McKenzie Hubert is a Ph.D. candidate studying Chemical Engineering at Stanford University. She is interested in energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies including energy storage devices. Her current research is focused on reducing the cost of water electrolyzers (devices that use electricity to split water into oxygen and hydrogen) for grid-scale energy storage. Through collaborations with an electrolyzer manufacturer, she has demonstrated that low-cost materials developed in her lab can sustain excellent performance in a large-scale commercial electrolyzer operating under more harsh conditions than those used in a lab setting. She is further interested in discovering new materials for the water splitting reaction and has teamed up with theorists who computationally model materials under relevant reaction conditions. They are working together to better understand the fundamental characteristics of active and stable materials that promote water splitting. Her work is funded in part by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and the SUNCAT Center for Interface Science and Catalysis.
Prior to her studies at Stanford, McKenzie received her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Cornell University. She spent a semester at Cornell working on the AguaClara project team, a group of students working to develop low-cost water treatment plants in developing countries such as Honduras. She built and tested a sand filtration device to model a component of an existing water treatment plant in order to better understand its operating limits. She also spent a summer conducting research at the Lawrence Livermore National Lab working on electrochemical desalination of groundwater. She investigated the effects of flow rate, salinity, and electrochemical potential to optimize the energy efficiency of the system. Outside of her work, McKenzie volunteers her time serving on a graduate student advocacy committee, tutoring high school students, and leading science activities for patients at the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital.