headshot of James McKone

James McKone

Associate Professor
Research Group Website Google Scholar Index LinkedIn profile Chem/Petroleum Engineering


Prof. James McKone is an associate professor with appointments in the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering and the Department of Chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh. He earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and music from Saint Olaf College in 2008, where he began his research career pursuing synthesis of novel transition metal complexes. He holds a PhD in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology, where he developed materials and methods for solar-driven water electrolysis. From 2013 to 2016, Dr. McKone was a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Cornell University studying electrocatalysis and battery energy storage. He joined the faculty at Pitt in 2016, where he instructs undergraduate and graduate courses and runs a research group focused on scientific and technological innovations linked to electrification and decarbonization of energy and chemical manufacturing.


(2023 - 2024) University of Minnesota: Piercy Visiting Professor.

(2023) Energy Advances: Emerging Investigator.

(2020) Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation: Beckman Young Investigator.

(2019) Journal of Materials Chemistry A: Emerging Investigator.

(2017 - 2019) Scialog Advanced Energy Storage Research Fellowship.

(2013) Caltech Everhart Lecture Award.

(2013) Caltech Demetriades-Tsafka-Kokkalis Prize in Renewable Energy.

(2013) Caltech Milton and Francis Clauser Prize.

(2013 - 2015) DOE EERE SunShot Postdoctoral Research Award.

(2010 - 2013) DOE Office of Science Graduate Research Fellowship.

(2004) National Merit Scholarship.

(2004 - 2008) St. Olaf Buntrock Regent’s Scholarship.

PhD, California Institute of Technology, 2008 - 2013

BA, St. Olaf College, 2004 - 2008

Lu, Z., Cooney, S.E., McKone, J.R., & Matson, E.M. (2024). Selective Hydrogenation of Azobenzene to Hydrazobenzene via Proton-Coupled Electron Transfer from a Polyoxotungstate Cluster. JACS Au, 4(4), 1310-1314.American Chemical Society (ACS). doi: 10.1021/jacsau.4c00127.

Patil, R.B., Roenigk, S.L., Shirwalkar, A.N., Meng, Q., & McKone, J.R. (2024). Unsupported Pt Nanoparticles: Synthesis, Deactivation, and Hydrogen Electrocatalysis in Unpurified Electrolytes. Journal of The Electrochemical Society, 171(3), 036509.The Electrochemical Society. doi: 10.1149/1945-7111/ad330e.

Dagar, M., Corr, M., Cook, T.R., McKone, J.R., & Matson, E.M. (2023). Solvent mixtures for improved electron transfer kinetics of titanium-doped polyoxovanadate-alkoxide clusters. JOURNAL OF MATERIALS CHEMISTRY A, 11(25), 13729-13741.Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC). doi: 10.1039/d3ta01179h.

Dagar, M., Dissanyake, D.M.M.M., Kesler, D.N., Corr, M., McPherson, J.D., Brennessel, W.W., McKone, J.R., & Matson, E.M. (2023). Improved solubility of titanium-doped polyoxovanadate charge carriers for symmetric non-aqueous redox flow batteries. Dalton Trans, 53(1), 93-104.Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC). doi: 10.1039/d3dt03642a.

Miu, E.V., McKone, J.R., & Mpourmpakis, G. (2023). Global and Local Connectivities Describe Hydrogen Intercalation in Metal Oxides. Phys Rev Lett, 131(10), 108001.American Physical Society (APS). doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.131.108001.

Welgama, H.K., Crawley, M.R., McKone, J.R., & Cook, T.R. (2023). Investigations of Nanoparticle Suspensions of Prussian Blue and Its Copper Analogue: Amine Functionalization and Electrochemical Studies. INORGANIC CHEMISTRY, 62(4), 1455-1465.American Chemical Society (ACS). doi: 10.1021/acs.inorgchem.2c03545.

Garwick, R.E., Schreiber, E., Brennessel, W.W., McKone, J.R., & Matson, E.M. (2022). Surface ligands influence the selectivity of cation uptake in polyoxovanadate-alkoxide clusters. JOURNAL OF MATERIALS CHEMISTRY A, 10(22), 12070-12078.Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC). doi: 10.1039/d2ta01131j.

