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Energy and Environment Directorate

Carlos Fernandez

Carlos Fernandez

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
PO Box 999
Richland, WA 99352
(509) 371-7020


Dr. Carlos A. Fernandez is a senior scientist and project manager at PNNL with over twenty years of experience in industrial and governmental R&D. Previous to joining PNNL, he worked as a researcher and consultant for the industry sector in the Center of Excellence for Products and Processes of Cordoba, Argentina. Since joining PNNL in 2006, Dr. Fernandez research has focused on the engineering of nanomaterials, porous materials, composites and smart fluids for environmental and energy applications. He has managed several multi-institution projects funded by the DOE’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy with a total funding volume of $8.2 million in the past five years.

As of 2019, Dr. Fernandez has over forty publications (H Index 20), five patent applications (four awarded), and is an editorial board member of Nature’s Scientific Reports. His research has been featured in several press releases including Energy.Gov, C&E News, Chemistry World, Scientific American, NBC Right Now, and ten journal covers. Dr. Fernandez’s work on StimuFrac™ was recognized as a potentially game-changing technology on C&E News and awarded with the Institute of Chemical Engineers 2015 Global Award for Outstanding Achievement in Chemical Engineering. Dr. Fernandez was nominated by the Geothermal Technology Office as an Exceptional Individual for the 2015 Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers.


Research Interests

  • Dr. Fernandez R&D portfolio is currently focused on design and synthesis of smart materials and fluids including self-healing composite materials, stimuli-responsive fluids (StimuFrac™) and proppants (StimuProp). Dr. Fernandez target applications include enhanced geothermal systems (EGS), unconventional oil/gas recovery, carbon sequestration, building and transport infrastructure, nuclear energy, environmental remediation, and hydropower generation.

Education and Credentials

  • Ph.D., Physical and Materials Chemistry, University of Idaho
  • B.S., Physical Chemistry, Universidad Nacional de Cordoba, Argentina

Affiliations and Professional Service

  • American Chemical Society, American Geophysical Union

Awards and Recognitions

  • 2015 - Institution for Chemical Engineers (IChemE) Global Award for Outstanding Achievement in Chemical and Process Engineering.
  • 2015 - Institution for Chemical Engineers (IChemE) Global Oil and Gas Award
  • 2014 - Nominated by the DOE as an Exceptional Individual for the 2015 Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE).
  • 2014 - Outstanding performance award
  • 2013 - Outstanding performance award
  • 2013 - Outstanding performance award
  • 2012 - Outstanding performance award
  • 2009 - Outstanding publication award
  • 2009 - Outstanding publication award
  • 2009 - Outstanding publication award
  • 2008 - Outstanding performance award

PNNL Patents

PNNL Publications


  • Fernandez C.A. 2022. Self-Healing Cements with Improved Toughness at Casing and Formation Interfaces for Subsurface Applications - CRADA 530. PNNL-32869. Richland, WA: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Self-Healing Cements with Improved Toughness at Casing and Formation Interfaces for Subsurface Applications - CRADA 530
  • Fernandez C.A., G. Jian, and L. Cosimbescu. 2022. Self-Healing Polymer-Modified Cements for Ambient-Temperature Applications. PNNL-32903. Richland, WA: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Self-Healing Polymer-Modified Cements for Ambient-Temperature Applications
  • Haider M., G. Jian, H. Li, M.P. Wolcott, C.A. Fernandez, and S. Nassiri. 2022. "Impact of Chitin Nanofibers and Nanocrystals from Waste Shrimp Shells on Mechanical Properties, Setting Time, and Late-age Hydration of Mortar." Scientific Reports 12, no. 1:Art. No. 20539. PNNL-SA-173192. doi:10.1038/s41598-022-24366-4
  • Jian G., R.S. Sarathi, C.A. Fernandez, J.A. Burghardt, and A. Bonneville. 2022. "Effect of Initial Water Saturation on The Performance of Fracturing Fluids With and Without Polyallylamine under Simulated EGS Conditions." In Proceedings of the 47th Workshop on Geothermal Reservoir Engineering, Stanford Geothermal Workshop, February 7-9, 2022, Stanford, CA, Paper No. SGP-TR-223. Stanford, California:Stanford University. PNNL-SA-169717.


