Originally published by OSU News and Research Communications

December 2, 2014

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Chemists and engineers at Oregon State University have discovered a fascinating new way to take some of the atmospheric carbon dioxide that’s causing the greenhouse effect and use it to make an advanced, high-value material for use in energy storage products.

This innovation in nanotechnology won’t soak up enough carbon to solve global warming, researchers say. However, it will provide an environmentally friendly, low-cost way to make nanoporous graphene for use in “supercapacitors” – devices that can store energy and release it rapidly.

Such devices are used in everything from heavy industry to consumer electronics.

The findings were just published in Nano Energy by scientists from the OSU College of Science, OSU College of Engineering, Argonne National Laboratory, the University of South Florida and the National Energy Technology Laboratory in Albany, Ore. The work was supported by OSU.

In the chemical reaction that was developed, the end result is nanoporous graphene, a form of carbon that’s ordered in its atomic and crystalline structure. It has an enormous specific surface area of about 1,900 square meters per gram of material. Because of that, it has an electrical conductivity at least 10 times higher than the activated carbon now used to make commercial supercapacitors.  Read more…

See also:

Controlled Environments Magazine


Microfinance Monitor

Science Newsline

Space Daily

Undergraduate of the Quarter - Spring 2014
Undergraduate of the Quarter – Spring 2014

Chris Heron has been selected as one of our Undergrads of the Quarter for Spring 2014.  Chris was born in Corvallis, OR.  Prior to coming to OSU, Chris was in the United States Army – serving 3 separate tours in Iraq and was stationed in both Georgia and Colorado – finishing at the rank of Staff Sergeant.  After 7 years in the military, Chris decided to return back to school and enrolled at Columbia Gorge Community College in Hood River for one year.  He then came to Oregon State University as a biology major.  His time as a life sciences major was short lived – once he took Professor Margie Haak’s CH 220 course he was hooked on chemistry. He commented that Margie was an excellent presenter and she stimulated him to think about everything.  Chris also had a wonderful lab course experience in CH 361/362 which he describes as “just fabulous.” He particularly commented that Professor Emile Firpo was “fun and had great energy” and that “you learned a ton” from him.  The labs were key for Chris as it helped the lecture classes really make sense – they made him feel like “now I really get it!”  The P Chem series was really hard, but both Professors Glenn Evans and Wei Kong were great.  He loved Professor Kevin Gable’s dry sense of humor in O Chem.  He has been doing research in Professor David Ji’s lab recently.  Chris describes the research environment as “very inviting and simulating… Professor Ji has been very open with his lab.”  His time at OSU has been supported through the US GI Bill from his military service.  Outside of class, Chris enjoys racing bicycles with the OSU team on campus. This year, he has starting flying with the OSU Flying Club. He hopes to earn his pilot license prior to graduation and become a crop duster.  The FAA now wants crop dusters to have a chemistry background and that job will allow him to get enough hours to achieve his long term goal of being a pilot for a major airline.

Chris comments that OSU has a fabulous chemistry (and science) program and all the faculty are great.  We are honored to have amazing students like Chris as part of our program and we are grateful for his service to our country.  We congratulate Chris on all his achievements to date and we hope he continues to have a wonderful experience at OSU!

Who is your PI? – David Ji

How did you get into Undergraduate Research? – I got into UG research because I heard of it from a T.A. at the Mole Hole.  He, like me, had a scholarship requiring a certain amount of credits, and he told me that it was a nice way to help fulfill that requirement while gaining real work experience and helping others.

What advice might you have for other Undergraduate students thinking of pursuing research or just getting started? – I am very happy with my UG research position. I enjoy going in for UG research, and learn a lot from it.  I also really like the UG research system, as it is a symbiosis, with both parties benefiting. It is difficult to tell others what to expect in the position, because that will vary greatly depending on what T.A. he/she works for, and what department of chemistry he/she works under.  In general, you should expect to aid the graduate student with their experiments in any way he/she asks, be it preparation work, clean up, experiment assistance, individual conduction of experiments, etc.
The best advice I have regarding UG research is to meet with the T.A. that you will be working for during the first week of the term and set up a timetable detailing what days and how many hours you will be coming in to work, fitting this timetable around both you and your T.A.’s schedule.  This assures that there will be no time conflicts for either of you, and will allow the research to run smoothly.

Wei Luo, Xingeng Wang, Colin Meyers, Nick Wannenmacher, Weekit Sirisaksoontorn, Mike Lerner and David Ji recently published an article in Scientific Reports entitled Efficient Fabrication of Nanoporous Si and Si/Ge Enabled by a Heat Scavenger in Magnesiothermic Reactions.  Congratulations everyone and keep up the good work!!