Daniel Esposito


Tel(212) 854-2648
Fax(212) 854-3054

Daniel Esposito’s Solar Fuels Engineering Laboratory develops solar and electrochemical technologies that convert renewable and abundant solar energy into storable chemical fuels. 

Research Interests

Solar fuels, electrocatalysis, photoelectrochemistry, electrolyzers, fuel cells, buried interfaces, and in-situ analytical techniques for studying electrochemical systems

His lab’s research is motivated by a sustainable energy future in which sunlight is used to convert low energy molecules such as water into storable chemical fuels such as hydrogen. These solar-generated fuels are often referred to as “solar fuels,” which offer an attractive means of storing solar energy and thereby overcome the issue of solar intermittency. Fuels also have the advantage of being versatile, meaning that they can be used for a wide variety of applications across transportation, industrial, residential, and commercial energy sectors. In the Solar Fuels Engineering Lab, the overarching goals are: (1) to develop novel materials and devices that can more efficiently and cost-effectively produce solar fuels than today’s state-of-the-art technology, and (2) to help equip the next generation of engineers with the skills they will need to engineer a sustainable energy future.

Esposito’s research group works at the intersections of catalysis, photovoltaics, materials science, and electrochemical engineering. By using advanced analytical techniques to study well-defined materials and electrodes, they seek to develop a deeper understanding of the fundamental chemical and physical phenomena that underlie the operation of solar and electrocatalytic technologies. Especially important to this research are scanning probe microscopy techniques, which are used to measure micro- and nano-scale spatial variation in the properties and performance of (photo)electrocatalytic materials while they are operating in the electrochemical environment. This materials-centric research is strongly complemented by efforts to design scalable photoelectrochemical (PEC) and photovoltaic (PV) electrolysis reactors, devices that convert sunlight or solar-generated electricity into solar fuels.  The group’s research in this second area relies on emerging 3D printing fabrication capabilities, modeling, and high speed video imaging to guide the design of innovative device concepts.

Esposito joined the Chemical Engineering Department at Columbia Engineering in 2014. Prior to that, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in the National Research Council Fellowship Program. He received his BS in chemical engineering in 2006 from Lehigh University and a PhD in chemical engineering in 2012 from the University of Delaware.

Research Experience

  • Postdoctoral Fellow, National Institute of Standards and Technology, National Research Council (NRC) Fellowship Program, 2011 – 2014

Professional Experience

  • Associate Professor, Columbia University, New York, NY, 2019–present
  • Assistant Professor, Columbia University, New York, NY, 2014–2018
  • NRC Postdoctoral research fellow, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, 2011-2014


  • American Institute of Chemical Engineers
  • Electrochemical Society
  • American Chemical Society
  • Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society

Honors & Awards

Selected Publications

  • D.V. Esposito, “Membrane Coated Electrocatalysts—an Alternative Approach to Achieving Stable and Tunable Electrocatalysis“, ACS Catalysis, vol. 8, 457–465, 2018. Download here.
  • D.V. Esposito, “Membraneless Electrolyzers for Low-Cost Hydrogen Production in a Renewable Energy Future”. Joule, vol. 1, 1-8, 2017. Download here.
  • G.D. O’Neil, H. Kuo, D. Lomax, J. Wright, D.V. Esposito, “Scanning Electrochemical Microscopy: Beyond the Point Probe”, Analytical Chemistry, 90 (19), pp 11531–11537, 2018. Download here.
  • OO. Talabi, A.E. Dorfi, G.D. O’Neil, D.V. Esposito, “Membraneless Electrolyzers for the Simultaneous Production of Acid and Base”. Chemical Communications, 53, 8006-8009 2017. Part of the 2017 Emerging Investigators Issue. Download here.
  • N. Y. Labrador, X. Li, Y. Liu, J. T. Koberstein, R. Wang, H. Tan, T. P. Moffat, and D. V. Esposito, “Enhanced Performance of Si MIS Photocathodes Containing Oxide-Coated Nanoparticle Electrocatalysts” , Nano Letters, vol. 16, 6452-6459, 2016. Download here.
  • D.V. Esposito, J.B. Baxter, J. John, N.S. Lewis, T.P. Moffat, T. Ogitsu, G.D. O’Neil, T.A. Pham, A.A. Talin, J.M. Velazquez, B.C. Wood. “Methods of Photoelectrode Characterization with High Spatial and Temporal Resolution.” Energy & Environmental Science, vol. 8, 2863-2885, 2015. Download here.

See our group website for the most up-to-date listing.