Lerato Molefe

PhD Candidate

After finishing matric in 2009, Lerato Molefe enrolled at the University of the Western Cape to
pursue a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemical Science. She completed a BSc in Chemical Science
(2013), followed by a BSc Honours in Chemistry Cum Laude (2014), and MSc Nanoscience Cum Laude
(2016) all from University of the Western Cape. Miss Lerato Molefe joined the CSIR, Energy Centre-
Energy materials in April 2016 and is currently completing her PhD in Chemistry with the University
of Johannesburg. Her current doctoral research at HySA Infrastructure Centre of Competence,
focuses on the development of polymer-based carbon or metal-organic frameworks (MOFs)
composites as a strategy for shaping and improving properties of MOFs (normally obtained as loose
powders) for easy handling and enhanced hydrogen uptake capacities in hydrogen storage


M.Sc Nanoscience (Cum Laude) – University of the Western Cape, Bellville, 2016

B.Sc Hons. Chemistry (Cum Laude) – University of the Western Cape, Bellville, 2014

B.Sc Chemical Sciences – University of the Western Cape, Bellville, 2013

Recent Publications

Molefe, L.Y., Musyoka, N.M., Ren, J., Langmi, H.W., Ndungu, P.G., Dawson, R. et al. (2019). Synthesis of porous polymer-based metal–organic frameworks monolithic hybrid composite for hydrogen storage application. J. Mater. Sci. 54, 7078-7086. doi: 10.1007/s10853-019-03367-1


Synthesis and modifications of polymer-based carbon/metal organic framework composites for hydrogen applications


This study presents various innovative strategies for shaping powdered materials (carbon/MOFs) by
fabricating hierarchical porous monoliths of PIM-1/MIL-101(Cr), PIM-1/UiO-66(Zr), PIM-1/ZTC and
PIM-1/UiO-66/ZTC composites exhibiting attractive and enhanced hydrogen uptake capacities. The
PIM-1 based composites were prepared by a simple direct impregnation of PIM-1 with powder fillers
by physical mixing in a suitable solvent forming self-standing monoliths of different shapes
possessing easy handling properties. In other strategy, a mixture of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene,
UiO-66 and ZTC was extruded into filaments and 3D printed using a conventional and commercially

available thermoplastic 3D printer to produce mechanically stable monoliths. Furthermore, the
effect of the inclusion of carbon materials on thermal properties of MOF/polymer composites was
also investigated. The ability of shaping MOF and carbon powders without adversely compromising
their essential properties as shown in this project will help in accelerating the transition of porous
MOFs from laboratory to application-specific properties that are aimed for real practical H 2 storage

Supervisors: Dr. Nicholas M. Musyoka (CSIR), Prof. Patrick G. Ndungu (University of Johannesburg)