Gao Liu

Gao Liu

Leader: Applied Energy Materials Group
Principal Investigator: Liu Lab
Chemist Senior Scientist/Engineer


Materials and assembly for Lithium-ion chemistry has been a practical and intriguing field to study. The development of materials for energy applications requires mastery of material chemistry, as well as in-depth knowledge of system requirements, and my laboratory combines synthetic chemistry, composite engineering and electrochemistry to solve interdisciplinary problems. My lab’s current research in battery and energy storage includes silicon materials and electrode binders for advanced lithium-ion battery, lithium-sulfur battery, solid-state battery, and electrode interfaces. One focus of our research is to synthesize new materials and develop new assembly approaches to improve the energy density, increase life, and lower the cost of  lithium-ion batteries for vehicular applications. My lab also performs research in hydrogen generation, plastic recycling, and advanced manufacturing.

Research Interests

  • Lithium-ion rechargeable battery: advanced electrode design and formulation, silicon-based anode materials, electrode binder design and synthesis, electrolyte and additives

  • Lithium-sulfur battery: advanced sulfur electrode design, novel amphiphilic electrolyte and lithium metal anode protections 

  • Solid-state rechargeable battery: novel composite ion conductor and cathode electrode design, and scalable processing

  • Circular economy: environmentally friendly up-recycling of polymeric materials

  • Materials for climate resilience: smart materials to mitigate human suffering of extreme heat, flooding and forest fires

  • Biocompatible materials and biologically-inspired materials

  • Expertise in organic and polymer synthesis, and polymer composite technology: development of new polymers, composite materials and structures; study structure-function relationship between materials and interfaces to understand their fundamental properties in systems; application of broad-based knowledge of the composite system to improve the energy and materials performance in the field

Professional Experience

  • 2021-present: Senior Scientist, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

  • 2015-present: Group Leader, Applied Energy Materials Group, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

  • 2010-2021: Staff Scientist, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

  • 2004-present: Principal Investigator, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

  • 2003-2010: Research Scientist, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

  • 2001-2003: Postdoctoral Fellow, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Media Coverage

  • Seeing ‘Under the Hood’ in Batteries, Science Daily, SciTechDaily, Newswise and Newsdesk and a few other news media highlight Dr. Liu’s collaborative work with Dr. Wangli Yang. 2020
  • Material Discovery Makes Lithium-Sulfur Batteries More Sustainable, LBNL Energy Technology Area highlights Dr. Liu’s collaborative work with Dr. Robert Kostecki, 2020
  • A Seaweed Derivative Could Be Just What Lithium-Sulfur Batteries Need, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory homepage and newsletters highlighted Dr. Liu’s recent work on Li-S battery. Many news media outlets covered this report2, 2017
  • New binders lead to better batteries for electric vehicles Citing Dr. Liu’s expert opinion on battery materials, C&EN magazine, The ACS news magazine, 2017
  • Energy Focus: Ultrathin protecting layer enhances lithium-sulfur battery stability Citing Dr. Liu’s expert opinion on Li-S battery, MRS Bulletin, The MRS news magazine, 2017
  • This Silicon Valley startup is headed to China to make its batteries Citing Dr. Liu’s expert opinion on battery materials, Fortune Magazine, 2015
  • The Search for Better Batteries, Innovation magazine, 2015
  • Silicon Binder-Boosted Batteries, R&D Magazine, 2013
  • Smartphone Batteries: When Will They Last Longer? Cited Dr. Liu’s technology and expert opinion. The BBC News, 2012
  • Polymers with Tailored Electronic Structure for High Capacity Lithium Battery Electrodes Liu’s research work was widely reported in Chemistry Times, PhysOrg, Science News, Green Car Congress, Materials Today, Materialsgate, Media Newswire, Nano Patents and Innovations, Nowa, Sciencenewsline Physics & Chemistry, Chemeurope, Physics Inventions, Innovation Toronto and several other news outlets, 2011
  • A Business Plan for America’s Energy Future highlighted Dr. Liu’s research work. This document was submitted to The White House (U.S. President Office) by American Energy Innovation Council, 2009
  • High Performance Lithium Battery Anodes Using Silicon Nanowires Liu’s collaborative work with Professor Yi Cui at Stanford University was widely reported in Yahoo! Tech News, MIT Technology Review, ScienceNOW, RSC, Stanford Report, and several other news outlets, 2008
  • Need for Battery Power Runs Into Basic Hurdles of Science cited Dr. Liu’s expert opinion. The New York Times, 2006

Conference Organization

  • Initiator and organizer, Distinguished Lecture Series for the Electrochemical Society, San Francisco Section, 2020

  • Member of the organization committee, Beyond Lithium-Ion conferences, 2011-present

  • Co-organizer, Energy Technology Area Seminar Series, University of California Berkeley  Mechanical Engineering Department in collaboration with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA, USA, 2016-2019

  • Chair, 3rd Bay Area Battery Summit, Berkeley, CA, USA, October, 2018

  • Co-Chair, The 3rd International Symposium on Renewable Energy Technologies, Goldcoast, Australia, June 2018

  • Co-Chair,  The 2nd International Symposium on Renewable Energy Technologies, Sydney, Australia, Dec 2016

  • Organization committee member, The US-China Battery Workshop, Berkeley, 2014-2016

  • Organizer and Chair, The Materials for Vehicular and Grid Energy Storage Symposium of the 2013 Materials Research Society (MRS) spring meeting in San Francisco, CA, USA, April, 2013

