Hongli (Julie) Zhu

Assistant Professor,  Mechanical and Industrial Engineering


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  • 617.373.2735


  • 307 Mugar Life Science

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Research Focus

Energy storage, advanced manufacturing, multifunctional bio-inspired material from nature; nano/microfabrication of devices and materials; bendable, implantable, and biocompatible electronics; application of sustainable biomaterial, like cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin, in life science and engieering.


Dr. Hongli (Julie) Zhu is currently an assistant professor at Northeastern University. Her group focuses on the research of electrochemical energy storage, biomass-derived multifunctional materials, and emerging advanced manufacturing technologies. From 2012-2015, She works at the University of Maryland as  postdoctoral research associate, focusing on the research of nanocellulose and energy storage. From 2009 to 2011, She conducted research on materials science and processing of biodegradable and renewable biomaterials from natural wood in the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden. Her expertise is on the research of environmentally friendly biomass derived materials, energy storage, design and application of cellulose nanostructured fiber, paper, and aerogel/hydrogel for multiple applications, and R2R manufacturing. In energy storage, her group at Northeastern University works intensively on all-solid-state batteries, flow batteries, and alkali metal ion batteries, such as Li+, Na+, K+ batteries.


  • Research Associate, University of Maryland, 2012-2015
  • Postdoctoral Researcher, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden, 2009-2011
  • PhD, South China University of Technology and Western Michigan University, 2004-2009

Honors & Awards

  • Innovator of the Year 2013, University of Maryland
  • Jakob Wallenberg Scholarship, Sweden

Research Overview

Energy storage, advanced manufacturing, multifunctional bio-inspired material from nature; nano/microfabrication of devices and materials; bendable, implantable, and biocompatible electronics; application of sustainable biomaterial, like cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin, in life science and engieering.

Zhu Lab’s research interests include sustainable energy storage, multifunctional materials, and advanced manufacturing. In focusing on sustainable energy storage, biodegradable materials, and manufacturing, Zhu Lab’s objective is to better address the needs of society by linking nature with people through technology. Their work has made strides in identifying sustainable natural materials to develop multifunctional materials and advanced devices for future technologies to reduce our dependence on petroleum.

Bio-derived and Bio-inspired Multifunctional Material.


Based on our research interests and expertise in manufacturing, bioresources, energy storage, and flexible device, our goal is to make energy storage safer, cheaper, and have higher performance, and to explore multifunctional materials from Nature. Meanwhile, we are interested in applying the highspeed roll-to-roll to the emerging advanced manufacturing. Our research is highly interdisciplinary, encompassing scales from the nanoscopic to macroscopic, and system level.


