August 22, 2012
by Jamie Beckett
Technology Review has named William Chueh, an assistant professor of materials science and engineering, to its annual "TR35" list honoring the year’s top young innovators.
Chueh was honored for developing a technology of using heat that is otherwise wasted to boost the efficiency of solar fuel production. Most current approaches to solar energy rely on the photovoltaic effect, first converting light to electricity and then to fuel.
By contrast, Chueh’s method uses heat from concentrated sunlight to convert water intro hydrogen or water and carbon dioxide into methane – fuels that can be stored and transported. Increased chemical reaction rates at elevated temperatures enhance the solar-to-fuel conversion efficiency significantly.
The TR35 recognizes the world’s top innovators under the age of 35, spanning biotechnology, computer and electronics hardware and software, energy, the Web, and nanotechnology, among other emerging fields.
Visit Stanford Engineering to read the full article.