Abstract Water

Georgia Tech WATER  Lab

WAter, Thermal, and Electrochemical Engineering Research Lab



The Hatzell labs investigates the thermodynamics and interface science of next generation electrochemical technologies for sustainable food, energy and water production.

sun energy with plug connection ready to

Photocatalysis for Food

How will the world produce more food from less land while minimizing waste and energy? With increasing world population, biofuel production, protein rich diets, and decreasing arable land; agricultural productivity has come to the forefront in discussions regarding global hunger. Despite significant advances made in farming and global efforts to mitigate hunger (UN sustainable development goals), the number of people living in hunger continues to increase each year. To address world hunger, current estimates suggest that the production of food over the next 40 years, will need to equal the production of food over last 8000 years. 

Improving agricultural yields requires small scale technologies which are capable of controlling the growing environment and monitoring the health of an individual plant. We are investigating catalytic (photo and electrochemical) approaches to fix nitrogen with light, and are also performing system level analyses to identify chief systems-level bottlenecks (e.g. size, rate, separations etc.).

Image by Ivan Bandura

Electrocatalysis for Water and Energy

With electricity prices decreasing, there is a large need to develop new ways to convert this cheap and carbon free electricity into valuable products. Electrocatalysis provides a route to use electricity to perform catalytic processes which today can only be accomplished using thermal energy which is generated through fossil fuels. Thus, we aim to design and synthesize electrocatalyst which contain a high degree of activity for a desired reaction. Currently, we are exploring catalyst which can be used for environmental remediation (nitrate reduction) and energy production (oxygen reduction and nitrogen reduction).

reverse osmosis plant for desalinating s

Aqueous Phase Separations for Industry and Water

Membrane technologies typically fall into two categories high-flux/low selectivity or low-flux/high selectivity. Both flux and selectivity are largely dictated by the system operating conditions (feed stream and applied pressure) and the size of the membrane pores. Reverse osmosis (RO) membranes provide the highest degree of selectivity (98-99% rejection at ~30-100 bar of pressure), nanofiltration membranes (NF) provide moderate selectivity (90% rejection at 10-30 bar), and ultra-filtration (UF) membranes provide moderate rejection with low lower pressure (10 bar). The energy consumed to desalinate is directly a function of the applied pressure. Thus, typically energy consumption is greatest with RO membranes and the lowest with ultra-filtration. 

From a process intensification point of view, reverse osmosis (RO) could offer an ideal approach to achieve high water recovery while minimizing waste during desalination processes. Yet, RO is typically not able to withstand extreme conditions. Examples of extreme conditions include, but are not limited to elevated pressure and pH. The ability to withstand high pressures is essential for the treatment of  high concentration solutions (e.g. brines). In addition, the ability to withstand a broader range of pH would allow membrane processes to be used in various industrial processes which today rely on thermal distillation (e.g. black liquor treatment). Ultimately, it is widely understood that next generation robust membranes are critical to meet water demands while minimizing energy usage. However, advances in membrane properties must be achieved in order for this goal to be realized. 

Aerial view of a modern concentrated sol

Sustainable Systems

In order to reduce capital costs of concentrated solar power (CSP) plants by 50% and achieve the goals set by the DOE, the performance of each material must be improved  and the manufacturing costs of each component must be decreased.  We believe  that both of these aims can be met if thermal transport properties of particulate packed-bed reactors and heat transfer media (HTM) can be mapped with a high degree of accuracy under thermally relevant conditions.  Moving packed-bed heat exchangers could replace fluidized-bed heat exchangers, which require expensive pumps and recuperators.  However, in order for this manufacturing cost reduction to occur, the packed-bed reactors must achieve similar heat transfer performance.  In addition, particulate HTM may allow for cost reduction through promoting greater thermal energy storage (TES) and lifetime.  In order for these cost reductions to occur, however, particulate heat transfer dynamics must be understood.  To date, very few experimental and theoretical investigations have been able to map the thermal transport properties of these packed-beds.  We are beginning to address this challenge through the use of in-situ x-ray based tomography, which can map the structural interactions between particles. These images can then be use to model heat transfer processes along the percolation network, and ultimately to extract thermal transport properties.


