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Nanomaterials the way forward for better batteries

09 October, 2013

Electric cars may soon be powered by batteries which allow them to run between cities and make fewer stops to recharge, thanks to research by a young scientist from the University of Queensland (UQ).

Dr Da-Wei Wang, a postdostoral research fellow at UQ's School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences, was recently awarded the 2013 Scopus Young Researcher of the Year Award in Engineering and Technology for his work.

He says the aim of his research is to produce a battery for electric cars that has much greater energy storage than the batteries available: "My current focus is on carbon-based nanomaterials for use in high-energy lithium-sulfur batteries.

"These are rechargeable batteries which are light-weight, store a large amount of energy, and are made from a cheap and readily available material."

The Scopus Young Researcher of the Year Awards are part of a global initiative by Elsevier, a medical and scientific publishing company, to support early-career researchers in their quest to advance the frontiers of science across a broad range of disciplines.

Dr Wang's award recognised his contributions to new supercapacitors and energy storage nanotechnology.

Supercapacitors combine the short charging time of capacitors with the large energy storage of batteries, providing an energy storage system with potential uses in electric cars and fast-charging electronic devices.

The judging panel said Dr Wang's research has resulted in "substantial advances" and provided "fundamental new insights" into nanocarbon materials.

"His work involves a number of contributions directly relevant to both supercapacitor and novel battery energy storage systems," the panel said.

"These technologies are widely recognised as being a critical component to supporting renewable energy systems."

Dr Wang hopes the award will help him to share his research with the public and increase awareness of the new energy technologies being developed.

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