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John Chmiola, PhD, 2009

John Chmiola
Materials Engineering

My thesis topic concerns using porous carbon obtained by chlorinating metal carbides as the active material electrochemical capacitors . Towards this end, I am probing the effects of carbon porosity, microstructure and surface chemistry on the performance of these energy storage devices.

As far as how winning the GFRP made me feel, certainly good. Any time people of intelligence recognize my achievements it is cause to smile. And of course, professionally the GRFP looks great on a CV and opens many doors for other awards and future opportunities.

I am currently a post doc at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab working in the Environmental Energy Technologies Division with Dr. John Kerr, Dr. Marca Doeff and Dr. Venkat Srinivasan developing novel energy storage devices. We are currently looking for systems that can provide the high power and high cyclability that carbon supercapacitors offer, but without their other major drawbacks, namely low energy density. It’s sort of a battery tour de force, with John Kerr having infinite wisdom of organic synthesis of redox polymers, polymer electrolytes and ionic liquids, Marca Doeff being the leading expert on metal oxide and phosphate intercalation compounds, specifically manganese-based, myself having the tiniest bit of knowledge about carbon supercapacitors from working on them for 5 or so years with Prof. Yury Gogotsi during my Ph.D. studies at Drexel, and Venkat Srinivasan stepping down from leading the Batteries for Advanced Transportation Technologies (BATT) program to get back into the lab and help with system development. Being in Berkeley is also affording me the opportunity to begin combining my formal education in science with public policy, and sociological and environmental groups looking to further help usher in social change, both here and abroad.