Published Work

Dixit, M. B., Zaman, W., Bootwala, Y., Zheng, Y., Hatzell, M. C., & Hatzell, K. B. (2019). Scalable manufacturing of hybrid solid electrolytes with interface control. ACS applied materials & interfaces, 11(48), 45087-45097.

Daniel Moreno Marta C. Hatzell. Efficiency of Thermally Assisted Capacitive Mixing and Deionization Systems. ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering (2019).

Liu, Yu-Hsuan, Manh-Hiep Vu, JeongHoon Lim, Trong-On Do, and Marta C. Hatzell. Influence of Carbonaceous Species on Aqueous Photo-catalytic Nitrogen Fixation by Titania. Faraday Discussions (2019).

Comer, Benjamin M., Porfirio Fuentes, Christian O. Dimkpa, Yu-Hsuan Liu, Carlos A. Fernandez, Pratham Arora, Matthew Realff, Upendra Singh, Marta C. Hatzell, and Andrew J. Medford. Prospects and Challenges for Solar Fertilizers. Joule (2019).

Dixit, M. B., Moreno, D., Xiao, X., Hatzell, M. C., & Hatzell, K. B. Mapping Charge Percolation in Flowable Electrodes Used in Capacitive Deionization. ACS Materials Letters (2019).

Andrey Gunawan, Richard Simmons, Megan W. Haynes, Daniel Moreno, Akanksha Menon, Marta C. Hatzell and  Shannon Yee. "Techno-economic Comparison of Cogeneration Systems with Concentrated Solar Desalination and Power Operated with Rankine and Brayton Cycles." Journal of Solar Energy Engineering (2019).

Comer, Benjamin M., Yu-Hsuan Liu, Marm B. Dixit, Kelsey Hatzell, Yifan Ye, Ethan J. Crumlin, Marta C. Hatzell, and Andrew J. Medford. "The Role of Adventitious Carbon on Photocatalytic Nitrogen Fixation by Titania." Journal of the American Chemical Society (2018).

Daniel Moreno, Yousuf Bootwala, Wan-Yu Tsai, Qiang Gao, Fengyu Shen, Nina Balke, Kelsey Hatzell, and Marta c. Hatzell  "In Situ Electrochemical Dilatometry of Phosphate Anion Electrosorption." ES&T Letters (2018).

Daniel Moreno and Marta C. Hatzell. "Efficiency of Carnot and Conventional Capacitive Deionization Cycles." Journal of Physical Chemistry C (2018).

Daniel Moreno and Marta C. Hatzell. "The influence of feed-electrode concentration differences in flow-electrode systems for capacitive deionization." Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research (2018).

Song, Y., D. Johnson, R. Peng, D.K. Hensley, P.V. Bonnesen, L. Liang, J. Huang, F. Yang, F. Zhang, R. Qiao, A.P. Baddorf, T.J. Tschaplinski, N.L. Engle, M.C. Hatzell, Z. Wu, D.A. Cullen, H.M. Meyer, B.G. Sumpter, and A.J. Rondinone, A physical catalyst for the electrolysis of nitrogen to ammonia. Science Advances, 2018. 4(4).e1700336.

Hatzell, M. and Hatzell, K., Blue Refrigeration: Electrochemical Separations for Water Deionization. Journal of Electrochemical Energy Conversion and Storage. (2018)15 (1). ASME Young Investigator!

Zhang, Jiankai, Kelsey B. Hatzell, and Marta Hatzell. "A combined heat and power driven membrane capacitive deionization system." Environmental Science & Technology Letters (2017) 4 (11), pp 470–474.- ACS Editors Pick!

Biesheuvel, P.M., Bazant, M.Z., Cusick, R.D., Hatton, T.A., Hatzell, K.B., Hatzell, M.C., Liang, P., Lin, S., Porada, S., Santiago, J.G. and Smith, K.C., 2017. Capacitive Deionization--defining a class of desalination technologies. arXiv preprint arXiv:1709.05925.