  • Elbakhshwan M., S. Gill, K.A. Rod, E.B. Bingham, A.L. McKinney, N.J. Huerta, and C. Lopano, et al. 2021. "Structural and chemical changes from CO2 exposure to self-healing polymer cement composites for geothermal wellbores." Geothermics 89. PNNL-SA-155591. doi:10.1016/j.geothermics.2020.101932
  • Fernandez C.A., M. Correa, M. Nguyen, K.A. Rod, G.L. Dai, L. Cosimbescu, and R.J. Rousseau, et al. 2021. "Progress and Challenges in Self-Healing Cementitious Materials." Journal of Materials Science 56, no. 1:201-230. PNNL-SA-138553. doi:10.1007/s10853-020-05164-7
  • Jian G., C.A. Fernandez, M. Puerto, R.S. Sarathi, A.H. Bonneville, and S. Biswal. 2021. "Advances and challenges in CO2 foam technologies for enhanced oil recovery in carbonate reservoirs." Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering 202. PNNL-SA-154272. doi:10.1016/j.petrol.2021.108447
  • Jian G., R.S. Sarathi, J.A. Burghardt, A.H. Bonneville, V. Gupta, C.A. Fernandez, and G. Garrison. 2021. "Evaluation of a Greener Fracturing Fluid for Geothermal Energy Recovery: An Experimental and Simulation Study." Geothermics 97. PNNL-SA-166539. doi:10.1016/j.geothermics.2021.102266
  • Nassiri S., Z. Chen, G. Jian, T. Zhong, M. Haider, H. Li, and C.A. Fernandez, et al. 2021. "Comparison of Unique Effects of Two Contrasting Types of Cellulose Nanomaterials on Setting Time, Rheology, and Compressive Strength of Cement Paste." Cement and Concrete Composites 123. PNNL-SA-163634. doi:10.1016/j.cemconcomp.2021.104201
  • Pease L.F., A.P. Kuprat, G.L. Dai, A.H. Bonneville, M.D. White, and C.A. Fernandez. 2021. "Insights into the Physical-Chemical Properties of a CO2-Responsive Fracturing Fluid." In Proceedings of the World Geothermal Congress 2021, October 24-27, 2021, Virtual and Reykjavik, Iceland, Paper No. 31000. Bonn:International Geothermal Association. PNNL-SA-166429.


  • Jian G., C.A. Fernandez, J.A. Burghardt, A.H. Bonneville, V. Gupta, and G. Garrison. 2020. "Alternative, Less Water-Intensive, Fracturing Fluids for Enhanced Geothermal Systems." In 54th U.S. Rock Mechanics/Geomechanics Symposium, June 28-July 1, 2020, Virtual. Alexandria, Virginia:American Rock Mechanics Association. PNNL-SA-155601.
  • Jian G., C.A. Fernandez, J.A. Burghardt, A.H. Bonneville, V. Gupta, and G. Garrison. 2020. "Foot-scale Evaluation of CO2-Responsive Polymer and CO2 Binary Fluid as an Alternative Fracturing Fluid for Enhanced Geothermal Systems." In Proceedings of the 45th Workshop on Geothermal Reservoir Engineering, February 10-12, 2020, Stanford, California. Stanford, California:Stanford University. PNNL-SA-151707.
  • Rod K.A., C.A. Fernandez, M. Nguyen, J.B. Gardiner, N.J. Huerta, V. Glezakou, and T. Varga, et al. 2020. "Polymer-cement composites with adhesion and re-adhesion (healing) to casing capability for geothermal wellbore applications." Cement and Concrete Composites 107. PNNL-SA-140589. doi:10.1016/j.cemconcomp.2019.103490
  • Rod K.A., C.A. Fernandez, P.K. Koech, G.L. Dai, M. Correa, N.J. Huerta, and S.D. Burton, et al. 2020. "Self-Repairing Polymer-Modified Cements for High Temperature Geothermal and Fossil Energy Applications." Geothermics 85. PNNL-SA-140314. doi:10.1016/j.geothermics.2019.101790


