New Materials for Sustainable Energy

School Chair David S. Sholl holds the Michael E. Tennenbaum Family Chair and is the GRA Eminent Scholar for Energy Sustainability. His research vision is to develop new materials and processes that contribute to sustainable energy use on relevant global scales: gigawatts of energy and gigatons of reductions in carbon emissions.

Sholl’s research uses computational materials modeling to develop new materials for energy storage and generation. The aim of using theoretical tools in this area is to accelerate experimental progress on problems where the search space of materials contains thousands or millions of possibilities. By working with a wide range of experimental partners in academia and industry, the Sholl research group is helping to develop practical solutions to the immense energy-related challenges that will confront our global society for decades to come. 

His group has already developed quantitatively accurate computational methods that predict the suitability of millions of hydride mixtures for hydrogen storage in vehicles powered by fuel cells. Groups around the world are now testing many of these materials experimentally.

Now, Sholl is turning his attention to other pressing energy issues. His group is developing similar methods to screen the enormous number of metal alloys that can be considered as membranes for purifying hydrogen, as well as screening methods for nanoporous materials that can be used as membranes to purify gas mixtures involving carbon dioxide. By using innovative modeling tools and sensors (like the one depicted below), the Sholl group is able to more quickly identify the best materials for use in new metal-organic framework membranes now under development.

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