Andrew J. Medford and Marta C. Hatzell. Photon-driven Nitrogen Fixation: Current Progress, Thermodynamic Considerations, and Future Outlook.  ACS Catalysis, 2017,7 (4), pp 2624–2643.

Nazemi, Mohammadreza, James Padgett and Marta C. Hatzell. Acid/Base Multi-Ion Exchange Membrane-Based Electrolysis System for Water Splitting.  Energy Technology, 2017,5,1–4 .

Bharadwaj, N. Ashwin K., Jin Gu Kang, Marta C. Hatzell, Kenneth S. Schweizer, Paul V. Braun, and Randy Ewoldt. Integration of colloids into a semi-flexible network of fibrin. Soft Matter (2017).

Nazemi M, Zhang J, Hatzell MC. Harvesting Natural Salinity Gradient Energy for Hydrogen Production Through Reverse Electrodialysis  Power Generation. ASME. J. Electrochem. En. Conv. Stor.. 2017. 

Wallack, M. J., Geise, G. M., Hatzell, M. C., Hickner, M. A., & Logan, B. E. (2015). Reducing nitrogen crossover in microbial reverse-electrodialysis cells by using adjacent anion exchange membranes and anion exchange resin. Environmental Science: Water Research & Technology, 1(6), 865-873.

Hatzell, Kelsey B., Marta C. Hatzell, Kevin M. Cook, Muhammad Boota, Gabrielle M. Housel, Alexander McBride, E. Caglan Kumbur, and Yury Gogotsi. "Effect of oxidation of carbon material on suspension electrodes for flow electrode capacitive deionization." Environmental science & technology 49, no. 5 (2015): 3040-3047.

M. C. Hatzell, K.B. Hatzell B.E. Logan, "Using flow electrodes in multiple reactors in series for continuous energy generation from capacitive mixing" Environmental Science and Technologies Letters, 1 (12), 474-479 (2014). 

M. C. Hatzell, M. Raju, V.J. Watson, A.G. Stack, A.C.T. van Duin and B. E. Logan, "Effect of Strong Acid Functional Groups on Electrode Rise Potential in Capacitive Mixing by Double Layer Expansion", Environmental Science and Technology, 48 (23), 1401-14048 (2014).

M. C. Hatzell, X. Zhu, and B. E. Logan, "Simultaneous hydrogen generation and waste acid neutralization in a Reverse Electrodialysis System," ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering, 2 (9), 2211–2216 (2014).

X. Zhu, W. Yang, M. C. Hatzell, and B. E. Logan, "Energy recovery from solutions with different salinities based on swelling and shrinking of hydrogels" Environmental Science and Technology, 48 (12), 7157-7163 (2014).

X. Zhu, M. C. Hatzell, and B. E. Logan, Microbial Reverse-Electrodialysis Electrolysis and Chemical-Production Cell for H2 Production and CO2 Sequestration, Environmental Science and Technology Letters  1 (4), 231–235 (2014).

F. Zhang, J.Liu, I. Ivanov, M.C. Hatzell, W. Yang, Y.Ahn, B.E. Logan, Reference Electrode Placement Affects the Accuracy of Measurement in Microbial Electrochemical Systems, Biotechnology and Bioengineering 111 (10), 1931-1939 (2014).

M. C. Hatzell, R. D. Cusick, and B. E. Logan, Capacitive Mixing Power Production from Salinity Gradient Energy Enhanced through Exoelectrogen-Generated Ionic Currents, Energy and Environmental Science, Energy Environmental Science 7 (3), 1159-1165 (2014).

M. C. Hatzell, I.Ivanov, R. D. Cusick, X. Zhu, and B. E. Logan, Comparison of Hydrogen Production and Electrical Power Generation for energy Capture in Closed-Loop Ammonium Bicarbonate Reverse Electrodialysis Systems, Physical Chemistry and Chemical Physics, 16 (4), 1632–1638 (2014).