Selected Publications


  • Liu, Chao, Wan, Liqiang, Li, Qiang, Sun, Xiao, Natan, Avi, Cao, Daxian, Luan, Pengcheng, Zhu, Hongli (2021). Ice-Templated Anisotropic Flame-Resistant Boron Nitride Aerogels Enhanced through Surface Modification and Cellulose Nanofibrils. ACS Applied Polymer Materials, 3(3),1358-1367. 10.1021/ACSAPM.0C01219
  • Mukhopadhyay, A., Yang, Y., Cheng, Z., Luan, P., Natan, A., Zhu, H. (2021). Proton-conductive membranes with percolated transport paths for aqueous redox flow batteries. Materials Today Nano, 13,100100. 10.1016/J.MTNANO.2020.100100
  • Sun, Xiao, Stavola, Alyssa M., Cao, Daxian, Bruck, Andrea M., Wang, Ying, Zhang, Yunlu, Luan, Pengcheng, Gallaway, Joshua W., Zhu, Hongli (2021). Operando EDXRD Study of All‐Solid‐State Lithium Batteries Coupling Thioantimonate Superionic Conductors with Metal Sulfide. Advanced Energy Materials, 11(3),2002861. 10.1002/AENM.202002861
  • Cao, Daxian, Zhang, Yubin, Nolan, Adelaide M., Sun, Xiao, Liu, Chao, Sheng, Jinzhi, Mo, Yifei, Wang, Yan, Zhu, Hongli (2020). Stable Thiophosphate-Based All-Solid-State Lithium Batteries through Conformally Interfacial Nanocoating. Nano Letters, 20(3),1483-1490. 10.1021/ACS.NANOLETT.9B02678
  • Cao, Daxian, Sun, Xiao, Li, Qiang, Natan, Avi, Xiang, Pengyang, Zhu, Hongli (2020). Lithium Dendrite in All-Solid-State Batteries: Growth Mechanisms, Suppression Strategies, and Characterizations. Matter, 3(1),57-94. 10.1016/J.MATT.2020.03.015
  • Cao, Daxian, Zhao, Yuyue, Sun, Xiao, Natan, Avi, Wang, Ying, Xiang, Pengyang, Wang, Wei, Zhu, Hongli (2020). Processing Strategies to Improve Cell-Level Energy Density of Metal Sulfide Electrolyte-Based All-Solid-State Li Metal Batteries and Beyond. ACS Energy Letters, 5(11),3468-3489. 10.1021/ACSENERGYLETT.0C01905
  • Cheng, Zheng, Wei, Yuyi, Liu, Chao, Chen, Yong, Ma, Yi, Chen, Huaihao, Liang, Xianfeng, Sun, Nian X., Zhu, Hongli (2020). Lightweight and Construable Magnetic Wood for Electromagnetic Interference Shielding. Advanced Engineering Materials, 22(10),2000257. 10.1002/ADEM.202000257
  • Li, Yang, Cao, Daxian, Arnold, William, Ren, Yao, Liu, Chao, Jasinski, Jacek B., Druffel, Thad, Cao, Ye, Zhu, Hongli, Wang, Hui (2020). Regulated lithium ionic flux through well-aligned channels for lithium dendrite inhibition in solid-state batteries. Energy Storage Materials, 31,344-351. 10.1016/J.ENSM.2020.06.029
  • Liu, Chao, Luan, Pengcheng, Li, Qiang, Cheng, Zheng, Xiang, Pengyang, Liu, Detao, Hou, Yi, Yang, Yang, Zhu, Hongli (2020). Biopolymers Derived from Trees as Sustainable Multifunctional Materials: A Review. Advanced Materials, ,2001654. 10.1002/ADMA.202001654
  • Liu, Chao, Hong, Kevin, Sun, Xiao, Natan, Avi, Luan, Pengcheng, Yang, Yang, Zhu, Hongli (2020). An ‘antifouling’ porous loofah sponge with internal microchannels as solar absorbers and water pumpers for thermal desalination. Journal of Materials Chemistry A, 8(25),12323-12333. 10.1039/D0TA03872E
  • Tantratian, Karnpiwat, Cao, Daxian, Abdelaziz, Ahmed, Sun, Xiao, Sheng, Jinzhi, Natan, Avi, Chen, Lei, Zhu, Hongli (2020). Stable Li Metal Anode Enabled by Space Confinement and Uniform Curvature through Lithiophilic Nanotube Arrays. Advanced Energy Materials, 10(5),1902819. 10.1002/AENM.201902819
  • Wan, Liqiang, Liu, Chao, Cao, Daxian, Sun, Xiao, Zhu, Hongli (2020). High Phase Change Enthalpy Enabled by Nanocellulose Enhanced Shape Stable Boron Nitride Aerogel. ACS Applied Polymer Materials, 2(7),3001-3009. 10.1021/ACSAPM.0C00445
  • Yang, Li, Yi, Ning, Zhu, Jia, Cheng, Zheng, Yin, Xinyang, Zhang, Xueyi, Zhu, Hongli, Cheng, Huanyu (2020). Novel gas sensing platform based on a stretchable laser-induced graphene pattern with self-heating capabilities. Journal of Materials Chemistry A, 8(14),6487-6500. 10.1039/C9TA07855J
  • Yi, Ning, Cheng, Zheng, Li, Han, Yang, Li, Zhu, Jia, Zheng, Xiaoqi, Chen, Yong, Liu, Zhendong, Zhu, Hongli, Cheng, Huanyu (2020). Stretchable, ultrasensitive, and low-temperature NO2 sensors based on MoS2@rGO nanocomposites. Materials Today Physics, 15,100265. 10.1016/J.MTPHYS.2020.100265
  • D.X. Cao, Y.J. Xing, K. Tantratian, X. Wang, H.L. Zhu, et al. 3D Printed High Performance Lithium Metal Microbatteries Enabled by Nanocellulose, Advanced Materials, 31(14), 2019, 1807313
  • Q. Zhang, D.X. Cao, Y. Ma, A. Natan, P. Auron, H.L. Zhu Sulfide-based Solid-state Electrolytes: Synthesis, Stabilities and Potential for All Solid-state Batteries, Advanced Materials, 2019
  • H.Y. Li, Z. Cheng, Q. Zhang, A. Natan, Y. Yang, D.X. Cao, H.L. Zhu, Bacterial-Derived, Compressible, and Hierarchical Porous Carbon for High-Performance Potassium-Ion Batteries, Nano Letters, 18(11), 2018, 7407-7413
  • Y. Jiao, A. Mukhopadhyay, Y. Ma, L. Yang, A.M. Hafez, H. Zhu, Ion Transport Nanotube Assembled with Vertically Aligned Metallic MoS2 for High Rate Lithium-Ion Batteries, Advanced Energy Materials, 2018, 1702779-1702787
  • A.M. Hafez, J. Yucong, S. Jianjian, M. Yi, C. Daxian, L. Yuanyue, Z. Hongli, Stable Metal Anode Enabled by Porous Lithium Foam with Superior Ion Accessibility, Advanced Materials, 2018, 1802156
Zhu Lab Publications
student portrait with mechanical engineering lab in background

