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Engineering Seminar: Dr. Jason D. Nicholas

This is a past event.

Friday, November 4, 2022 3pm

27 Graves Place, Holland, MI 49423-3617

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“Tailored Microstructures, Processing Routes, and Characterization Techniques for Improved Solid Oxide Fuel and Electrolysis Cells” 

by Dr. Jason D. Nicholas, Chemical Engineering & Materials Science Dept., Michigan State University

Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFCs) are multi-layer, multi-component devices with some of the highest energy densities and highest demonstrated efficiencies of any chemical to electrical energy technology. In addition, they can be operated in reverse, as Solid Oxide Electrolysis Cells (SOECs), to store energy and/or produce chemicals. Unfortunately, despite being invented in the early 20th century, SOFCs remain a niche technology. In response, the SOFC community has sought to incorporate many different materials, across multiple different length scales, to improve SOFC performance, durability, and cost.  This talk with explore how a variety of new composite materials developed by the Nicholas Group can be used to 1) improve nano-structured electrode performance and durability, 2) boost oxygen exchange catalyst performance, 3) direct the wetting and spreading of self-assembling silver circuits and brazes, and 4) address the reproducibility crisis facing the high temperature oxygen exchange coefficient measurement community.

Dr. Jason D. Nicholas is an Associate Professor in the Chemical Engineering and Materials Science Department at Michigan State University (MSU). His group is focused on understanding and exploiting ionic conduction, ionic surface exchange, mechano-electro-chemical coupling, cost-effective processing methodologies, and bespoke microstructures for improved solid oxide fuel cells, batteries, sensors, and other electro-chemically active devices. He earned a B.S. in Geoscience, with Honors, from Franklin & Marshall College in 2000, a M.S. in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2003, and a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of California Berkeley in 2007. After a PostDoc position at Northwestern University, he joined the faculty at MSU in 2010.  His innovative teaching and research have earned him a MSU Withrow Teaching Award and a National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award. Jason has also served as the lead organizer for a NSF-sponsored “Solid Oxide Fuel Cells- Promise, Progress, and Priorities” workshop, the inaugural organizer of an annual MSU Girl Scout Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Demo Day, and the guest editor for a Journal of the Electrochemical Society Focus Issue on Mechano-Electro-Chemical Coupling. Updates on his work can be found at

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