Keith, J.A., McKone, J.R., Snyder, J.D., & Tang, M.H. (2022). Deeper learning in electrocatalysis: realizing opportunities and addressing challenges. CURRENT OPINION IN CHEMICAL ENGINEERING, 36, 100824.Elsevier BV. doi: 10.1016/j.coche.2022.100824.

Miu, E.V., McKone, J.R., & Mpourmpakis, G. (2022). The Sensitivity of Metal Oxide Electrocatalysis to Bulk Hydrogen Intercalation: Hydrogen Evolution on Tungsten Oxide. JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY, 144(14), 6420-6433.American Chemical Society (ACS). doi: 10.1021/jacs.2c00825.

Segel, B., Parr, Z., Sawant, T.V., Yim, C.S., Miller, D.M., Henry, T.J., & McKone, J.R. (2022). Flow battery electroanalysis 3: online kinetics measurements using ultramicroelectrodes in channel flow. JOURNAL OF MATERIALS CHEMISTRY A, 10(26), 13917-13927.Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC). doi: 10.1039/d2ta02132c.

Fertig, A.A., Brennessel, W.W., McKone, J.R., & Matson, E.M. (2021). Concerted Multiproton-Multielectron Transfer for the Reduction of O2 to H2O with a Polyoxovanadate Cluster. JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY, 143(38), 15756-15768.American Chemical Society (ACS). doi: 10.1021/jacs.1c07076.

Sawant, T.V., Yim, C.S., Henry, T.J., Miller, D.M., & McKone, J.R. (2021). Harnessing Interfacial Electron Transfer in Redox Flow Batteries. JOULE, 5(2), 360-378.Elsevier BV. doi: 10.1016/j.joule.2020.11.022.

Yang, T.T., Patil, R.B., McKone, J.R., & Saidi, W.A. (2021). Revisiting trends in the exchange current for hydrogen evolution. CATALYSIS SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY, 11(20), 6832-6838.Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC). doi: 10.1039/d1cy01170g.

Miu, E.V., Mpourmpakis, G., & McKone, J.R. (2020). Predicting the Energetics of Hydrogen Intercalation in Metal Oxides Using Acid-Base Properties. ACS APPLIED MATERIALS & INTERFACES, 12(40), 44658-44670.American Chemical Society (ACS). doi: 10.1021/acsami.0c11300.

Patil, R.B., House, S.D., Mantri, A., Yang, J.C., & McKone, J.R. (2020). Direct Observation of Ni-Mo Bimetallic Catalyst Formation via Thermal Reduction of Nickel Molybdate Nanorods. ACS CATALYSIS, 10(18), 10390-10398.American Chemical Society (ACS). doi: 10.1021/acscatal.0c02264.

Miu, E.V., & McKone, J.R. (2019). Comparisons of WO3 reduction to HxWO3 under thermochemical and electrochemical control. JOURNAL OF MATERIALS CHEMISTRY A, 7(41), 23756-23761.Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC). doi: 10.1039/c9ta06394c.

Patil, R.B., Mantri, A., House, S.D., Yang, J.C., & McKone, J.R. (2019). Enhancing the Performance of Ni-Mo Alkaline Hydrogen Evolution Electrocatalysts with Carbon Supports. ACS APPLIED ENERGY MATERIALS, 2(4), 2524-2533.American Chemical Society (ACS). doi: 10.1021/acsaem.8b02087.

Sawant, T.V., & McKone, J.R. (2019). Flow Battery Electroanalysis. 2. Influence of Surface Pretreatment on Fe(III/II) Redox Chemistry at Carbon Electrodes. JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY C, 123(1), 144-152.American Chemical Society (ACS). doi: 10.1021/acs.jpcc.8b09607.

Schreiber, E., Hartley, N.A., Brennessel, W.W., Cook, T.R., McKone, J.R., & Matson, E.M. (2019). An Organofunctionalized Polyoxovanadium Cluster as a Molecular Model of Interfacial Pseudocapacitance. ACS APPLIED ENERGY MATERIALS, 2(12), 8985-8993.American Chemical Society (ACS). doi: 10.1021/acsaem.9b02239.

