Engineering student chosen for prestigious Department of Energy research program

Lili Rassouli is studying ways to convert solar energy into other clean fuels

By Mary Durlak

Release Date: May 18, 2023

Lili (Leili) Rassouli portrait.

Lili Rassouli 

Michel Dupuis photo.

Michel Dupuis

“Among all the available sustainable sources, solar energy is the largest exploitable energy resource that is abundantly available from sunlight. ”
Lili Rassouli, PhD candidate in chemical engineering
University at Buffalo School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Lili Rassouli, a PhD candidate at the University at Buffalo, was among just 87 graduate students recently selected from applicants across the United States to conduct research at a Department of Energy (DOE) facility.

Rassouli, who is pursuing her doctorate in chemical engineering, intends to further her work at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory this fall.

“Among all the available sustainable sources, solar energy is the largest exploitable energy resource that is abundantly available from sunlight,” said Rassouli. Her research focuses on electron transfer in photoelectrochemical cells, which are used to convert solar energy into clean fuels such as hydrogen and oxygen.

The Department of Energy (DOE) selected the successful applicants for the Office of Science Graduate Student Research program based on merit review by external scientific experts. The program provides supplemental funds to students as they conduct part of their thesis research at a host DOE site.

Working with the support of her advisor Michel Dupuis, PhD, professor of research in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at UB, Rassouli completed fundamental parts of her PhD project using UB’s computational resources. “The collaboration at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory will allow me to gain access to unique computational capabilities and expertise,” said Rassouli, who lives in Glen Head, New York.

Rassouli is no stranger to the lab. She came to UB with six years of research and industrial lab experience, including two years in manufacturing companies. She has also published five research papers. “My goal is to continue a professional career as an engineer in a manufacturing company,” she said, “where I can create innovations that will benefit our community and the world.”

Students accepted into the Science Graduate Student Research Program work on projects that address critical energy, environmental, and nuclear challenges at national and international scales.

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