Dr. Lior Elbaz
One of the most critical problems which humanity faces today is Energy. Energy is essential for production of clean water sources via desalination, food production, for transportation, use of electronic devices and so on. The most common methods to produce energy today rely on fossil fuels which are limited to certain areas on earth, most of which is in the hands of unfriendly countries, and their reserves are decreasing in an extremely rapid pace, with predictions that they will last for up to 50 years from today. In addition, the price of using these fuels on the environment, public health and society becomes unbearable. Hence, new alternative technologies, relying on renewable, clean resources are the only alternative to the way we generate power today. One the most promising technologies for transportation, backup- and even main-power today is fuel cells which offers to use hydrogen (which could be produced using solar energy) and oxygen to produce power and water. Fuel cells are considered the most promising alternative energy technology due to their high energy density, an order of magnitude higher than the best battery today. Most of the advanced countries in the world have already voted on hydrogen economy which relies on fuel cells.
Dr. Lior Elbaz has a BSc, MSc and PhD in chemical engineering, all from the Ben-Gurion University, Israel. During his graduate studies, he became an expert in electrochemistry and electrocatalysis. He used his expertise to develop tumor targeting drugs, solar cells and fuel cells. After finishing his PhD, he joined the MPA-11 group, at the Materials Physics & Applications Division at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, a world leader in the development of fuel cell technology, where he developed new catalysts and advanced materials for fuel cells, in order to reduce fuel cells price and increase their durability. After almost four years at Los Alamos, Lior came back to Israel to take a position at the Department of Chemistry, Bar-Ilan University. After returning to Israel, Lior decided to found the Israeli fuel cells consortium, composed of 12 leading Israeli labs and generously funded by the Israeli prime minister’s office.
In his work Lior is trying to tackle the two top hurdles in fuel cells technology: Durability and Cost. Durability, as the US-DOE describes it, is the biggest hurdle. Lior has been developing new, advanced materials, mostly based on porous, high surface-area, conductive ceramic materials which show significant durability when compared to the common carbonaceous materials used today. Lior is also developing methodologies to study corrosion in fuel cells, by studying the material’s strengths and weaknesses and exposing them to extreme, yet realistic operating conditions to simulate degradation which will take place over several years in only a few days. These projects are currently applied by his industrial partners. Lior is also developing catalysts, mainly for oxygen reduction, based on ultra-low loading Pt. He is also developing biomimetic non-precious metal group catalysts based on relatively new and exciting transition metal complexes: metallo-corroles. These are considered today to be among the state-of-the-art molecular catalysts for oxygen reduction. Lior has recently developed new catalysts for dimethyl ether direct electro-oxidation in fuel cells. These discoveries resulted in an applied patent and a new Israeli startup company which was recently established.
Postdoctoral Associate Sep. 2009- Apr. 2013
MPA-11 group, Materials, Physics and Applications Division, Los Alamos National Laboratory, NM, USA.
Department of Chemical Engineering, Ben-Gurion University, Israel (combined with M.Sc.).
Ben-Gurion University, Department of Chemical Engineering, Israel.
Authored books and book chapters
- Catalytic Reduction of Oxygen by Metalloporphyrins (L. Elbaz, VDM Publishing: Saarbrücken, 2010, ISBN 978-3-639-29274-9).
- Heat-Treated Non-Precious Metal Based Catalysts for Oxygen reduction (L. Elbaz, G. Wu and P. Zelenay), in Electrocatalysis in Fuel Cells: A Non and Low Platinum Approach (S. Minhua, Springer, 2013, ISBN: 978-1-4471-4910-1)
Refereed articles in peer reviewed scientific journals
1) Doping and reduction of graphene oxide using chitosan-derived volatile N-heterocyclic compounds for metal-free oxygen reduction reaction (S. Kumar, S. Gonen, A. Friedman, L. Elbaz and G.D. Nessim, Carbon, 120 (2017) 419-426).
2) Direct Electro-oxidation of Dimethyl Ether on Pt-Cu NanoChains (B. Gavriel, R. Sharabi and L. Elbaz, 2017, Accepted, ChemSusChem).
