John Ekerdt

Short Bio

John G. Ekerdt was Associate Dean for Research in Engineering and the Dick Rothwell Endowed Chair in Chemical Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. Using chemical and kinetic probes to unravel reaction pathways, mechanisms and reaction rates, his research has explored: 1) kinetics of single crystal, nanoparticle and ultrathin film growth, 2) chemistry that controls film and nanoparticle nucleation on surfaces and 3) relationships between precursor molecular structure, its reactivity and the properties of the electronic material that is grown. Current research interests focus on the surface, growth and materials chemistry of metal, dielectric and perovskite films and nanostructures.

More about the “Research and Innovation in Clean Energy” Keynote Speech

Climate change, energy security, energy equity and sustainable growth are major drivers shaping our energy future. Green hydrogen will be pivotal in addressing these drivers. Hydrogen is needed in decarbonizing manufacturing processes through electrification, and the transportation sectors directly or through electric vehicles. Long-term hydrogen storage and chemical conversion of hydrogen to alternate liquid fuels, including methanol and ammonia, can overcome the intermittency of solar and wind power. Portugal and Texas have an abundance of solar irradiance and wind providing the energy to produce green hydrogen through hydrolysis, and are natural partners to advance this energy future. Our academic institutions have the expertise to undertake the necessary research and the infrastructure to educate the workforce who will ultimately lead this energy future. The energy future will require an ecosystem that values fundamental research, fosters innovation and encourages start-ups. Realizing this future will also require investments in research on decarbonization of industrial manufacturing through electrification of process heating, materials discovery for multijunction photovoltaic solar cells, and power grid solutions across all scales to address intermittency, to list a few examples.