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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 essential for our lives. Unfortunately, 783 million people currently do not have access to clean water, 795 million people face food shortage, 1.3 billion live in the dark, and a third of the world’s population lacks medicine essential for health. These are the grand challenges that humanity faces. One important element plays a vital role in solving these challenges – carbon.

Carbon is the fourth most abundant element on earth by weight. We breathe carbon. We burn carbon. We eat carbon. Scientists are constantly finding new applications for carbon. Recent discoveries of carbonaceous materials like graphene and carbon nanotubes can be used for water desalination, antibodies purification, supercapacitors, and viral filtration, among many others. When mixed with other materials, carbon becomes even more versatile. There are now wider implementations of carbon fiber reinforced polymer composites in automobiles and airplanes, which makes them safer, more fuel efficient, and environmentally friendly.

The future of carbon and its composite materials is limitless. During his graduate education, Hoi wants to leverage expertise from Oak Ridge National Laboratory and The University of Tennessee to learn the fundamental science behind carbonaceous materials production and their composites, in order to develop new products, explore new carbon functionalities, and find potential solutions to the world’s challenges.

Hoi is interested in finding simple methods 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 more environmentally friendly by utilizing industrial wastes as the raw material. By turning away from petroleum-based materials, products can be more commercially viable, marketable, and sustainable.

Grand challenges can only be solved if we unite across cultures, borders, arbitrary political divides, and disciplinary boundaries. Hoi also wants to learn about public policy, entrepreneurship, and how to communicate science, which are all facets critical to facilitating the identification of common achievable goals and the steps needed to solve them.


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)


Google Scholar profile: Hoi Ho

Other links: PechaKucha Presentation

Contact Information