Nico Hotz

Nico Hotz

Assistant Professor of the Practice in the Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science

Nico Hotz specializes in interfacial transport phenomena and thermodynamics in energy technology. His research focuses on heat, mass, and charge transfer on nano-scale surfaces for solar thermal applications, catalytic fuel reforming, hydrogen generation, fuel cells, and electrolysis.

Appointments and Affiliations

  • Assistant Professor of the Practice in the Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science
  • Faculty Network Member of The Energy Initiative

Contact Information

  • Office Location: 303 Hudson Hall, Mems Department, Durham, NC 27708
  • Office Phone: (919) 660-5118
  • Email Address:
  • Websites:


  • Ph.D. Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, 2008

Research Interests

My research interests are in the area of interfacial transport phenomena and thermodynamics in energy technology including phenomena at the micro- and nanoscale. Thermodynamics aspects of photovoltaics, novel sustainable energy conversion technologies, and chemical reactions are an essential part of my research. My main focus in research is the combination of ideas, insights and results from traditional energy technology such as thermal power plants with novel and innovative technologies such a fuel cells and photovoltaic cells based on micro- and nanostructured materials. An essential topi of my research interests is the energetic and exergetic analysis of complex energy conversion and storage systems, especially including renewable and sustainable energy solutions.


Alternative Energy
Heat and mass transfer
Solar Energy Materials

Awards, Honors, and Distinctions

  • Excellence in Teaching Award. Pratt School of Engineering. 2015
  • Alfred M. Hunt Faculty Scholar. Pratt School of Engineering. 2014
  • 2013 New Investigator Award . North Carolina Space Grant. 2013
  • 2012 Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award . Oak Ridge Associated Universities. 2012
  • Best Paper Award in the ASME Energy Sustainability Conference 2010. Advanced Energy Systems Division of ASME . 2011
  • Fellowship for Prospective Research 2009. Swiss National Science Foundation. 2009
  • Georg A. Fischer Award 2009 . ETH Zurich. 2009

In the News

Representative Publications

  • Real, D; Dumanyan, I; Hotz, N, Renewable hydrogen production by solar-powered methanol reforming, International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, vol 41 no. 28 (2016), pp. 11914-11924 [10.1016/j.ijhydene.2016.02.086] [abs].
  • Hotz, N, Hierarchical nanostructures for fuel cells and fuel reforming, vol 2015-January (2015), pp. 84-106 [abs].
  • Real, D; Dumanyan, I; Hotz, N, Hydrogen production by solar-powered methanol reforming (2015) [abs].
  • Shodiya, T; Barnes, J; Xiong, G; Dumanyan, I; Ngo, H; Fales, A; VoDinh, T; Hotz, N, Plasmon-assisted photothermal catalytic reactor for hydrogen generation, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of USA (2015) [abs].
  • Lim, EO; Visutipol, T; Schicho, A; Peng, W; Hotz, N, Flame-made nanoparticles for catalytic methanol steam reforming (2015) [abs].