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Wade Braunecker is a leading authority at NREL on radical polymerization techniques and macromolecular engineering, which includes the synthesis of polymeric materials with controlled architectures, functionalities, and compositions, as well as two- and three-dimensional, high-surface area polymeric framework-based materials and composites. 

His early career focused on elucidating elemental processes governing radical polymerization catalysis, and his contributions to the field in the form of 20 peer reviewed publications, book chapters, and educational reviews in this arena have provided a foundation for experts and non-experts across the nation to advance the development of macromolecular materials for a wide variety of renewable energy applications.

Braunecker brought this expertise to NREL in 2010 and applied macromolecular engineering concepts to the design and synthesis of organic electronic polymers and high surface area framework-based materials, where he has since gone on to publish an additional 30 research works in the fields of organic photovoltaics, organic radical batteries, and gas storage and separations. He currently leads a number of efforts in the areas of hydrogen storage, direct air carbon dioxide (CO2) capture, and reactive carbon capture and conversion to synthetic fuel precursors.

Research Interests

Direct air CO2 capture and reactive conversion

Hydrogen storage and delivery

Organic electronics

Macromolecular engineering

Professional Experience

Joint Appointment, Colorado School of Mines, Department of Chemistry (2019–present)

Senior Scientist, NREL (2016–present)

Staff Scientist, NREL (2012–2016)

Postdoctoral Research Associate, NREL (2010–2012)

Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Colorado Boulder (2008–2009)

Education/Academic Qualification

PhD, Chemistry, Carnegie Mellon University

Bachelor, Chemistry, University of Notre Dame


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