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2022 Fellow

Xiangkun (Elvis) Cao

PhD Institution
Cornell University
Postdoctoral institution and lab

Hatton Group, MIT

Next Steps

Activate Fellow & Co-Founder, Arbon, Inc

Elvis completed his PhD in Mechanical Engineering, focusing on microscopic precision in the simultaneous delivery of light and fluids by optofluidics, with advances relevant to sustainability and health applications. His work on a solar-powered optofluidic reactor for converting CO2 into fuels has led to commercial adoption to tackle climate change.

As a Schmidt Science Fellow, Elvis pivoted from mechanical engineering to chemical engineering to focus on the integration of upstream carbon capture and its downstream utilization. Collaborating with Prof. T. Alan Hatton at MIT, Prof. Ted Sargent at Northwestern, Prof. Daryl W. Yee at EPFL, and 2022 Fellow Dr. Mingyi Wang at Caltech/UChicago, Elvis pursued his independent research vision on integrated carbon capture and utilization from molecular to process levels, at the nexus of technology, business, and policy.

Since completing his Fellowship Placement, Elvis has focused on building Arbon, a start-up he co-founded for direct air capture of CO2 integrated with downstream utilization. As an Activate Fellow, Elvis secured over $500K non-dilutive grant and prize funding from the MIT Climate & Energy Prize, the Bridge Carbontech Program, and an advance market commitment from Frontier to impact climate at scale.

Elvis aims to unlock new economic opportunities while mitigating global climate change through the novel integration of carbon capture and utilization processes.