  • Organizer and Chair, The Lithium-Ion Battery Symposium of the 2009 IEEE Vehicle Power and Propulsion Conference, Dearborn Michigan, August, 2009


  • Outstanding Performance Award, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory,  2005

  • Spot Recognition Award, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, 2005

  • Walter and Margaret Yates Memorial Scholarship, Michigan State University, 2000

  • Graduate Office Fellowship, Chemistry Department, Michigan State University, 2000

  • Teaching Assistant Merit Award, Michigan State University (1999-2001)


2022 R&D 100 Award: Quick-Release™ Binder for Recyclable Batteries -  August 22nd 2022

The Quick-ReleaseTM Binder solves a major challenge of materials recovery for Li-ion battery direct recycling. The current recycling process, which includes shredding, grinding, and pyrolysis of the materials, is highly energy intensive and has a large environmental footprint. The Quick-Release Binder eliminates these processes–as well as the production of toxic gases–by using water processes for manufacturing and recycling. All the battery components simply dissociate in pH adjusted water and are easily recovered and reprocessed. As a low-cost, nontoxic, and effective product, the Quick-Release binder represents a major technological advancement, and it facilitates the use and expansion of green energy storage, supporting international efforts to create a circular economy.

2015 R&D 100 Award -  November 17th 2015

A team led by Gao Liu of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s (Berkeley Lab’s) Energy Storage & Distributed Resources Division has won a 2015 R&D 100 award for developing a high-capacity anode for rechargeable batteries. Berkeley Lab’s Hui Zhao also participated in the development, as did Zeptor co-founder and Chief Technology Officer, Chuck Consorte.

The material and process developments from Berkeley Lab and Zeptor finally made it possible to transition from low-capacity graphite anodes to economical, high-capacity silicon anodes. The technology is already moving toward commercialization; Zeptor is using it to produce a high-capacity rechargeable battery that can double the lifespan of a state-of-the-art lithium-ion battery, increasing capacity by 40 percent. Pilot tests show a higher capacity, a longer lifespan, improved safety, and lower costs than state-of-the-art batteries.

In addition, the Berkeley Lab and Zeptor team is also working with consumer electronics and electric vehicle manufacturers to improve lithium-ion battery performance in those sectors, and the end users are planning to use the resulting high-energy-density battery in the next generation of products.

R&D Magazine’s annual R&D 100 Awards recognize the top 100 technology products from industry, academia, and government-sponsored research. For more information on the awards, see the links below.

FMC Corporation Scientific Achievement Award -  April 30th 2014

A team of scientists from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and Argonne National Laboratory was recognized by FMC Corporation for the FMC Scientific Achievement Award, presented by Aaron Reichl, Director of Technology for FMC Minerals, and Marina Yakovleva, Global Technical Programs Manager. The team performed fundamental research on the lithium metal technology (SLMP®) and helped identify methodologies for application of the stabilized lithium metal powder into high-energy lithium-ion batteries for consumer and transportation applications. This work is part of the Integrated Laboratories and Industry Research Program, supported by the Battery for Advanced Transportation Technologies Program of Vehicle Technologies Office of U.S. Department of Energy. 

The Berkeley lab awardees are Principal Investigators Gao Liu, Vincent Battaglia and Andrew M. Minor, as well as Postdocs: Zhihui Wang, Bin Xiang, Sang-Jae Park, and Lei Wang.

2013 R&D 100 -  July 8th 2013

Gao Liu and his team developed a technology to boost the power storage capacity of lithium-ion batteries. The new material, for use in rechargeable batteries, can boost power storage capacity by 30 percent, a dramatic improvement in a field marked by little progress for more than a decade. It is called Conducting Polymer Binder, literally a kind of flexible plastic glue that holds electrode materials together while facilitating the shuttling of electrons and positively charged lithium ions.

Presented by R&D Magazine, the R&D 100 Awards recognize the year’s top 100 technology products from industry, academia, and government-sponsored research, ranging from chemistry to materials to biomedical breakthroughs.

Find out more about this technology at the links below.

Third Prize, Berkeley Energy & Resources Collaborative Innovation Expo Poster Session -  October 18th 2012

"Conductive polymer binder based silicon composite anode for high-energy lithium-ion battery technology" has won Third Place in the Berkeley Energy & Resources Collaborative's Innovation Expo Poster Competition at the 2012 BERC Energy Symposium Innovation Expo. This work is led by Environmental Energy Technologies Division scientist Gao Liu, with postdoc Shidi Xun, Mingyan Wu, and Sang-Jea Park in the BATT program in collaboration with Wanli Yang of the Advanced Light Source, Lin-Wang Wang of the Materials Sciences Division, and Vince Battaglia of EETD.

University of California 2011 Discovery Grant -  September 16th 2011

For a conductive polymer binder that significantly improves the performance of electrodes in silicon composite electrodes.

Most Excellent Poster Award -  July 18th 2008

At the 14th International Meeting on Lithium Ion Batteries in Tianjin, China in June, a poster titled "Particles and Binder Interaction in the Lithium-ion Cell Electrodes," was one of 12 posters that won "Most Excellent Poster Award" among 600 posters on lithium battery technology presented in this meeting. IMLB meeting is a major international conference on lithium battery technology. This is the only award presented at the conference.

The IMLB conference rotates among locations in Europe, Asian, and North American every two years.