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Principal Investigator:

Tian Profile.jpg
Tian Li

Assistant Professor

Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University



1034 Ray W. Herrick Laboratories,

177 S Russell St, West Lafayette, IN 47907

​Innovative solutions towards grand challenges require a multidisciplinary approach. By Redesigning Natural materials for Energy, Water, Environment and Devices (ReNEWED), the Li group aims to apply the fundamental science to establish a natural “toolbox” for sustainable solutions towards the carbon drawdown.

We have openings for highly motivated graduate students, postdocs and undergraduate students. Please directly send your CV to Dr. Li if you share our passion towards energy and sustainability!


The Collection on Thermal Engineering for Sustainability is now live!  Please see the collection here: link 

Dr. Tian Li and Dr. Zhibin Yu serve as editors to this collection in Communications Engineering. Communications Engineering a broad scope open access journal from Nature Portfolio that publishes high-quality research in all areas of engineering.


Yun's paper ''Universal Color Retrofit to Polymer-based Radiative Cooling Materials '' is accepted on ACS Applied Materials & Interface! Congrats to Yun.

Xiaojie got selected to receive the Lillian Gilbreth Postdoctoral Fellowship! Congrats to Xiaojie!

Fengyin's paper ''Thermally Insulating and Fire-retardant Bio-mimic Structural Composites with a Negative Poisson's Ratio for Batteries Protection'' is accepted on Carbon Energy! Congrats to Fengyin!  

Pengfei's paper ''Self-powered Smart Textile based on Dynamic Schottky Diode for Human-Machine Interactions'' is accepted on Advanced Science! Congrats to Pengfei!

Tian serves as Guest Editor for Communications Engineering, an open access journal from Nature Portfolio that publishes high-quality research in engineering (link).

Congratulations to Tanya Sophia Masnyk of receiving H. William Bottomley Research Scholarship!

Our Paper on the synthesis of ångström scale channels in cellulose as "ion highway" is published on Science Advances and highlighted on Nature!  

Tian received the Violet B. Haas Fellowship!

We are awarded with the Seed fund from the Center for High Performance Buildings!

Tian was named as a 2022 Packard Fellow! We are grateful for the generous support from the Packard Foundation

Our work is highlighted "ME's Li to develop 'living' wood through natural strengthening" (link)

Pengfei's paper on highly stretchable cotton textile electronic and ionic conductor is published in Advanced Fiber Materials! Congrats to Pengfei!

Wenkai's paper on very large scale radiative cooling is Published in Cell Reports Physical Science! Congrats to Wenkai!

Wenkai's paper on "cool color" (simultaneously realized vivid coloration and daytime cooling) is published in Advanced Science! Congrats to Wenkai!

We are awarded with ARPA-E grant under Harnessing Emissions into Structures Taking Inputs from the Atmosphere (HESTIA) program (link)!

We are awarded with Sony Innovation Award to develop cotton fabric based wearable sensor and power generator!

We are awarded with Shah Family Global Innovation Award and will be working with Plan International USA. Inc to help girl engineers in in Senegal, West Africa to harvest and test clean water from air for their school and community! ​(link)

Congrats to Wenkai for passing the Ph.D Prelim exam!

Yun's paper on Ambient Water Harvesting Fabric is published on Nano Letters (link)! Congrats to Yun!

Our Perspective on cellulose as a sustainable technological material to address global challenges is published on Nature (link)!

We contribute to the article "35 challenges in materials science being tackled by PIs under 35(ish) in 2021" (link) by Matter!

Tian serves as Guest Editor for Advanced Fiber Materials (IF: 12.958) (link).

Congrats to Wenhui, Wenkai and Pengfei for passing the Ph.D Area Exam!

Congrats to Sai Aranke for graduation with Master (thesis) at Mechanical Engineering!

Congrats to Gabriella Schalm for getting the Bottomley Research Scholarship!

We are awarded the Haythornthwaite Foundation Research Award from ASME!

We are awarded two seed funds from Center of High Performance Buildings! Go CHPB!

Our paper on Radiative Cooling Wood is published on Science (link)! Dr. Li was interviewed on Science Podcast: wood designed to cool buildings (link)!

Our paper on ion regulation among aligned cellulose molecular chains (0.6 nm channel) for ionic thermoelectric is published on Nature Materials (link)! Dr. Li was interviewed by Nature Index: Energy harvesters pick up power (link)!

Dr. Li was selected Forbes 30 under 30 in Energy Category (link)! 

Our radiative cooling wood is the Finalist of R&D 100 (link)!

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