  • Fernandez C.A., V. Gupta, G.L. Dai, A.P. Kuprat, A.H. Bonneville, D. Appriou, and J.A. Horner, et al. 2019. "Insights into a Greener Stimuli-Responsive Fracturing Fluid for Geothermal Applications." ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering 7, no. 14:19660-19668. PNNL-SA-144518. doi:10.1021/acssuschemeng.9b04802
  • Polikarpov E., C.A. Fernandez, G.W. Coffey, S.K. Nune, A.J. Karkamkar, B.J. Garcia, and T.L. Lemmon, et al. 2019. "Toward Polarization-Switched Molecular Pumps." ACS Applied Energy Materials 2, no. 6:4092-4097. PNNL-SA-138089. doi:10.1021/acsaem.9b00252
  • Rod K.A., M. Nguyen, M. Elbakhshwan, S. Gill, B. Kutchko, T. Varga, and A.L. McKinney, et al. 2019. "Insights into the physical and chemical properties of a cement-polymer composite developed for geothermal wellbore applications." Cement and Concrete Composites 97. PNNL-SA-131466. doi:10.1016/j.cemconcomp.2018.12.022


  • Fernandez C.A., K.A. Rod, N.J. Huerta, and P.K. Koech. 2018. "Advanced Polymer-Modified Cements for Subsurface Applications." In Proceedings of the 43rd Workshop on Geothermal Reservoir Engineering, February 12-14, 2018, Stanford, CA, SGP-TR-213, 1-8. Stanford, California:Stanford University. PNNL-SA-132427.
  • Liu J., M.D. Bearden, C.A. Fernandez, L.S. Fifield, S.K. Nune, R.K. Motkuri, and P.K. Koech, et al. 2018. "Techno-economic analysis of magnesium extraction from seawater via a catalyzed organo-metathetical process." JOM. The Journal of the Minerals, Metals and Materials Society 70, no. 3:431-435. PNNL-SA-119113. doi:10.1007/s11837-017-2735-6
  • Nguyen M., Z. Wang, K.A. Rod, M.I. Childers, C.A. Fernandez, P.K. Koech, and W.D. Bennett, et al. 2018. "Atomic origins of the self-healing function in cement-polymer composites." ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 10, no. 3:3011-3019. PNNL-SA-130887. doi:10.1021/acsami.7b13309
  • Shao H., S. Kabilan, M.I. Childers, S.A. Stephens, N. Suresh, A.N. Beck, and T. Varga, et al. 2018. "Corrigendum to "Environmentally friendly, rheoreversible, hydraulic fracturing fluids for enhanced geothermal systems" [Geothermics 58 (2015) 22-31]." Geothermics 72. PNNL-SA-134510. doi:10.1016/j.geothermics.2017.12.002


  • Childers M.I., M. Nguyen, K.A. Rod, P.K. Koech, W. Um, J. Chun, and V. Glezakou, et al. 2017. "Polymer-Cement Composites with Self-Healing Ability for Geothermal and Fossil Energy Applications." Chemistry of Materials 29, no. 11:4708-4718. PNNL-SA-127162. doi:10.1021/acs.chemmater.7b00344
  • Childers M.I., M.C. Endres, C.A. Burns, B.J. Garcia, J. Liu, T.W. Wietsma, and A.H. Bonneville, et al. 2017. "Novel Highly Dispersible, Thermally Stable Core/Shell Proppants for Geothermal Applications." Geothermics 70. PNNL-SA-121506. doi:10.1016/j.geothermics.2017.05.013
  • Dettmer A., R. Ball, T.B. Boving, N.A. Khan, T. Schaub, N. Sudasinghe, and C.A. Fernandez, et al. 2017. "Stabilization and prolonged reactivity of aqueous-phase ozone with cyclodextrin." Journal of Contaminant Hydrology 196. PNNL-SA-124769. doi:10.1016/j.jconhyd.2016.11.003