Xu, K., Liang, J., Woeppel, A., Bostian, M.E., Ding, H., Chao, Z., McKone, J.R., Beckman, E.J., & Fullerton-Shirey, S.K. (2019). Electric Double-Layer Gating of Two-Dimensional Field-Effect Transistors Using a Single-Ion Conductor. ACS APPLIED MATERIALS & INTERFACES, 11(39), 35879-35887.American Chemical Society (ACS). doi: 10.1021/acsami.9b11526.

Austin, N., Zhao, S., McKone, J.R., Jin, R., & Mpourmpakis, G. (2018). Elucidating the active sites for CO2 electroreduction on ligand-protected Au25 nanoclusters. CATALYSIS SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY, 8(15), 3795-3805.Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC). doi: 10.1039/c8cy01099d.

Sawant, T.V., & McKone, J.R. (2018). Flow Battery Electroanalysis: Hydrodynamic Voltammetry of Aqueous Fe(III/II) Redox Couples at Polycrystalline Pt and Au. ACS APPLIED ENERGY MATERIALS, 1(9), 4743-4753.American Chemical Society (ACS). doi: 10.1021/acsaem.8b00859.

Sawant, T.V., & McKone, J.R. (2018). Correction to Flow Battery Electroanalysis: Hydrodynamic Voltammetry of Aqueous Fe(III/II) Redox Couples at Polycrystalline Pt and Au. ACS Applied Energy Materials, 1(12), 7263.American Chemical Society (ACS). doi: 10.1021/acsaem.8b01935.

Csernica, P.M., McKone, J.R., Mulzer, C.R., Dichtel, W.R., Abruna, H.D., & DiSalvo, F.J. (2017). Electrochemical Hydrogen Evolution at Ordered Mo7Ni7. ACS CATALYSIS, 7(5), 3375-3383.American Chemical Society (ACS). doi: 10.1021/acscatal.7b00344.

McKone, J.R., DiSalvo, F.J., & Abruna, H.D. (2017). Solar energy conversion, storage, and release using an integrated solar-driven redox flow battery. JOURNAL OF MATERIALS CHEMISTRY A, 5(11), 5362-5372.Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC). doi: 10.1039/c7ta00555e.

McKone, J.R., Crans, D.C., Martin, C., Turner, J., Duggal, A.R., & Gray, H.B. (2016). Translational Science for Energy and Beyond. INORGANIC CHEMISTRY, 55(18), 9131-9143.American Chemical Society (ACS). doi: 10.1021/acs.inorgchem.6b01097.

Mulzer, C.R., Shen, L., Bisbey, R.P., McKone, J.R., Zhang, N., Abruna, H.D., & Dichtel, W.R. (2016). Superior Charge Storage and Power Density of a Conducting Polymer-Modified Covalent Organic Framework. ACS CENTRAL SCIENCE, 2(9), 667-673.American Chemical Society (ACS). doi: 10.1021/acscentsci.6b00220.

Potash, R.A., McKone, J.R., Conte, S., & Abruna, H.D. (2016). On the Benefits of a Symmetric Redox Flow Battery. JOURNAL OF THE ELECTROCHEMICAL SOCIETY, 163(3), A338-A344.The Electrochemical Society. doi: 10.1149/2.0971602jes.

Hu, S., Lewis, N.S., Ager, J.W., Yang, J., McKone, J.R., & Strandwitz, N.C. (2015). Thin-Film Materials for the Protection of Semiconducting Photoelectrodes in Solar-Fuel Generators. JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY C, 119(43), 24201-24228.American Chemical Society (ACS). doi: 10.1021/acs.jpcc.5b05976.

McKone, J.R., Potash, R.A., DiSalvo, F.J., & Abruna, H.D. (2015). Unassisted HI photoelectrolysis using n-WSe2 solar absorbers. PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY CHEMICAL PHYSICS, 17(21), 13984-13991.Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC). doi: 10.1039/c5cp01192b.

