Personal profile

Research interests

One of the most critical problems which humanity faces today is Energy. Energy is essential for production of clean water sources via desalination, food production, for transportation, use of electronic devices and so on. The most common methods to produce energy today rely on fossil fuels which are limited to certain areas on earth, most of which is in the hands of unfriendly countries, and their reserves are decreasing in an extremely rapid pace, with predictions that they will last for up to 50 years from today. In addition, the price of using these fuels on the environment, public health and society becomes unbearable. Hence, new alternative technologies, relying on renewable, clean resources are the only alternative to the way we generate power today. One the most promising technologies for transportation, backup- and even main-power today is fuel cells which offers to use hydrogen (which could be produced using solar energy) and oxygen to produce power and water. Fuel cells are considered the most promising alternative energy technology due to their high energy density, an order of magnitude higher than the best battery today. Most of the advanced countries in the world have already voted on hydrogen economy which relies on fuel cells.

Lior Elbaz received his PhD in chemical engineering from the Ben-Gurion University, Israel, and is currently an Associate Professor at the Bar-Ilan University, Israel. During his graduate studies, he specialized in electrochemistry and worked on the development of bio-inspired catalysts for fuel cells. He continued his research in the field at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, NM, USA, a world leader in the development of fuel cell technology; there he worked on various aspects of this technology, from electrocatalysis to inorganic chemistry, materials chemistry and engineering as a postdoctoral associate. During his time there, he expended his interests into photovoltaics and metal-air batteries.  He is now continuing his research on renewable energy related projects at the Department of Chemistry, Bar-Ilan University, Israel. Lior established the Israeli Fuel Cells Consortium in 2016 with the support of the Fuel Choices and Smart Mobility Initiative of the Israeli Prime Minister's Office, and heads it. This is a 12-member labs consortium with representation from all major universities in Israel. Lior is also involved in several research projects with industrial pratenrs who develop unique fuel cells.

In his work Lior is trying to tackle the two top hurdles in fuel cells technology: Durability and Cost. Durability, as the US-DOE describes it, is the biggest hurdle. Lior has been developing new, advanced materials, mostly based on porous, high surface-area, conductive ceramic materials which show significant durability when compared to the common carbonaceous materials used today. Lior is also developing methodologies to study corrosion in fuel cells, by studying the material’s strengths and weaknesses and exposing them to extreme, yet realistic operating conditions to simulate degradation which will take place over several years in only a few days. These projects are currently applied by his industrial partners. Lior is also developing catalysts, mainly for oxygen reduction, based on ultra-low loading Pt. He is also developing biomimetic non-precious metal group catalysts based on relatively new and exciting transition metal complexes: metallo-corroles. These are considered today to be among the state-of-the-art molecular catalysts for oxygen reduction. Lior has recently developed new catalysts for dimethyl ether direct electro-oxidation in fuel cells. These discoveries resulted in an applied patent and a new Israeli startup company which was recently established.

Research Interest (in no specific order):

  • Electrochemistry.
  • Bio-inspired electrochemistry.
  • Alternative energy technologies (fuel cells, batteries and photovoltaics).
  • Organometallic compounds.
  • Conductive polymers.
  • Porphyrins and transition metal complexes.
  • Ceramic materials.
  • Semiconductors.
  • Carbon supports for alternative energy applications (electrodes, electron acceptors).

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Jan 2005Jun 2009

Award Date: 6 Jun 2009

Master, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Oct 2003Oct 2005

Award Date: 1 Oct 2005

Bachelor, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Oct 2000Jun 2003

Award Date: 30 Jun 2003

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