  • Fernandez C.A., H. Shao, A. Bonneville, T. Varga, and L. Zhong. 2016. "On the Versatility of Rheoreversible, Stimuli-responsive Hydraulic-Fracturing Fluids for Enhanced Geothermal Systems: Effect of Reservoir pH." In Proceedings of the 41st Workshop on Geothermal Reservoir Engineering, February 22-24, 2016, Stanford, California, Paper No SGP-TR-209. Red Hook, New York:Curran Associates Inc. PNNL-SA-116023.
  • Kabilan S., H.B. Jung, A.P. Kuprat, A. Beck, T. Varga, C.A. Fernandez, and W. Um. 2016. "Numerical Simulation of Permeability Change in Wellbore Cement Fractures after Geomechanical Stress and Geochemical Reactions Using X-ray Computed Tomography Imaging." Environmental Science & Technology 50, no. 12:6180-6188. PNNL-SA-115077. doi:10.1021/acs.est.6b00159
  • Zhang W., D. Banerjee, J. Liu, H.T. Schaef, J.V. Crum, C.A. Fernandez, and R.K. Kukkadapu, et al. 2016. "Redox-Active Metal-Organic Composites for Highly Selective Oxygen Separation Applications." Advanced Materials 28, no. 18:3572-3577. PNNL-SA-112948. doi:10.1002/adma.201600259


  • Banerjee D., A. Cairns, J. Liu, R.K. Motkuri, S.K. Nune, C.A. Fernandez, and R. Krishna, et al. 2015. "Potential of Metal-Organic Frameworks for Separation of Xenon and Krypton." Accounts of Chemical Research 48, no. 2:211-219. PNNL-SA-104995. doi:10.1021/ar5003126
  • Fernandez C.A., S.K. Nune, H.V. Annapureddy, L.X. Dang, B.P. McGrail, F. Zheng, and E. Polikarpov, et al. 2015. "Hydrophobic and moisture-stable metal-organic frameworks." Dalton Transactions 44, no. 30:13490 - 13497. PNNL-SA-106696. doi:10.1039/C5DT00606F
  • Howe D.T., D.J. Taasevigen, M.A. Gerber, M.J. Gray, C.A. Fernandez, L. Saraf, and M. Garcia-Perez, et al. 2015. "Bed Agglomeration During the Steam Gasification of a High Lignin Corn Stover Simultaneous Saccharification and Fermentation (SSF) Digester Residue." Energy and Fuels 29, no. 12:8035-8046. PNNL-SA-112332. doi:10.1021/acs.energyfuels.5b01808
  • Jeon J., L. Zhang, J. Lutkenhaus, D.D. Laskar, J.P. Lemmon, D. Choi, and M.I. Nandasiri, et al. 2015. "Controlling Porosity in Lignin-Derived Nanoporous Carbon for Supercapacitor Applications." ChemSusChem 8, no. 3:428-432. PNNL-SA-106038. doi:10.1002/cssc.201402621
  • Jung H., K. Carroll, S. Kabilan, D.J. Heldebrant, D.W. Hoyt, L. Zhong, and T. Varga, et al. 2015. "Stimuli-Responsive/Rheoreversible Hydraulic Fracturing Fluids as a Greener Alternative to Support Geothermal and Fossil Energy Production." Green Chemistry 17, no. 5:2799-2812. PNNL-SA-106027. doi:10.1039/c4gc01917b
  • Motkuri R.K., P.K. Thallapally, H.V. Annapureddy, L.X. Dang, R. Krishna, S.K. Nune, and C.A. Fernandez, et al. 2015. "Separation of polar compounds using a flexible metal-organic framework." Chemical Communications 51, no. 40:8421-8424. PNNL-SA-106787. doi:10.1039/c5cc00113g
  • Polikarpov E., D. Catalini, A.B. Padmaperuma, P. Das, T.L. Lemmon, B.W. Arey, and C.A. Fernandez. 2015. "A High Efficiency Rare Earth-Free Orange Emitting Phosphor." Optical Materials 46. PNNL-SA-104437. doi:10.1016/j.optmat.2015.04.013
  • Shao H., S. Kabilan, S.A. Stephens, N. Suresh, A. Beck, T. Varga, and P.F. Martin, et al. 2015. "Environmentally Friendly, Rheoreversible, Hydraulic-fracturing Fluids for Enhanced Geothermal Systems." Geothermics 58. PNNL-SA-105984. doi:10.1016/j.geothermics.2015.07.010