3) Highly Active, Corrosion-Resistant Cathode for Fuel Cells, based on Platinum and Molybdenum Carbide (O. Lori, S. Gonen and L. Elbaz, Journal of Electrochemical Society, 164 (7) (2017), F825-F830).
4) Modulation of Oxygen Content in Graphene Surfaces Using Temperature Programmed Reductive Annealing: Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) and Electrochemical Study (O. Marciano, S. Gonen, N. Levy, E. Teblum, R. Yemini, G. D. Nessim, S. Ruthstein, and L. Elbaz, Langmuir, 32 (44) (2016), 11672-11680).
5) Methodology for the Design of Accelerated Stress Tests for Non-Precious Metal Catalysts in Fuel Cell Cathodes (R. Sharabi, Y. H. Wijsboom, N. Borchtchoukova, G. Finkelshtain, L. Elbaz, Journal of Power Sources, 335 (2016), 56-64).
6) Metallocorroles as Non-Precious Metal Electrocatalysts for Highly Efficient Oxygen Reduction in Alkaline Media (N. Levy, A. Mahammed, A. Friedman, B. Gavriel, Z. Gross, and L. Elbaz, ChemCatChem, 8 (17) (2016), 2832-2837).
7) Advances in Ceramic Supports for Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells (O. Lori, L. Elbaz, Catalysts, 5 (2015), 1445-1464).
8) Metallocorroles as Non-Precious Metal Catalysts for Oxygen Reduction (N. Levy, A. Mahammed, M. Kosa, D. Major, Z. Gross, and L. Elbaz, Angewandte Chemie, 127 (2015), 14286-14290).
9) Evidence of High Electrocatalytic Activity of Molybdenum Carbide Supported Platinum Nanorafts (L. Elbaz, J. Phillips, K. More, K, Arytrashkova, and E. L. Brosha, Journal of Electrochemical Society, 162 (9) (2015), H681-H685).
10) Electrocatalysis of Oxygen Reduction with Platinum Supported on Molybdenum Carbide-Carbon Composite (L. Elbaz, C. Kreller, N. Henson and E. L. Brosha, Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry, 720-721 (2014), 34-40).
11) Increasing the Site Density of non-Precious Metal Catalysts in Fuel Cell Electrodes (L. Elbaz and F. Garzon, Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry, 700 (2013), 65-69).
12) Nanoscale Titania Ceramic Composite Supports for PEM Fuel Cells (K. J. Blackmore, L. Elbaz, E. Bauer, E. L. Brosha, K. More, T. M. McCleskey, and A. K. Burrell, Journal of Materials Research, 27 (15) (2012), 2046-2054).
13) Nonprecious Metal Catalysts for Fuel Cell Applications: Electrochemical Activation by a Series of First Row Transition Metal Tris(2-pyridylmethyl) Amine Complexes (A. L. Ward, L. Elbaz, J. B. Kerr, J. Arnold, Inorganic Chemistry, 51(8) (2012), 4694-4706).
14) High Surface Area Molybdenum Nitride Support for Fuel Cell Electrodes (K. J. Blackmore, L. Elbaz, E. Bauer, E. L. Brosha, K. More, T. M. McCleskey, and A. K. Burrell, Journal of Electrochemical Society, 158(10) (2011), B1255-B1259).
15) Engineered Nano-scale Ceramic Supports for PEM Fuel Cells (K. J. Blackmore, E. Bauer, L. Elbaz, E. L. Brosha, T. M. McCleskey, and A. K. Burrell, Electrochemical Society Transactions, 30(1) (2011), 83-90).
16) Evidence for the Formation of Cobalt Porphyrin-Quinone Complexes Stabilized at Carbon-Based Surfaces Toward the Design of Efficient Non-Noble-Metal Oxygen Reduction Catalysts (L. Elbaz, E. Korin, L. Soifer and A. Bettelheim, Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, 1 (2010), 398-401).
17) Mediation at High Potentials for the Reduction of Oxygen to Water by Cobalt Porphyrin-Quinone Systems in Porous Aerogel Carbon Electrodes (L. Elbaz, L. Soifer, E. Korin and A. Bettelheim, Journal of Electrochemical Society, 157(1) (2010), B27-B31).
