Toyota Fellowships Come Full Circle

Joaquin Rodriguez Lopez

Joaquin Rodriguez Lopez presenting his work at the Toyota Research Institute of North America in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

In 2014, ECS and Toyota Research Institute of North America came together to establish the ECS Toyota Young Investigator Fellowship to support young researchers working in green energy technology. The partnership between ECS and Toyota aims to leverage the Society’s network of researchers, awarding fellowship winners a minimum of $50,000 to pursue novel research over a one year period.

“We try to give folks the opportunity to do research that is a little more outside of the box,” said Paul Fanson, manager of Toyota’s North American Research Strategy Office, “where they might have difficulty getting funding somewhere else.”

As this year winds down and the 2016-2017 fellows come to the tail end of the research period, fellowship winners Elizabeth Biddinger, City College of New York; Joaquin Rodriguez Lopez, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; and Joshua Snyder, Drexel University recently took their work to Toyota’s site in Ann Arbor, Michigan, to report their findings, connect with industry researchers, and explore opportunities that extend beyond the funding time period.

(more…)

ToyotaThe ECS Toyota Young Investigator Fellowship kicked off in 2014, establishing a partnership between The Electrochemical Society and Toyota Research Institute of North America, aimed at funding young scholars pursuing innovative research in green energy technology.

The proposal deadline for the year’s fellowship is Jan. 31, 2017. Apply now!

While you put together your proposals, check out what Patrick Cappillino, one of the fellowship’s inaugural winners, says about his experience with the fellowship and the opportunities it presented.


The Electrochemical Society: Your proposed topic for the ECS Young Investigator Toyota Fellowship was “Mushroom-derived Natural Products as Flow Battery Electrolytes.” What inspired that work?

Patrick Cappillino: This research was inspired by a conversation with a colleague. I was relating the problem of redox instability in flow battery electrolytes. He told me his doctoral work had focused on an interesting molecule called Amavadin, produced by mushrooms, that was extremely stable and easy to make. The lightbulb really went off when we noticed that the starting material was the decomposition product of another flow battery electrolyte that has problems with instability.

(more…)

Toyota Fellowships Paying Off

ToyotaStarting in 2014, ECS partnered with Toyota Research Institute of North America to establish a fellowship for young researchers working in green energy technology, including efforts to find viable alternative energy sources as a replacement for oil, reduce carbon dioxide emissions, and prevent air pollution.

The proposal submission deadline for the 2017-2018 ECS Toyota Young Investigator Fellowship is Jan. 31, 2017. As we gear up for the third year of fellowship, ECS is checking in with two of the inaugural winners.

Methane to methanol conversion with Yogesh Surendranath

Yogesh Surendranath, Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was one of the inaugural fellowship winners for his work in methane to methanol conversion.

“For a young investigator, this fellowship gives a greater visibility to research efforts and provides a degree of freedom,” Surendranath says. “Junior faculty members, while they are at the time in their careers where they are most likely to take on challenging problems, are at the very same time finding funding challenging. The ECS Toyota Young Investigator Fellowship provided us that freedom to tackle new and interesting areas.”

The proposed research that ultimately won Surendranath and his group a $50,000 grant is called, “Methanol Electrosynthesis at Carbon-Supported Molecular Active Sites.”

(more…)

ECS Toyota Fellowship
The Electrochemical Society with Toyota North America
2017-2018 ECS Toyota Young Investigator Fellowship
for Projects in Green Energy Technology

Proposal Submission Deadline: January 31, 2017

ECS, in partnership with the Toyota Research Institute of North America (TRINA), a division of Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc. (TEMA), is requesting proposals from young professors and scholars pursuing innovative electrochemical research in green energy technology.

Global development of industry and technology in the 20th century, increased production of vehicles and the growing population have resulted in massive consumption of fossil fuels. Today, the automotive industry faces three challenges regarding environmental and energy issues: (1) finding a viable alternative energy source as a replacement for oil, (2) reducing CO2 emissions and (3) preventing air pollution. 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.

Fellowship Objectives and Content

The purpose of the ECS Toyota Young Investigator Fellowship is 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 more innovative and unconventional technologies borne from electrochemical research.

