Dr. Meital Shviro: Nanotech Global

Dr. Meital Shviro first became interested in energy research during her undergraduate studies at BIU. "Being part of the group or researchers trying to make the world greener is what attracted me initially to the field of fuel cells" she says. Her interest evolved to a PhD on synthesis and characterization of nickel nanostructures from an organometallic precursor, in the lab of Prof. David Zitoun in the Department of Chemistry. She is currently pursuing postdoctoral research at the Institute of Energy and Climate Research, Electrochemical Process Engineering (IEK3) at Forschungszentrum Jülich in Germany and hopes to start her own research group in the future.

"Fuel cells," she says, "have many potential benefits. One of these is their higher efficiency, compared with than diesel or gas engines. They can also eliminate the pollution caused by burning fossil fuels: in hydrogen fuel cells, the only point-of-use byproduct is water. Fuel cell technology can be used in virtually every kind of transportation, including cars, trucks, and smaller vehicles, airplanes, boats, and submarines, "But more improvements are needed," says Meital, a recipient of a 2015 Israel Chemistry Society Excellent Graduate Student Prize and several other awards and fellowships, including a current Humboldt Research Fellowship for Postdoctoral Researchers and Israel's Council of Higher Education and BIU scholarship program for excellent postdoctoral students.

Her current focus is on in-situ electron-microscopy (TEM, STEM) characterization of shaped nanoparticle catalysts for fuel cells, in work that is helping to understand catalyst behavior under reaction conditions and shed new light on ways to improve the design of the catalyst. "Designing a catalyst with record-breaking activity is a considerable challenge, especially in acidic media," she says – but is hopeful.

Originally published in Institute for Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials' October-November 2017 newsletter