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Dr. Nitul Kakati

Year joined the laboratory: 2018, Assistant Specialist

Major : Materials Science & Engineering

Hometown : Assam, India

Why I joined : Energy conversion and storage have been the focus of my research. At UC Merced, TEEL is an active fuel cell and electrolysis research group. Working with an experienced researcher like Prof. Chuang would be an excellent addition to my research portfolio. During my time at TEEL, I believe I would be able to further develop my skills in materials research forelectrochemical applications.

Future Goals : My goal as a researcher is to continue to advance renewable and sustainable energy research tolessen our reliance on fossil fuels and create a cleaner planet.

Dr. Ayon Karmakar

Year joined the laboratory: Feb 2023, Postdoctoral Scholar

Major: Chemistry

Hometown: West Bengal, India

Why I joined: Being an electrocatalyst enthusiast, always love to play with materials to achieve excellent electrocatalytic activities for clean Hydrogen production through Water Electrolysis. I have a keen interest to learn and experience the membrane-based electrolyzers in view of practical applicability and for which TEEL at UC Merced is an excellent research group to fulfill my future interests. Further, the opportunity to work and learn from an expert like Prof. Chuang would also enrich my knowledge. I wish to explore innovative materials and grow altogether with other lab-members at TEEL. My current expertise lies in design and fabrication of electrocatalysts, materials characterization, and electrochemistry.

Research interests: Materials engineering, Electrocatalysis, Green Hydrogen, Water and CO2 Electrolyzers (AEM & PEM), Electrochemistry.

Future Goals: To be an independent researcher in the field of renewable energy technologies to alleviate the fossil fuel dependency.

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Dr. Chika Eze

Year joined the laboratory: 2023 (Spring), Postdoc Scholar

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Hometown: Obollo-Eke, Enugu State, Nigeria.

Why I joined: I have had a long-standing interest in clean energy generation, conversion, and storage. Following my undergraduate studies in Physics at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria in 2011. I completed my master's degree in 2014 from the University of Birmingham in the UK, where I majored in Physics and Technology of Nuclear Reactors—one of the world's primary generators of low-carbon electricity. Subsequently, I received my PhD from the City University of Hong Kong in 2020, with a focus on Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and heat transfer for supercritical fluids systems applications. As part of my PhD program, I spent several months working as a visiting scholar at the Institute for Energy Systems within the Technical University of Munich in Germany. Following my PhD program, I spent two years as a Postdoc Fellow in Hong Kong Quantum AI Lab, developing novel strategies for battery thermal management systems. Joining TEEL at UC Merced to work with Prof. Chuang on Fuel Cell technologies is undoubtedly a wonderful opportunity, and a perfect fit for my future career goals. Fuel cells are one of the most energy efficient devices for extracting power from fuels, with potential to become an essential technology for decarbonizing energy systems. I look forward to honing my skills and collaborating with colleagues to make significant contributions to the efficiency, safety, and reliability of fuel cell technologies.

Research interests: Fuel Cells design and Optimization, Battery Thermal Management Systems, Next-Generation Nuclear Reactors Systems, CFD and Machine Learning.

Goals: Going forward, I will continue to conduct cutting-edge research in collaboration with colleagues from the universities, industrial partners, and research labs on various aspects of fluid flow, heat, and mass transfer processes, as well as their applications to a range of components and systems for energy generation, conversion, and storage.

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