Adam Holewinski
Assistant Professor • Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute Fellow
Chemical and Biological Engineering • Materials Science and Engineering Program

Office: SEEC N332
Mailbox: 027 UCB


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



  • CU Boulder Provost’s Faculty Achievement Award (2022)
  • CU College of Engineering Dean’s Performance Award -- Outstanding Junior Faculty (2022)
  • Class of Influential Researchers: Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research (2020)
  • NSF CAREER Award (2019)
  • Outstanding Graduate Teaching Faculty Award, ChBE Dept., CU Boulder (2016)


Selected Publications

  • Spivey, T., and Holewinski, A., Selective interactions between free-atom-like d-states in single-atom-alloy catalysts and near-frontier molecular orbitals. Journal of The American Chemical Society, (2021). 143, 11897-11902.
  • Lucas, F. W. S., Grim, G., Hasse. J, Downes, C. Roman, A., Tacey, S., Farberow, C., Schaidle, J. & Holewinski, A. “Electrochemical routes for the valorization of biomass-derived feedstocks: From chemistry to application.” ACS Energy Letters (2021). 6, 1205-1270.
  • Delluva, A. A., Kulberg-Savercool, J.  Holewinski, A. Decomposition of trace Li2CO3 at high charging potentials leads to cathode interface degradation with the solid electrolyte LLZO. Advanced Functional Materials (2021) 2103716.
  • Baz, A., and Holewinski, A., Predicting macro-kinetic observables with generalized degrees of rate control in electrocatalysis Journal of Catalysis (2021) 397, 233-244.
  • Roman, A., Hasse, J. Agrawal, N., Janik, M.J., Medlin, J. W. & Holewinski, A. “Electro-oxidation of furfural on gold is limited by fuorate self assembly” Journal of Catalysis (2020). 391, 327-335.
  • Delluva, A., Dudoff, J., Teeter, G., & Holewinski, A. “Cathode interface compatibility of amorphous LiMn2O4 (LMO) and Li7La3Zr2O12 (LLZO) characterized with thin film electrochemical cells” ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces (2020) 12, 24992-24999.
  • Baz, A., & Holewinski, A. “Understanding the interplay of bifunctional and electronic effects: Microkinetic modeling of the CO electrooxidation reaction” Journal of Catalysis (2020). 384 1-13.
  • Roman, A., Hasse, J. Medlin, J. W. & Holewinski, A. “Elucidating Acidic Electro-Oxidation Pathways of Furfural on Platinum.” ACS Catalysis (2019). 9, 10305-10316.
  • Roman, R., Dudoff, J., Baz, A., Holewinski, A. “Identifying 'Optimal' Electrocatalysts: Impact of Operating Potential and Charge Transfer Model” ACS Catalysis (2017). 7, 8641-8652.
  • 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.

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