Spotlight Story

Apr 12, 2021

Working Toward a World with Clean Energy

After completing his undergraduate degree in electrical engineering at the University of Iowa, Pengyang Xiang, who is an MS in Energy Systems student graduating in 2021, felt limited by the programs offered by most universities on the graduate level in his area of interest. He wanted to specialize in the energy field with a master’s […]

hongli zhu


Feb 19, 2021

Creating Fire Retardant Insulation from Sustainable Resources

MIE Assistant Professor Hongli “Julie” Zhu was awarded a patent for “Fire-retardant nanocellulose aerogels, and methods of preparation and uses thereof”.

hongli zhu

In the Media

Dec 23, 2020

Better Disposable Coffee Cups

MIE Assistant Professor Hongli Julie Zhu was featured in the Economist article “Better Disposable Coffee Cups” for her research in replacing plastics with biodegradable products

biogradeable containers


Dec 16, 2020

A Better Alternative to One-Time Use Plastics

To reduce the need for one-time use plastics, MIE Assistant Professor Hongli “Julie” Zhu is using sugarcane and bamboo fibers to create biodegradable food containers.

hongli zhu


Nov 10, 2020

Creating Energy Storage at Large Scales

MIE Assistant Professor Hongli Zhu was awarded a patent for “Lignin-based electrolytes and flow battery cells and systems”.

cellulose from wood components


Feb 19, 2020

Improving the Efficiency of Vanadium Flow Batteries Using Cellulose

MIE Assistant Professor Hongli Zhu is using cellulose from wood to store renewable energy in batteries.

hongli zhu


Feb 13, 2020

Zhu Awarded $1M DOE Grant to Work on Printing Batteries

MIE Assistant Professor Hongli (Julie) Zhu was awarded a $1M grant from the Department of Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office to work on Enabling Advanced Electrode Architecture through Printing Technique.

cover of advanced materials

In the Media

Nov 15, 2019

Zhu Featured on Cover of Advanced Materials

MIE Assistant Professor Hongli Zhu lab’s research on “Solid‐State Batteries: Sulfide‐Based Solid‐State Electrolytes: Synthesis, Stability, and Potential for All‐Solid‐State Batteries” is featured on the inside front cover of Advanced Materials.

cover of advanced functional materials


Nov 15, 2019

Zhu Featured on Cover of Advanced Functional Materials

MIE Assistant Professor Hongli Zhu lab’s research on “Aqueous Flow Batteries: Mass Transfer and Reaction Kinetic Enhanced Electrode for High‐Performance Aqueous Flow Batteries” featured on the inside front cover of Advanced Functional Materials.

hongli zhu


Nov 15, 2019

Zhu Awarded NSF EAGER Grant in Collaboration with Penn State University

MIE Assistant Professor Hongli Zhu awarded an NSF Eager grant to work on “fully water-soluble bioelectronics with skin-conforming galactomannan” in collaboration with Penn State University.

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