National Renewable Energy Laboratory director to discuss functional materials, energy conversion at Discovery Lecture

September 22, 2015  

William Tumas

William Tumas 
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - A leading researcher and Lafayette native now at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado will deliver a talk on functional materials and energy conversion on Thursday (Sept. 24) as part of Purdue University's Discovery Lecture Series.

William Tumas, associate laboratory director for Materials and Chemical Science and Technology at the NREL, will deliver the lecture, "Functional Materials," at 9:30 a.m. in Purdue Memorial Union's East Faculty Lounge. The talk is free and open to the public.

"The discovery of new functional materials is critical to developing the needed disruptive technologies for energy conversion, delivery, storage and use," said Tumas, who also is director of the Center for the Next Generation of Materials by Energy Frontier Research Center. "Remarkable advances in theory and high-throughput materials synthesis and characterization are enabling a new approach to new materials discovery where theory can directly guide experimental materials development."

The EFRC has been tightly coupling theory, experiment and characterization to discover and understand new inorganic semiconductor materials for photovoltaic absorbers, transparent conductors and photo-electrochemical water splitting.

Research results, as well as materials by design research from the Next Generation for Materials by Design, will be the focus of the seminar, said Maureen McCann, director of the Purdue Energy Center who leads the Center for Direct Catalytic Conversion of Biomass to Biofuels. The center is a U.S. Department of Energy-funded EFRC that is developing new methods to directly convert the bulk of plants like maize, sorghum and switchgrass to advanced biofuels and other products currently derived from fossil oil.

Sponsors for this Discovery Lecture Series event are the Purdue Energy Center and the Global Sustainability Institute in Discovery Park and Lilly Endowment. Through a $1 million gift to Discovery Park from Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment, Purdue launched the lecture series in 2006 to bring prominent speakers to campus.

Before joining the NREL in 2009, William spent 17 years in a number of leadership positions at Los Alamos National Laboratory including program director for applied energy programs, program manager and group leader of inorganic chemistry.

His research activities have included materials by design, solar energy conversion, chemical hydrogen storage, catalysis, supercritical fluids and alternate reaction media, green chemistry and waste treatment technology development and assessment.

He received his doctorate in organic chemistry from Stanford University and a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Ithaca College.

Located in Golden, Colorado, the NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy's primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for the Energy Department by The Alliance for Sustainable Energy LLC. 

Writers: Emily Sigg, 765-494-2083,

Phillip Fiorini, 765-496-3133, 

Sources: Maureen McCann, 765-494-1610,

Pankaj Sharma, 765-496-7452, 

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