Sofronis wins ASME award for international contributions to renewable energies

7/30/2020 Julia Park

Written by Julia Park

Petros Sofronis
Petros Sofronis
Professor Petros Sofronis has won the 2020 ASME Frank Kreith Energy Award, an honor given to individuals who have made significant contributions to a secure energy future through innovations in conservation or renewable energy technology through practice, research, teaching, or outstanding leadership.  

Sofronis was recognized “for catalyzing international academic and industrial research collaborations on underlying renewable energy technologies; and for significant contributions to the advancement of understanding and mitigating materials degradation in gaseous hydrogen environments such as pipeline steels.”

Since 2010, Sofronis has led the International Institute for Carbon-Neutral Energy Research (I2CNER), a collaboration with researchers at Kyushu University in Japan. He developed I2CNER into a world-class institute with the mission of contributing to the creation of a sustainable and environmentally friendly society by conducting fundamental research for the advancement of low carbon emission and cost- effective energy systems and improvement of energy efficiency. The array of technologies that I2CNER’s research aims to enable includes solid oxide fuel cells, polymer membrane-based fuel cells, biomimetic and other novel catalyst concepts, and production, storage, and utilization of hydrogen as a fuel. I2CNER’s research also explores the underlying science of CO2 capture and storage technology or the conversion of CO2 to a useful product.

I2CNER’s discoveries established the research benchmarks in a number of areas such as the catalytic activity of complex oxide surfaces and electrochemomechanics for solid oxide fuel cells and electrolyzers, biomimetic synthesis of catalysts and molecular fuel cells, CO2 capture nanomembranes, microfluidics for CO2/Brine interactions, best activated carbon material for next generation absorbents, and mitigation of hydrogen embrittlement and new alloy development.

Sofronis has been instrumental in securing partnerships between I2CNER and the world’s top academic institutions, national laboratories, industry, and government agencies.

His own decades of research focus on the behavior of materials in adverse chemomechanical environments, and in I2CNER, he applies this research to understand and mitigate hydrogen embrittlement of materials for the hydrogen economy applications.

Sofronis is the James W. Bayne Professor in MechSE. He earned his PhD in theoretical and applied mechanics from Illinois in 1987 and joined the department as an assistant professor in 1991.

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This story was published July 30, 2020.