Shaner, M.R., McKone, J.R., Gray, H.B., & Lewis, N.S. (2015). Functional integration of Ni-Mo electrocatalysts with Si microwire array photocathodes to simultaneously achieve high fill factors and light-limited photocurrent densities for solar-driven hydrogen evolution. ENERGY & ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE, 8(10), 2977-2984.Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC). doi: 10.1039/c5ee01076d.

Soriaga, M.P., Baricuatro, J.H., Cummins, K.D., Kim, Y.G., Saadi, F.H., Sun, G., McCrory, C.C.L., McKone, J.R., Velazquez, J.M., Ferrer, I.M., Carim, A.I., Javier, A., Chmielowiec, B., Lacy, D.C., Gregoire, J.M., Sanabria-Chinchilla, J., Amashukeli, X., Royea, W.J., Brunschwig, B.S., Hemminger, J.C., Lewis, N.S., & Stickney, J.L. (2015). Electrochemical surface science twenty years later: Expeditions into the electrocatalysis of reactions at the core of artificial photosynthesis. SURFACE SCIENCE, 631, 285-294.Elsevier BV. doi: 10.1016/j.susc.2014.06.028.

Huang, Z., McKone, J.R., Xiang, C., Grimm, R.L., Warren, E.L., Spurgeon, J.M., Lewerenz, H.J., Brunschwig, B.S., & Lewis, N.S. (2014). Comparison between the measured and modeled hydrogen-evolution activity of Ni- or Pt-coated silicon photocathodes. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HYDROGEN ENERGY, 39(28), 16220-16226.Elsevier BV. doi: 10.1016/j.ijhydene.2013.12.162.

McKone, J.R., Ardo, S., Blakemore, J.D., Bracher, P.J., Dempsey, J.L., Darnton, T.V., Hansen, M.C., Harman, W.H., Rose, M.J., Walter, M.G., Dasgupta, S., Winkler, J.R., & Gray, H.B. (2014). The Solar Army: A Case Study in Outreach Based on Solar Photoelectrochemistry. Reviews in Advanced Sciences and Engineering, 3(4), 288-303.American Scientific Publishers. doi: 10.1166/rase.2014.1076.

McKone, J.R., Lewis, N.S., & Gray, H.B. (2014). Will Solar-Driven Water-Splitting Devices See the Light of Day?. CHEMISTRY OF MATERIALS, 26(1), 407-414.American Chemical Society (ACS). doi: 10.1021/cm4021518.

McKone, J.R., Lewis, N.S., & Gray, H.B. (2014). ChemInform Abstract: Will Solar‐Driven Water‐Splitting Devices See the Light of Day?. ChemInform, 45(10).Wiley. doi: 10.1002/chin.201410274.

McKone, J.R., Marinescu, S.C., Brunschwig, B.S., Winkler, J.R., & Gray, H.B. (2014). Earth-abundant hydrogen evolution electrocatalysts. CHEMICAL SCIENCE, 5(3), 865-878.Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC). doi: 10.1039/c3sc51711j.

McKone, J.R., Marinescu, S.C., Brunschwig, B.S., Winkler, J.R., & Gray, H.B. (2014). ChemInform Abstract: Earth‐Abundant Hydrogen Evolution Electrocatalysts. ChemInform, 45(15).Wiley. doi: 10.1002/chin.201415267.

McKone, J., & Lewis, N. (2013). Structured Materials for Photoelectrochemical Water Splitting. (pp. 52-82).

McKone, J.R., Pieterick, A.P., Gray, H.B., & Lewis, N.S. (2013). Efficient and stable photoelectrochemical energy conversion using p-type WSe2 photocathodes. ABSTRACTS OF PAPERS OF THE AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY, 245.

McKone, J.R., Pieterick, A.P., Gray, H.B., & Lewis, N.S. (2013). Hydrogen Evolution from Pt/Ru-Coated p-Type WSe2 Photocathodes. JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY, 135(1), 223-231.American Chemical Society (ACS). doi: 10.1021/ja308581g.

McKone, J.R., Sadtler, B.F., Werlang, C.A., Lewis, N.S., & Gray, H.B. (2013). Ni-Mo Nanopowders for Efficient Electrochemical Hydrogen Evolution. ACS CATALYSIS, 3(2), 166-169.American Chemical Society (ACS). doi: 10.1021/cs300691m.

