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Hoi Chun Ho

Energy Materials


Supervising Faculty: Amit Naskar

Clean water, reliable energy storage, effective pharmaceuticals, and safe food are all essentials for our lives. Unfortunately, 783 million people currently do not have access to clean water, 795 million people face food shortage, 1.3 billion are living in the dark, and about a third of the world population do not have access to medicines essential for health. These are grant challenges faced by humanity. Carbon, the sixth element on the periodic table, can play a key role in helping us to move a step closer towards solving these challenges.

Carbon is the fourth most abundant element on earth by weight after hydrogen, helium, and oxygen. We breathe carbon. We burn carbon. We eat carbon. We wear carbon as clothing and diamond rings. We are made of carbon. In a human body, carbon the second most abundant element after oxygen.

Besides the existing applications of carbon, scientists are finding even more uses for carbon. The recent discoveries of carbonaceous materials like graphene and carbon nanotubes can lead to novel applications, such as water desalination, antibodies purification, supercapacitors, viral filtration, among many others.

When mixed with another material as a composite, carbon becomes an even more versatile material. For example, we are seeing the wider implementations of carbon fiber reinforced polymer composites in automobiles and airplanes, making them safer, more fuel efficient, and environmentally friendly.

The future of carbon and its composite materials are limitless. Hoi is interested in learning the fundamental science behind how to synthesize carbonaceous materials and their composites in order to produce novel products to solve the world’s challenges. He is interested in understanding ways to control the shape, size, and porosity of carbonaceous materials and how they interact with other materials. Understanding these can be the key to developing the next generation water filters, battery electrodes, and soil additives. Hoi is also finding ways to make these materials greener by utilizing wastes or renewable materials as the precursor for these products. By turning away from petroleum based materials, products can be more commercially viable, attractive to customers, and sustainable.

Grand challenges can only be solved if we unite across cultures, borders, arbitrary political divides, and disciplinary boundaries, agree on common achievable goals and work toward them. During his PhD education, Hoi also wants to learn about public policies, entrepreneurships, and most importantly, how to communicate science. Upon graduation, Hoi would potentially like to pursue careers in research, advising, consulting, marketing, or business development.


Bachelor of Science in Agricultural and Biological Engineering – University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign

Awards and Recognitions

  • University of Illinois University Honor--Bronze Tablet (2014)
  • Monsanto Award—University of Illinois Office of Research Undergraduate Research Symposium (2014)
  • University of Illinois College of Engineering Dean’s List (2012-2014)
  • Ben and Georgeann Jones Undergraduate Student Scholarship (2013)
  • Alpha Epsilon Honor Society (2013)
  • Tau Sigma National Honor Society (2013)
  • I-20 Academic and Public Service Excellence Scholarship (2012)
  • Academic Excellence Challenge National Qualifier (2012)
  • President’s Honor Roll List (2010-2012)
  • Outstanding Student Award (2011)
  • Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society (2011)
  • Student Mathematics League Certificate of Merit—AMATYC (2011)
  • American Model United Nations Outstanding Delegation Award (2011)


Other links: PechaKucha Presentation

Contact Information

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