Robin Rice, a graduate student in the Materials Science Master’s Program, was awarded funding through the Clean Energy Fund for a project that support students’ vision of the University of Vermont running on clean, locally produced renewable energy.

Robin Rice
Materials Science Master’s Program, University of Vermont Graduate College

Robin Rice is a Master’s Student in the Materials Science department at UVM. Robin came to Burlington from Takoma Park, MD to complete his BS in Environmental Science where he developed a passion for Battery Electrochemistry and Organic Photovoltaics during his work for Dr. Adam Whalley and Dr. Matthew White. Having an abundance of interests throughout high school and college, Robin realized his true passion lay in understanding how processes and properties at the smallest level enact tangible consequences in the observable world, such as how charge carrying molecules in photosynthesis may be isolated and used as electrolytes in an organic flow battery, which then has “growable” organic components. See Rhubarb Battery at Harvard.

His current work includes the organic synthesis and physical characterization of Small-Molecule Organic Photovoltaics, which reduce photovoltaic cost, as well as the environmental impact of gathering their required materials. Organic Photovoltaics also allow flexible, lighter-weight photovoltaic design optimal for flexible solar arrays. These are especially relevant in space applications where volume and mass come at a premium. See ROSA demonstrated on the ISS in 2017.

Robin hopes to continue working in the renewable field once he graduates to push the boundaries of photovoltaic and battery storage research. When he isn’t working on his research, Robin is busy cooking, building bicycles, and building an electric moped to replace ~80% of the trips he takes in his car to reduce his carbon footprint. Robin has also found a passion for teaching in his first semester as a TA and hopes to continue spreading an appreciation for Physics throughout his degree.


Hannah Helme