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James L. Young leads and contributes to projects in photoelectrochemistry (PEC), low-temperature water electrolysis, fuel cells, and electrochemical ammonia synthesis. Young was originally interested in semiconductors and solid-state electronic properties of materials but became inspired by electrochemistry as an undergraduate intern at NREL in 2010.

As a graduate researcher, he developed tandem III-V PEC devices and atomic-layer-deposited thin films as protective, anti-reflective, and catalytic coatings co-advised by Steven George (CU-Boulder) and Todd Deutsch (NREL). Young continued PEC work as a postdoc while contributing to low-temperature electrolysis research projects advised by Guido Bender. Young became a scientist in 2018 and now leads NREL’s HydroGEN Consortium PEC projects, the H2NEW Consortium membrane electrode assembly performance ex-situ characterization task, a technology commercialization project on low-cost, electrolysis diffusion media materials, and a Laboratory Directed Research and Development project on electrochemical ammonia synthesis. 

Research Interests

Materials electrochemistry

Electrochemical devices

Electrochemical ammonia synthesis

Photoelectrochemistry for solar fuels

Electronic properties of materials


Atomic layer deposition

Education/Academic Qualification

PhD, Materials Science and Engineering, University of Colorado Boulder

Bachelor, Materials Science and Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


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