X. Zhu, M.D. Yates, M. C. Hatzell, H.A. Rao, P.E. Saikaly, and B. E. Logan, Microbial community composition is unaffected by anode potential. Environmental Science and Technology,48 (2), 1452-1358 (2014).

R. D. Cusick, M. C. Hatzell, F. Zhang, and B. E. Logan, Minimal RED cell pairs markedly improve electrode kinetics and power production in microbial reverse electrodialysis  cells, Environmental Science and Technology, 47(24), 14518-14524 (2013).

G. M. Geise, A. J. Curtis, M. C. Hatzell, M. A. Hickner, and B. E. Logan, Effect of salt concentration differences on membrane and reverse electrodialysis stack ionic resistances, Environmental Science and Technology Letters, 1 (1), 36-39 (2013).

M. C. Hatzell and B. E. Logan, Evaluation of Flow Fields on Bubble Removal and System Performance in an Ammonium Bicarbonate Reverse Electrodialysis Stack, Journal of Membrane Science, 446, 449-455 (2013).

X. Zhu, M. C. Hatzell, R. D. Cusick, and B. E. Logan, Microbial reverse-electrodialysis chemical-production cell for acid and alkali production, Electrochemistry Communications, 31, 52-55 (2013).

M. C. Hatzell, Y. Kim, and B. E. Logan, Powering microbial electrolysis cells by capacitor circuits charged using microbial fuel cell, Journal of Power Sources, 229, 198-202 (2013).

Y. Kim, M. C. Hatzell, A. J. Hutchinson, and B. E. Logan, Capturing power at higher voltages from arrays of microbial fuel cells without voltage reversal, Energy and Environmental Science, 4 (11), 4662-4667, (2011).

M. C. Hatzell, A. Turhan, S. Kim, D. Hussey, D. Jacobson, and M. Mench, Quantification of temperature driven flow in a polymer electrolyte fuel cell using high-resolution neutron radiography, Journal of the Electrochemical Society, 158, (6) B717-B726 (2011).

M.P. Manahan, M.C. Hatzell, E. Kumbur, M.M. Mench, Laser perforated fuel cell diffusion media. Part 1: Related changes in performance and water content, Journal of Power Sources, 196 (13), 5573-5582, (2011).

Manahan M, Hatzell M, Srouji A, Chidiac N, Goldberger B, Peck N, et al. International hydrogen association for hydrogen energy design competition applied topic A: Portable fuel cell. Elsevier; 2011.

A. Turhan, S. Kim, M.C. Hatzell, and M. M. Mench, Impact of channel wall hydrophobicity on through-plane water distribution and flooding behavior in a polymer electrolyte fuel cell, Electrochimica Acta, 55 (8), 2734-2745 (2010).



Yousuf Bootwala

PhD Student in Mechanical Engineering

Annamarie Eustice

BS student in Environmental Engineering

Carlos A. Fernandez

MS Student in Mechanical Engineering

Rodrigo Caceres Gonzalez

PhD student in Mechanical Engineering

JeongHoon Lim

PhD student in Mechanical Engineering

Yu-Hsuan (Carol) Liu

PhD student in Environmental Engineering

Johanna Tomkiewicz

MS Student in Mechancial Engineering


Mechanical, Environmental and Chemical Engineer

Sai Varanasi

BS  student in Mechanical Engineering

Madeline Garell

PhD student in Mechanical Engineering


2019 - Hatzell Lab

Daniels Graduation -2019

Daniel's Graduation Dinner

Daniel Wins ASME Competition

JeongHoon Wins Global Top TAlent from Hyundai

Science-Art-Wonder - 2019

Hatzell Lab - 2018

Visit to IFDC 2017

Hatzell Lab - 2017

2017 Capstone Design

Hatzell Lab Photo Album


Contact Us

771 Ferst Drive NW

Love Bldg - Room 316
Atlanta, GA 30332


  • Twitter
Scientist on Computer

©2019 by Hatzell Lab @ Georgia Tech.