  • Bonneville A., H. Jung, H. Shao, S. Kabilan, W. Um, K.C. Carroll, and T. Varga, et al. 2014. "Stimuli Responsive/Rheoreversible Hydraulic Fracturing Fluids for Enhanced Geothermal Energy Production (Part II)." In American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting, December 15-19, 2014, San Francisco, California, Abstract #H43A-0934. Washington, Dc:American Geophysical Union. PNNL-SA-104641.
  • Fernandez C.A., P.F. Martin, H.T. Schaef, M.E. Bowden, P.K. Thallapally, L.X. Dang, and W. Xu, et al. 2014. "An Electrically Switchable Metal-Organic Framework." Scientific Reports 12, no. 3:Article No. 6114. PNNL-SA-105621. doi:10.1038/srep06114
  • Jung H., S. Kabilan, J.P. Carson, A.P. Kuprat, W. Um, P.F. Martin, and M.E. Dahl, et al. 2014. "Wellbore cement fracture evolution at the cement-basalt caprock interface during geologic carbon sequestration." Applied Geochemistry 47. PNNL-SA-106261. doi:10.1016/j.apgeochem.2014.04.010
  • Liu J., C.A. Fernandez, P.F. Martin, P.K. Thallapally, and D.M. Strachan. 2014. "A Two-Column Method for the Separation of Kr and Xe from Process Off-Gases." Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research 53, no. 32:12893-12899. PNNL-SA-100864. doi:10.1021/ie502156h
  • Motkuri R.K., J. Liu, C.A. Fernandez, S.K. Nune, P.K. Thallapally, and B.P. McGrail. 2014. "Metal-Organic Frameworks - Synthesis and Applications." In Industrial Catalysis and Separations: Innovations for Process Intensification, edited by KV Raghavan and BM Reddy. 61-103. Waretown, New Jersey:Apple Academic Press Inc. PNNL-SA-97713.
  • Um W., H. Jung, S. Kabilan, C.A. Fernandez, and C.F. Brown. 2014. "Geochemical and geomechanical effects on wellbore cement fractures." Energy Procedia 63. PNNL-SA-105137. doi:10.1016/j.egypro.2014.11.613


  • Fernandez C.A., J. Liu, P.K. Thallapally, and D.M. Strachan. 2012. "Switching Kr/Xe Selectivity with Temperature in a Metal-Organic Framework." Journal of the American Chemical Society 134, no. 22:9046-9049. PNNL-SA-85894. doi:10.1021/ja302071t
  • Fernandez C.A., P.K. Thallapally, and B.P. McGrail. 2012. "Insights into the Temperature-Dependent “Breathing” of a Flexible Fluorinated Metal-Organic Framework." ChemPhysChem 13, no. 14:3275-3281. PNNL-SA-88461. doi:10.1002/cphc.201200243
  • Padmaperuma A.B., and C.A. Fernandez. 2012. "Heteroleptic cyclometalated Ir(III) complexes with charge transporting groups: A theoretical study." In Organic Light Emitting Materials and Devices XVI, August 12, 2012, San Diego, California. Proceedings of the SPIE, 8476. Bellingham, Washington:SPIE. PNNL-SA-88459. doi:10.1117/12.949510


  • Motkuri R.K., P.K. Thallapally, S.K. Nune, C.A. Fernandez, B.P. McGrail, J.L. Atwood, and J.L. Atwood. 2011. "Role of hydrocarbons in pore expansion and contraction of a flexible metal-organic framework." Chemical Communications 47, no. 25:7077-7079. PNNL-SA-77576. doi:10.1039/c1cc11738f


