David joins the Innovator Fellows from Verne in San Francisco, Calif. With his colleagues, David is tackling a hydrogen storage challenge. Typically, hydrogen is stored as a liquid or as compressed gas making it costly to store and transport. David is developing a new way to store hydrogen in its cryo-compressed state — offering high density storage and lower costs to unlock more applications for hydrogen fuel cells.
For David, Breakthrough Energy’s Innovator Fellows program is a game changer — it gives him and Verne the opportunity to de-risk their core technology and accelerate commercial product development. With fast-tracked de-risking and commercialization, Verne’s technology will rapidly increase the use of fuel cells and hydrogen power in heavy-duty transportation, helping to abate 10% of CO2 emissions.
Despite living in the Bay Area for about five years now, he keeps his Northeastern and Colombian roots close to his heart. David’s first language is Spanish, as he spent the initial eight years of his life in Medellin, Colombia before moving to Greenwich, Connecticut. He received a Bachelor of Arts in chemistry from Harvard University and a Doctor of Philosophy in inorganic and materials chemistry from University of California, Berkeley.
What is your area of expertise? What inspired you to go into this field?
Materials chemistry and hydrogen storage. I’ve been passionate about science since I can remember. Starting in college, my career goal began to crystallize: become an expert and use that skillset to accelerate energy-related technology developments.
What problem is Verne solving for? What are the practical applications of this work?
Heavy-duty transportation is very difficult to decarbonize with batteries that lack energy density. With a more energy-dense fuel and fuel cell technology, we can decarbonize target applications like Class 6 – 8 trucks. What do you hope to achieve through the BE Fellows program that you would not be able to accomplish without it? I hope to 1) lead Verne through a full technology de-risking; 2) establish key customers; 3) become a thought leader in hydrogen technologies, zero-emission transportation, and technology de-risking; and 4) establish an awesome support network focused on cleantech innovation and deployment.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
You don’t discover yourself — you create yourself.
Who has had the greatest impact on your career path?
My dad and mom. I have won the parent lottery.