UMass Dartmouth Chemistry/Biochemistry Assistant Professor Patrick Cappillino one of three researchers selected as Electrochemical Society Toyota Young Investigator Fellow

UMass Dartmouth Chemistry/Biochemistry Assistant Professor Patrick Cappillino one of three researchers selected as Electrochemical Society Toyota Young Investigator Fellow for work in green energy technology

Patrick Cappillino

UMass Dartmouth Chemistry/Biochemistry Assistant Professor Patrick Cappillino is one of only three recipients of the 2015 Electrochemical Society (ECS) Toyota Young Investigator Fellowship. Professor Cappillino, along with Professor Yogesh (Yogi) Surendranath of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Professor David Go of University of Notre Dame, will receive $50,000 for the inaugural fellowships for projects in green energy technology. They will also receive a one-year complimentary ECS membership as well as the opportunity to present and/or publish their research with ECS. 

There is a strong and growing need for reliable, cost-effective grid storage to support the use of clean, carbon-neutral energy sources as alternatives to fossil fuel. Nonaqueous redox-flow batteries (NRFB) are a promising technology to meet this need. Although the demand for oil alternatives--such as natural gas, electricity and hydrogen--may grow, each alternative energy source has its disadvantages. Currently, oil remains the main source of automotive fuel. However, further research and development of alternative energies may bring change. 

Well-known renewable energy resources such as wind and solar offer great promise but many researchers in the green energy field have shifted the focus on achieving a stable supply of these renewable energy resources through the development of energy storage systems. NRFBs have garnered significant research interest, given the technology's durability, cost, and more flexible and versatile means of storing energy. However, its technology is currently limited by poor stability and limited battery lifetimes. Dr. Cappillino's research hopes to address this problem with a compound that is naturally occurring and produced biologically within certain species of mushrooms, known as Amavadin. 

"Evolution has optimized the stability of this molecule found in mushrooms to the point that its charge-carrying electrolytes are much more stable, which we hope could lead to greatly improved battery lifetimes," Assistant Professor Cappillino said. "We will synthesize analogues of Amavadin, study their electrochemistry, and then alter their structures to optimize their properties for this application. By advancing the state-of-the-art grid energy storage, successful implementation of this research project will make clean energy sources such as wind and solar more feasible as replacements for fossil fuels." 

ECS, in partnership with the Toyota Research Institute of North America (TRINA), a division of Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc. (TEMA), launched the inaugural ECS Toyota Young Investigator Fellowship about six months ago. More than 100 young professors and scholars pursuing innovative electrochemical research in green energy technology responded to ECS's request for proposals. 

The ECS Toyota Young Investigator Fellowship aims to encourage young professors and scholars to pursue research in green energy technology that may promote the development of next-generation vehicles capable of utilizing alternative fuels. Electrochemical research has already informed the development and improvement of innovative batteries, electrocatalysts, photovoltaics and fuel cells. Through this fellowship, ECS and TRINA hope to see further innovative and unconventional technologies borne from electrochemical research. 

Assistant Professor Cappillino is one of UMass Dartmouth's newest faculty members. The University recruited 38 new faculty members in the 2014-2015 academic year. Prior to joining the faculty at UMass Dartmouth, Dr. Cappillino received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Boston University under Professor John Caradonna and held a postdoctoral position in the Energy Nanomaterials division of Sandia National Laboratories. With this background in inorganic materials and nanomaterials synthesis, Dr. Cappillino plans to work in several areas of energy research including grid-scale energy storage, electrocatalysis, and heterogeneous catalysis. His areas of expertise include molecular and solid state inorganic chemistry, meso- and nanostructured materials, electrochemistry, surface chemistry, and bioinorganic chemistry. 

UMass Dartmouth distinguishes itself as a vibrant public university actively engaged in personalized teaching and innovative research, and acting as an intellectual catalyst for regional economic, social, and cultural development. UMass Dartmouth's mandate to serve its community is realized through countless partnerships, programs, and other outreach efforts to engage the community, and apply its knowledge to help address local issues and empower others to facilitate change for all. 

About ECS 

Leading the world in electrochemistry and solid state science and technology for more than 110 years, The Electrochemical Society was founded in 1902 as an international nonprofit, educational organization. ECS now has more than 9,000 individual and institutional members in more than 75 countries. Home of the Journal of The Electrochemical Society, the oldest peer-reviewed journal in its field, the ECS Digital Library provides searchable online access to the collection of ECS technical journals and other publications. 

About Toyota

Toyota (NYSE:TM), the world's top automaker and creator of the Prius, is committed to building vehicles for the way people live through our Toyota, Lexus and Scion brands. Over the past 50 years, we've built more than 25 million cars and trucks in North America, where we operate 14 manufacturing plants (10 in the U.S.) and directly employ more than 40,000 people (more than 32,000 in the U.S.). Our 1,800 North American dealerships (1,500 in the U.S.) sold more than 2.5 million cars and trucks (more than 2.2 million in the U.S.) in 2013 -- and about 80 percent of all Toyota vehicles sold over the past 20 years are still on the road today. 

Toyota partners with philanthropic organizations across the country, with a focus on education, safety and the environment. As part of this commitment, we share the company's extensive know-how garnered from building great cars and trucks to help community organizations and other nonprofits expand their ability to do good. For more information about Toyota, visit www.toyotanewsroom.com.


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