Environmental engineering graduate student wins Electrochemical Society award

Environmental engineering graduate student Jenelle Fortunato recently won the ECS Young Scientist Best Poster Award. Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Environmental engineering graduate student Jenelle Fortunato received the Electrochemical Society (ECS) Battery Division’s Young Scientist Best Poster Award at the ECS National Meeting held in National Harbor, Maryland.

Fortunato’s poster, titled “A Flavin-based pH Flow Battery that Recharges with Waste Heat or CO2 Emissions,” focused on developing new types of batteries to store energy.

“My specific research involved a type of battery called a flow battery,” said Fortunato. “The idea is that we could store energy within the solution using a specific set of compounds. That could then be used for electrical energy and the battery could be recharged with either CO2 emissions or waste heat produced from industrial processes.” 

This project is an extension of her broad research focus on harnessing energy. She has recently begun focusing on harnessing energy specifically from pH gradients using redox compounds.

Fortunato chose to attend the conference with the hope of receiving feedback from her colleagues. She was in the middle of presenting to a small crowd when she was told she had won a best poster award.

“I was very surprised and taken aback,” she said. “It was quite an honor to be chosen, so I’m very flattered.”

This experience has motivated Fortunato to present new research next year.

Fortunato was one of four participants that received a best poster award at the meeting. The prize included a certificate and a $500 check. For Fortunato, the positive response was more valuable than a monetary prize.

“This was a big undertaking of a project, and I didn’t know if it would work or how it would be received,” Fortunato said. “So it’s just nice to see all that hard work paid off.”

Last Updated December 12, 2017