Adam Holewinski

Adam Holewinski
Assistant Professor • Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute Fellow

Office: SEEC N332


BSE, University of Michigan (2007)
PhD, University of Michigan (2013)
Postdoctoral Research, Georgia Tech (2014-15)


  • Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering Graduate Teaching Award (2015)
  • Michigan Catalysis Society Annual Symposium Top Student Presentation Award (2013)
  • AIChE Catalysis and Reaction Engineering Division Poster Award (2010)

Selected Publications                                       

  • Holewinski, A., Sakwa-Novak, M., and Jones, C. W. “Linking CO2 Sorption Performance to Polymer Morphology in Aminopolymer/Silica Composites through Neutron Scattering” Journal of The American Chemical Society, (2015). 137, 11749-11759.
  • Holewinski, A., Idrobo, J-C., and Linic, S. "High performance Ag-Co alloy catalysts for electrochemical oxygen reduction." Nature Chemistry, (2014). 6, 828-834.
  • Holewinski, A., Xin, H., Nikolla, E., and Linic, S. “Identifying optimal active sites for heterogeneous catalysis by metal alloys based on molecular descriptors and electronic structure engineering.” Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering, (2013). 2, 312-319.
  • Holewinski, A., and Linic, S. “Elementary mechanisms  in electrocatalysis: Revisiting the ORR Tafel slope.” Journal of the Electrochemical Society, (2012). 159, H864-H870.
  • Xin, H., Holewinski, A., and Linic, S. “Predictive structure-reactivity models for rapid screening of Pt-based multimetallic electrocatalysts for the oxygen reduction reaction” ACS Catalysis, (2012). 2, 12-16. (Cover Article)
  • Xin, H., Holewinski, A., Schweitzer, N., Nikolla, E., and Linic, S. “Electronic structure engineering in heterogeneous catalysis: Identifying novel alloy catalysts based on rapid screening for materials with desired electronic properties” Topics in Catalysis, (2012). 55, 376.
  • Nikolla, E., Holewinski, A., Schwank, J., and Linic, S. "Controlling carbon surface chemistry by alloying: carbon tolerant reforming catalyst." Journal of The American Chemical Society, (2006). 35, 11354-11355.

Research Interests

Catalysis for sustainability

     Our group is focused on efficient, renewable, and environmentally benign catalytic processes for the production of energy, as well as commodity and fine chemicals. We have particular interest in electrochemical routes—i.e. the direct interconversion between electrical energy and the energy of chemical bonds. These processes are particularly suited to utilize power from renewables like wind and solar and can generally operate at higher efficiency and in numerous cases also provide access to different product selectivity than their thermochemical counterparts. Emphasis is placed on fundamental characterization of interactions between molecules and (electro)catalytic surfaces to understand reaction mechanisms for the design and optimization of next-generation catalysts.

Technologies and techniques

     We are primarily interested in reactions that may be performed in fuel cells, batteries, electrolyzers, and electrochemical sensors. Broadly, our approach is to employ molecular-level insights from detailed kinetic analysis, quantum chemical calculations, and spectroscopic observations of reactive species and catalyst structures to discern the chemistry and physics relevant to catalyst performance. These insights enable informed, targeted catalyst synthesis strategies to attain ideal structures and compositions that facilitate desirable transformations.

Project areas include:

  • Development of reversible air-electrodes for lithium-air batteries
  • Efficient electro-oxidation of small organics for low temperature fuel cells
  • Potential-modulated selectivity control for targeted functional group transformations in chemical synthesis.
  • Electrocatalytic CO2 reduction to fuels and chemicals