." Arvind Tiwari, Prashant Kumar, Richard Baldauf, K. Max Zhang, Francesco Pilla, Silvana Di Sabatino, Erika Brattich, Beatrice Pulvirenti. Science of The Total Environment, 672: 410-426, 2019.
- "Near-source air quality impact of a distributed natural gas combined heat and power facility." Bo Yang, Jiajun Gu, Tong Zhang and K. Max Zhang. Environmental Pollution, 246: 650-657, 2019.
- "The effects of roadside vegetation characteristics on local, near-road air quality." Parikshit Deshmukh, Vlad Isakov, Akula Venkatram, Bo Yang, K. Max Zhang, Russell Logan and Richard Baldauf. Air Quality, Atmosphere & Health, 12: 259-270, 2019.
- "Fine-grained vehicle emission management using intelligent transportation system data." Shaojun Zhang, Tianlin Niu, Ye Wu, K. Max Zhang, Timothy J. Wallington, Qianyan Xie, Xiaomeng Wu, Honglei Xu. Environmental Pollution, 241: 1027-1037, 2018.
Selected Awards and Honors
- Engaged Scholar Prize (Cornell University) 2017
- People's Choice Sign of Sustainability Award (Sustainable Tompkins) 2016
- Scientific and Technological Achievement Award (Environmental Protection Agency) 2015
- B.S. (Thermal Engineering), Tianjin University, 1998
- B.A. (English Language), Tianjin University, 1998
- Ph.D. (Mechanical Engineering), University of California, Davis, 2004