Dr. Engtrakul received his Ph.D. under the direction of Prof. Lawrence Sita. His doctoral work focused on the synthesis and electrochemical characterization of self-assembled monolayers of molecular assemblies on electrode surfaces.

After graduating, Chai began working at NREL as a postdoctoral researcher in the Nanostructured Materials Group with Dr. Michael Heben to develop new carbon nanotube-based materials for application in renewable energy technologies. He is a senior scientist at NREL conducting research on the deposition and characterization of new thin-film materials for energy efficiency and storage applications. In addition, he is investigating the production and processing of advanced biofuels in collaboration with researchers in the NREL National Bioenergy Center.


“Ternary Nickel Oxide Materials for Electrochromic Devices.”  U.S. Patent (No. US 8,995,041 B2).

Research Interests

Physical vapor deposition of thin-film materials

Surface and interface science

Electrochemical and physicochemical properties of storage systems

Biomass conversion to fuels and chemicals


Ph.D. Inorganic/Materials Chemistry, University of Maryland, College Park

B.S. Chemistry, Gettysburg College

Featured Work

M.Z. Hu, C. Engtrakul, B.L. Bischoff, G.G. Jang, T.J. Theiss, M.F. Davis (2017). “Superhydrophobic and Superhydrophilic Surface-Enhanced Separation Performance of Porous Inorganic Membranes for Biomass-to-Biofuel Conversion Applications.” Separ. Sci. Technol., 53, 528–543.

C. Engtrakul, M.Z. Hu, B.L. Bischoff, G.G. Jang (2016). “Surface-Enhanced Separation of Water from Hydrocarbons: Potential Dewatering Membranes for the Catalytic Fast Pyrolysis of Pine Biomass.” Energy Fuels, 30, 8343–8348.

C. Engtrakul, C. Mukarakate, A.K. Starace, K.A. Magrini, A.K. Rogers, M.M. Yung (2016). “Effect of ZSM-5 Acidity on Aromatic Product Selectivity During Upgrading of Pine Pyrolysis Vapors.” Catal. Today, 269, 175–181.

F. Lin, D. Nordlund, T.-C. Weng, R.G. Moore, D.T. Gillaspie, K.M. Jones, A.C. Dillon, R.M. Richards, C. Engtrakul (2015). “Solid-State Conversion Reaction to Enhance Charge Transfer in Electrochromic Materials.” Adv. Mater. Interfaces, 2, 1400523.

F. Lin, J.B. Bult, S. Nanayakkara, A.C. Dillon, R.M. Richards, J.L. Blackburn, C. Engtrakul (2015). “Graphene as an Efficient Interfacial Layer for Electrochromic Devices.” ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, 7, 11330–11336.

F. Lin, D. Nordlund, T.-C. Weng, D. Sokaras, K.M. Jones, R.B. Reed, D.T. Gillaspie, D.G.J. Weir, R.G. Moore, A.C. Dillon, R.M. Richards, C. Engtrakul. (2013). “Origin of Electrochromism in High-Performing Nanocomposite Nickel Oxide.” ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, 5, 3643–3649.