Nico Hotz


Associate Professor of the Practice in the Thomas Lord Department of Mechanical Engineering and 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

  • Associate Professor of the Practice in the Thomas Lord Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science
  • Associate of the Duke Initiative for Science & Society

Contact Information

  • Office Location: 303 Hudson Hall, Mems Department, Durham, NC 27708
  • Office Phone: +1 919 660 5118
  • Email Address:
  • Websites:


  • Ph.D. Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (Switzerland), 2008

Research Interests

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.

Awards, Honors, and Distinctions

  • Excellence in Teaching Award. Pratt School of Engineering. 2015
  • Alfred M. Hunt Faculty Scholar. Pratt School of Engineering. 2014
  • New Investigator Award. North Carolina Space Grant. 2013
  • 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
  • Georg A. Fischer Award 2009. ETH Zurich. 2009
  • Fellowship for Prospective Research. Swiss National Science Foundation. 2009

Courses Taught

  • ME 536: Compressible Fluid Flow
  • ME 494: Engineering Undergraduate Fellows Projects
  • ME 493: Engineering Undergraduate Fellows Projects
  • ME 492: Special Projects in Mechanical Engineering
  • ME 491: Special Projects in Mechanical Engineering
  • ME 431L: Heat and Mass Transfer
  • ME 424L: Mechanical Systems Design
  • ME 421L: Mechanical Design
  • ME 394: Engineering Undergraduate Fellows Projects
  • FOCUS 195FS: Special Topics in Focus
  • EGR 95FS: First Year seminar in Focus
  • EGR 393: Research Projects in Engineering

In the News

Representative Publications

  • Divilov, S; Eckert, H; Toher, C; Friedrich, R; Zettel, AC; Brenner, DW; Fahrenholtz, WG; Wolfe, DE; Zurek, E; Maria, JP; Hotz, N; Campilongo, X; Curtarolo, S, A priori procedure to establish spinodal decomposition in alloys, Acta Materialia, vol 266 (2024) [10.1016/j.actamat.2024.119667] [abs].
  • Young, AH; Hotz, N; Hawkins, BT; Kabala, ZJ, Inducing Deep Sweeps and Vortex Ejections on Patterned Membrane Surfaces to Mitigate Surface Fouling., Membranes, vol 14 no. 1 (2024) [10.3390/membranes14010021] [abs].
  • Grady, P; Chen, G; Verma, S; Marellapudi, A; Hotz, N, A study of energy losses in the world's most fuel efficient vehicle, 2019 IEEE Vehicle Power and Propulsion Conference, VPPC 2019 - Proceedings (2019) [10.1109/VPPC46532.2019.8952212] [abs].
  • Myers, T; Schoebitz, L; Woolley, S; Sanchez Ferragut, J; Thostenson, J; Jooss, K; Piascik, J; Frechette, A; Hotz, N; Stoner, BR; Hallowell, J, Towards an off-grid fecal sludge treatment unit: demonstrating energy positive thermal treatment., Gates open research, vol 3 (2019) [10.12688/gatesopenres.12929.1] [abs].
  • 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].