Research Activity per Year


Personal Profile

At NREL, Robert Bell has worked on projects involving hydrogen storage, thermochemical water splitting, high-temperature electrolysis, thermal energy storage, and synthesis of functional oxides. His role in these projects spans synthesis, characterization, and instrument building. His primary synthesis roles have involved mixed cation hydride synthesis and bulk oxide synthesis. He has brought up a number of complex synthesis tools including a hot press capable of 2000˚C and 15-ton conditions, a 1800˚C air furnace, and a furnace with precise pO2 control and gas blending.

His characterization work at NREL is broad and includes temperature programmed desporption, thermal gravinemetric analysis, differential scanning calorimetry, X-ray diffraction (lab source and synchrotron), X-ray absorption spectroscopy (hard and soft energies), and X-ray fluoresence spectroscopy. He has built, modified, and programmed control software for characterization equipment including thermal conductivity measurement (transient plane source) system with automated temperature and pressure sweeping, and in-situ temperature and pO2 controlled chambers for use at beamlines at SLAC.

Also, he's working in the Hydrogen Materials—Advanced Research Consortium, the HydroGEN consortium on thermochemical water splitting and high-temperature electrolysis, and the Center for Next Generation Materials Design.

From his doctoral work at Cornell University, he has a background in laser annealing, Raman spectroscopy, and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy.

Research Interests

Hydrogen storage

Hydrogen generation

Functional oxide synthesis

Professional Experience

Postdoctoral Researcher, NREL (2017–present)

Graduate School Researcher, Cornell University (2011–2017)

Cleanroom Teaching Lab Manager, Cornell Nanofabrication Facility (2012–2017)

National Science Foundation GK-12 Fellow, Cornell University (2014-2015)

Undergraduate Physics Outreach Coordinator, University of Texas at Austin (2009-2010)

Education/Academic Qualification

PhD, Materials Science and Engineering, Cornell University

Master, Materials Science and Engineering, Cornell University

Bachelor, Physics, The University of Texas at Austin


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