18) Electrocatalytic Oxygen Reduction by Co(III) Porphyrins Incorporated in Aerogel Carbon Electrodes (L. Elbaz, L. Soifer, E. Korin and A. Bettelheim; Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry, 621 (2008), 91-96).
19) Tautomerism in N-Confused Porphyrins as the Basis of a Novel Fiber-Optic Humidity Sensor (I. Zilbermann, E. Meron, E. Maimon, L. Soifer, L. Elbaz, E. korin, and A. Bettelheim; Journal of Porphyrins and Phthalocyanines, 10 (2006), 63-66).
- Electrochemistry – Undergraduate level – Department of Chemistry, Bar-Ilan University, Israel.
- Introduction to Chemical Engineering for Chemists - Graduate level – Department of Chemistry, Bar-Ilan University, Israel.
- Materials Seminar - Undergraduate level – Department of Chemistry, Bar-Ilan University, Israel.
- Physical Chemistry lab - Undergraduate level – Department of Chemistry, Bar-Ilan University, Israel.
- General Chemistry – Undergraduate level - Department of Chemistry, Bar-Ilan University, Israel.
- Introduction to polymers (TA) – Undergraduate level - Department of Chemical Engineering, Ben-Gurion University, Israel.
- Chemical Engineering Fundamentals III – Mass transfer (TA) - Undergraduate level, Department of Chemical Engineering, Ben-Gurion University, Israel.
- Chemical Engineering Lab – Mass transfer - Undergraduate level - Department of Chemical Engineering, Ben-Gurion University, Israel.
- Chemical Engineering Lab – Heat transfer - Undergraduate level - Department of Chemical Engineering, Ben-Gurion University, Israel.
The dependence of the free world on fossil fuels is increasing rapidly, whereas the world’s reserves are diminishing. Moreover, the effect of using such fuels on climate change, public health and nature is detrimental. The best way to reduce this dependence and even eliminate it is the further development of renewable energy technologies such as solar cells and fuel cells, which have the potential to power our automobiles, households and industry. In order for them to take over the energy market, scientific breakthroughs are needed.
The advancement in the commercialization of fuel cells is hampered by the high cost of their components, and especially the catalysts - Pt in most cases. Although it is the premium catalyst both at the anode and cathode of most low temperature fuel cells, the notion that even the most ingenious improvements in platinum nano-structure and alloying synthesis cannot dispel the issue of this catalyst scarcity and cost escalation, it is a prudent endeavor to develop inexpensive catalysts for oxygen reduction (ORR) which can be obtained from abundant and sustainable sources in order to realize the eagerly anticipated mass commercialization of fuel cells.
Since the discovery of their ability to catalyze the ORR and up until today, there has been a continuous growth in the interest in macrocyclic compounds. Researchers in various fields, from biology to physics and chemistry, have investigated the ORR mechanism and modified the macrocyclic structures and transition metal complexes to achieve better catalytic performance. While good catalytic activity was demonstrated under certain conditions, further development is needed in order to make them competitive with platinum based catalysts.
Our projects aim at developing bio-inspired catalysts for ORR as well as improving precious metal based catalysts for fuel cells. We also study and develop new materials for fuel cell s and batteries that could extend their durability and increase their activity. We are looking for excellent, motivated PhD students and postdocs who are willing to take on the task of making this world cleaner and better. We are currently looking for candidates from the fields of electrochemistry, inorganic chemistry and materials chemistry.
Research Interest (in no specific order):
- Bio-inspired electrochemistry
- Alternative energy technologies (fuel cells, batteries and photovoltaics).
- Organometallic compounds.
- Conductive polymers.
- Porphyrins and transition metal complexes.
- Ceramic materials.
- Carbon supports for alternative energy applications (electrodes, electron acceptors).
- Dr. Naomi Levi (Research Associate and Lab Manager)
- Dr. Ronit Shrabi (Postdoctoral Associate)
- Oran Lori (Graduate Student)
- Shmuel Gonen (Graduate Student)
- Ariel Friedman (Graduate Student)
- Bar Gavriel (Graduate Student)
- Inbal Ozeri (Graduate Student)
- Noam Zion (Graduate Student)
- Jennifer Koliuk (Graduate Student)
- Rafi Snitkoff (Graduate Student)
- Hilah Henig (Undergraduate Student)