MSE Student winner of 2014 Baker Student Award

Materials Science & Engineering Graduate student Lei Zhang places second in the 2014 Dr. Bernard S. Baker Student Award for Fuel Cell Research at the Fuel Cell Seminar & Energy Exposition in Los Angeles. 

What is a fuel cell?

A fuel cell is a device that generates electricity by a chemical reaction. Every fuel cell has two electrodes, one positive and one negative, called, respectively, the anode and cathode. The reactions that produce electricity take place at the electrodes.

Every fuel cell also has an electrolyte, which carries electrically charged particles from one electrode to the other, and a catalyst, which speeds the reactions at the electrodes.

Hydrogen is the basic fuel, but fuel cells also require oxygen. One great appeal of fuel cells is that they generate electricity with very little pollution–much of the hydrogen and oxygen used in generating electricity ultimately combine to form a harmless byproduct, namely water.

One detail of terminology: a single fuel cell generates a tiny amount of direct current (DC) electricity. In practice, many fuel cells are usually assembled into a stack. Cell or stack, the principles are the same. [SOURCE]


LOS ANGELES - University of Utah Materials Science & Engineering student Lei Zhang (Ph.D. candidate) was honored at the 2014 Fuel Cell Seminar & Energy Exposition held in Los Angeles, California in November 2015 as a recipient of the second place prize for the Dr. Bernard S. Baker Student Award for Fuell Cell Research.

The award was established after the passing of fuel cell pioneer Dr. Bernard S. Baker and is given yearly to three of the most exceptional students world-wide. Lei Zhang placed second in a field of eight students who were nominated for this award. 

Lei Zhang said of this honor, "I would like to thank the department of Materials Science and Engineering and especially Dr. Anil V. Virkar for giving me the opportunity to complete my graduate research at the University of Utah. This award not only recognizes my achievements, but also the world leading research in our department."