kirk gerdes
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Chemical Engineer Dr.Kirk Gerdes came to NETL as an ORISE intern in 2006 and has been innovating solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technology ever since. Today, Gerdes leads a group of more than 30 researchers in pursuit technologies that support commercialization of SOFC. The research team integrates fundamental and applied experiments and computations especially to stabilize SOFC performance and to reduce SOFC degradation, which will diminish costs and ultimately bring this low-emission fossil fuel technology to market. Currently, Gerdes’s research focuses on correlating fuel cell structure to its function, and predicting how the function will evolve over commercially relevant time scales.

Gerdes’s interest in energy conversion brought him to NETL, and his experiences working with teams of diversely talented individuals makes every assignment uniquely rewarding. Gerdes says, “One of the implicit strengths of the national lab environment is the community of technical professionals willing to contribute their expertise to serve the public. Teamwork here is terrifically rewarding because of the diverse technical expertise embodied in the staff.” 

In addition to his research, Gerdes also coordinates the annual West Virginia Regional Science Bowl (WVSB), which hosts teams from around the state as a qualifying tournament for the National Science Bowl in Washington, D.C. Gerdes says he enjoys the opportunity to provide a fun, educational service event for WV students while organizing a community that promotes WV and STEM education.