Popczun, E.J., McKone, J.R., Read, C.G., Biacchi, A.J., Wiltrout, A.M., Lewis, N.S., & Schaak, R.E. (2013). Nanostructured Nickel Phosphide as an Electrocatalyst for the Hydrogen Evolution Reaction. JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY, 135(25), 9267-9270.American Chemical Society (ACS). doi: 10.1021/ja403440e.

Warren, E.L., McKone, J.R., Atwater, H.A., Gray, H.B., & Lewis, N.S. (2012). Hydrogen-evolution characteristics of Ni-Mo-coated, radial junction, n+p-silicon microwire array photocathodes. ENERGY & ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE, 5(11), 9653-9661.Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC). doi: 10.1039/c2ee23192a.

Boettcher, S.W., Warren, E.L., Putnam, M.C., Santori, E.A., Turner-Evans, D., Kelzenberg, M.D., Walter, M.G., McKone, J.R., Brunschwig, B.S., Atwater, H.A., & Lewis, N.S. (2011). Photoelectrochemical Hydrogen Evolution Using Si Microwire Arrays. JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY, 133(5), 1216-1219.American Chemical Society (ACS). doi: 10.1021/ja108801m.

McKone, J.R., Warren, E.L., Bierman, M.J., Boettcher, S.W., Brunschwig, B.S., Lewis, N.S., & Gray, H.B. (2011). Evaluation of Pt, Ni, and Ni-Mo electrocatalysts for hydrogen evolution on crystalline Si electrodes. ENERGY & ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE, 4(9), 3573-3583.Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC). doi: 10.1039/c1ee01488a.

Walter, M.G., Warren, E.L., McKone, J.R., Boettcher, S.W., Mi, Q., Santori, E.A., & Lewis, N.S. (2010). Solar Water Splitting Cells. CHEMICAL REVIEWS, 110(11), 6446-6473.American Chemical Society (ACS). doi: 10.1021/cr1002326.

McKone, J., & Lewis, N. CHAPTER 3. Structured Materials for Photoelectrochemical Water Splitting. In Energy and Environment Series. (pp. 52-82).Royal Society of Chemistry. doi: 10.1039/9781849737739-00052.

McKone, J.R., Abruña, H.D., & DiSalvo, F.J. (2015). Electrocatalysis and photocatalysis for energy sustainability. In Education Division 2015 - Core Programming Area at the 2015 AIChE Annual Meeting, (p. 41).

McKone, J.R., Pieterick, A.P., Gray, H.B., & Lewis, N.S. (2013). Efficient and stable photoelectrochemical energy conversion using p-type WSe2 photocathodes. In ABSTRACTS OF PAPERS OF THE AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY, 245.AMER CHEMICAL SOC 1155 16TH ST, NW, WASHINGTON, DC 20036 USA.

Warren, E.L., McKone, J.R., Shaner, M.R., Atwater, H.A., Gray, H.B., & Lewis, N.S. (2012). Silicon Microwires Coupled to Earth Abundant Catalysts as Photocathodes for the Hydrogen Evolution Reaction. In Meeting Abstracts, (p. 1711).The Electrochemical Society.

Lewis, N.S., Good, J., Warren, E., & McKone, J. (2011). Membrane-bound photoelectrochemical production of fuels from sunlight. In ABSTRACTS OF PAPERS OF THE AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY, 241.

Warren, E.L., Boettcher, S.W., McKone, J.R., & Lewis, N.S. (2010). Photoelectrochemical water splitting: silicon photocathodes for hydrogen evolution. In SPIE Proceedings, 7770, (p. 77701F).SPIE. doi: 10.1117/12.860994.

McKone, J.R., Gray, H.B., Lewis, N.S., Brunschwig, B., Warren, E.L., Boettcher, S.W., & Bierman, M.J. (2014). Nickel-based electrocatalytic photoelectrodes.

Ardo, S., Shaner, M., Coridan, R., Strandwitz, N.C., McKone, J.R., Fountaine, K., Atwater, H.A., & Lewis, N.S. (2013). Semiconductor structures for fuel generation.

Research interests

chemical reactors