The fellowship will be awarded to a minimum of one candidate annually. Winners will receive a restricted grant of no less than $50,000 to conduct the research outlined in their proposal within one year. Winners will also receive a one-year complimentary ECS membership as well as the opportunity to present and/or publish their research with ECS.

Meet previous winners.

(more…)

toyota-collage

From left to right: Elizabeth Biddinger, City College of New York; Joaquin Rodriguez Lopez, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Joshua Snyder, Drexel University

The ECS Toyota Young Investigator Fellowship Selection Committee has selected three recipients who will receive a minimum of $50,000 each for fellowships for projects in green energy technology. The winners are Professor Elizabeth Biddinger, City College of New York; Professor Joaquin Rodriguez Lopez, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; and Professor Joshua Snyder, Drexel University.

The ECS Toyota Young Investigator Fellowship, a partnership between The Electrochemical Society and Toyota Research Institute of North America (TRINA), a division of Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc. (TEMA), is in its second year. A diverse applicant pool of more than 100 young professors and scholars pursuing innovative electrochemical research in green energy technology responded to ECS’s request for proposals.

“Scientists and engineers seek to unveil what is possible and to exploit that knowledge to provide solutions to the myriad of problems facing our world,” says ECS Executive Director Roque Calvo. “We are proud to have the continued support of Toyota in this never ending endeavor to uncover new frontiers and face new challenges.”

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.

Global development of industry and technology in the 20th century increased production of vehicles and the growing population have resulted in massive consumption of fossil fuels. Today, the automotive industry faces three challenges regarding environmental and energy issues:

(1) Finding a viable alternative energy source as a replacement for oil
(2) Reducing CO2 emissions
(3) Preventing air pollution

(more…)

Reutilizing carbon dioxide to produce clean burning fuels

Carbon dioxide

David Go has always seen himself as something of a black sheep when it comes to his scientific research approach, and his recent work in developing clean alternative fuels from carbon dioxide is no exception.

In 2015, Go and his research team at the University of Notre Dame were awarded a $50,000 grant to purse innovative electrochemical research in green energy technology through the ECS Toyota Young Investigator Fellowship. With a goal of aiding scientists in advancing alternative energies, the fellowship aims to empower young researchers in creating next-generation vehicles capable of utilizing alternative fuels that can lead to climate change action in transportation.

The road less traveled

While advancing research in electric vehicles and fuel cells tend to be the top research areas in sustainable transportation, Go and his team is opting to go down the road less traveled through a new approach to green chemistry: plasma electrochemistry.

(MORE: Read Go’s Meeting Abstract on this topic, entitled “Electrochemical Reduction of CO2(aq) By Solvated Electrons at a Plasma-Liquid Interface.”)

“Our approach to electrochemistry is completely a-typical,” Go, associate professor at the University of Notre Dame, says. “We use a technique called plasma electrochemistry with the aim of processing carbon dioxide – a pollutant – back into more useful products, such as clean-burning fuels.”

(more…)

2016 Summer Fellowship Recipients

Congratulations to the recipients of the 2016 ECS Summer Fellowships!

Offered since 1928, the summer fellowship program is designed to assist students during the summer months, June through September, in the pursuit of work in a field of interest to the ECS.

Fellowship Recipients

Dr. Yelena Gorlin
Technische Universität München
Supervisor, Dr. Hubert A. Gasteiger
Colin Garfield Fink Summer Fellowship*

Soo Kim
Northwestern University
Advisor, Dr. Christopher M. Wolverton
Edward G. Weston Summer Fellowship

Charuksha T. Walgama
Oklahoma State University
Advisor, Dr. Sadagopan Krishnan
Joseph W. Richards Summer Fellowship

Muhammad Boota
Drexel University
Advisor, Dr. Yury Gogotsi
F. M. Becket Summer Fellowship

Michael Metzger
Technische Universität München
Advisor, Dr. Hubert A. Gasteiger
Herbert H. Uhlig Summer Fellowship

*The Colin Garfield Fink Summer Fellowship Award is designed to assist a postdoctoral scientist or engineer in the pursuit of battery research during the summer months.

Look for more information in November 2016 for your chance to apply for one of these prestigious fellowships in 2017!

Interested in other ECS opportunities like these? Click here to learn about additional ECS programs!