Energy Materials at Harvard: Jin Suntivich

March 13, 2013 "Material Challenges for Clean Electric Vehicle Applications"
Jin Suntivich, HUCE Ziff Environmental Fellow


A critical element in the pursuit of clean, sustainable energy is the implementation of clean and cost-effective electric transportation. Existing battery electric vehicles and fuel cell electric vehicles offer pathways toward this quest, but their cost and the performance of their storage materials limit their widespread commercialization. To assist with the development of these clean electric vehicles, it is critical to develop fundamental "design principles" that link material structure and chemistry to the performance, to help accelerate the discovery process for new energy storage materials. This presentation will focus on the examples of catalyst materials in hydrogen transportation technologies, which include fuel cells and electrolyzers. From examining a series of model perovskite transition metal oxide compounds, we have found that the catalytic performance can be described by the eg symmetry-parentage electron in the d-states. The correlation between the eg symmetry-parentage electron and the oxygen electrocatalysis on the perovskite catalysts allows us to postulate the reaction mechanisms and the rate-limiting steps, from which we will discuss design strategies for developing novel transition metal oxide catalysts.


Jin Suntivich is a Ziff Environmental Fellow at the Harvard University Center for the Environment. Jin received his doctoral degree the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2012, studying the fundamental principles of oxygen electrocatalysis with Professor Yang Shao-Horn and Professor Hubert Gasteiger. His current research focuses on studying energy flow pathways within solar energy harvesting devices using a combined surface science – optical spectroscopic approach with Professor Eric Mazur and Professor Cynthia Friend.