  • Fernandez C.A., P.K. Thallapally, J. Liu, and C.H. Peden. 2010. "Effect of Produced HCl during the Catalysis on Micro- and Mesoporous MOFs." Crystal Growth & Design 10, no. 9:4118-4122. PNNL-SA-70760. doi:10.1021/cg100796e
  • Fernandez C.A., P.K. Thallapally, R.K. Motkuri, S.K. Nune, J.C. Sumrak, J. Tian, and J. Liu. 2010. "Gas-Induced Expansion and Contraction of a Fluorinated Metal-Organic Framework." Crystal Growth & Design 10, no. 3:1037-1039. PNNL-SA-68508. doi:10.1021/cg9014948
  • Fernandez C.A., S.K. Nune, R.K. Motkuri, P.K. Thallapally, C.M. Wang, J. Liu, and G.J. Exarhos, et al. 2010. "Synthesis, characterization, and application of metal organic framework nanostructures." Langmuir 26, no. 24:18591-18594. PNNL-SA-75145. doi:10.1021/la103590t
  • Motkuri R.K., J. Tian, P.K. Thallapally, C.A. Fernandez, S.J. Dalgarno, J.E. Warren, and J.E. Warren, et al. 2010. "Flexible metal-organic supramolecular isomers for gas separation." Chemical Communications 46, no. 4:538-540. PNNL-SA-65215. doi:10.1039/b913910a
  • Thallapally P.K., C.A. Fernandez, R.K. Motkuri, S.K. Nune, J. Liu, and C.H. Peden. 2010. "Micro and Mesoporous Metal Organic Frameworks for Catalysis Applications." Dalton Transactions 39, no. 7:1692 - 1694. PNNL-SA-68558. doi:10.1039/b921118g
  • Thallapally P.K., R.K. Motkuri, C.A. Fernandez, B.P. McGrail, and G.s. Behrooz. 2010. "Prussian Blue Analogues for CO2 and SO2 Capture and Separation Applications." Inorganic Chemistry 49, no. 11:4909-4915. PNWD-SA-8578. doi:10.1021/ic902397w


  • Fernandez C.A., J. Roberts, E.M. Hoppes, G.E. Fryxell, C.M. Wang, J.T. Bays, and M.G. Warner, et al. 2009. "Effect of the Ligand Shell Composition on the Dispersibility and Transport of Gold Nanocrystals in Near Critical Solvents." Langmuir 25, no. 9:4900-4906. PNWD-SA-8342. doi:10.1021/la804058x
  • Fernandez C.A., J. Roberts, E.M. Hoppes, R.J. Wiacek, G.E. Fryxell, J.T. Bays, and M.G. Warner, et al. 2009. "Advancements Toward the Greener Processing of Engineered Nanomaterials -- Effect of Core Size on the Dispersibility and Transport of Gold Nanocrystals in Near-Critical Solvents." Small 5, no. 8:961-969. PNWD-SA-8223. doi:10.1002/smll.200801207


  • Fernandez C.A., E.M. Hoppes, J.G. Bekhazi, C.M. Wang, R.J. Wiacek, M.G. Warner, and G.E. Fryxell, et al. 2008. "Tuning and Quantifying the Dispersibility of Gold Nanocrystals in Liquid and Supercritical Solvents." Journal of Physical Chemistry C 112, no. 36:13947-13957. PNWD-SA-8129. doi:10.1021/jp8038237
  • Fernandez C.A., R.J. Wiacek, P. Nachimuthu, G.E. Fryxell, A.M. Pierson, C.L. Warner, and M.G. Warner, et al. 2008. "A Simple Method for the Prevention of Non-Specific Adsorption by Nanocrystals onto Surfaces." Journal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology 8, no. 11:5781-5786. PNWD-SA-7926. doi:10.1166/jnn.2008.320
  • Thallapally P.K., J. Tian, R.K. Motkuri, C.A. Fernandez, S.J. Dalgarno, B.P. McGrail, and J.E. Warren, et al. 2008. "Flexible (Breathing) Interpenetrated Metal-Organic Frameworks for CO2 Separation Applications." Journal of the American Chemical Society 130, no. 50:16842-16843. PNNL-SA-61822. doi:10.1021/ja806391k

Energy and Environment

Core Research Areas