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At the signing of the MOU in Singapore. Seated left to right: Prof Jackie Y. Ying, A*STAR Senior Fellow, NanoBio Lab, and Dr Karim Zaghib, General Director, Hydro-Québec CETEES. Standing left to right: Mr Guillaume Hayet, Senior Director, Commercial Projects, Hydro-Québec; Ms Noreena AbuBakar, Director, Corporate Administration, NanoBio Lab; Mr Lim Chuan Poh, Chairman, Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR); Dr Tan Sze Wee, Executive Director, Science and Engineering Council, A*STAR; and Dr Michel L. Trudeau, Group Leader, Materials Characterization, CETEES/ Credit: NanoBio Lab, A*STAR

At the signing of the MOU in Singapore. Seated left to right: Prof Jackie Y. Ying, A*STAR Senior Fellow, NanoBio Lab, and Dr Karim Zaghib, General Director, Hydro-Québec CETEES. Standing left to right: Mr Guillaume Hayet, Senior Director, Commercial Projects, Hydro-Québec; Ms Noreena AbuBakar, Director, Corporate Administration, NanoBio Lab; Mr Lim Chuan Poh, Chairman, Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR); Dr Tan Sze Wee, Executive Director, Science and Engineering Council, A*STAR; and Dr Michel L. Trudeau, Group Leader, Materials Characterization, CETEES/ Credit: NanoBio Lab, A*STAR

A*STAR's NanoBio Lab and Hydro-Québec to set up joint laboratory for battery research in Singapore

The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)’s NanoBio Lab and Canada’s Hydro-Québec have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to finance US$20 million for a joint laboratory for battery research.

The new facility which will be housed in Singapore’s biomedical research hub, Biopolis, and will employ over 30 researchers, will focus on making batteries more efficient and safer through the use of innovative nanomaterials.

Lithium-ion batteries are a popular choice for powering electronic devices, including tablets, fitness trackers and even vehicles, due to their high energy density, excellent durability and lightness. However, recent cases of exploding smartphones and hoverboards have raised safety concerns and sparked consumer fear.

The joint laboratory aims to improve solid-state batteries, which are considered to be a safer alternative to lithium-ion batteries, as they do not use flammable liquid electrolytes. In particular, the lab will focus on developing new nanomaterials and nanotechnologies for electric vehicles and energy storage that are safe, efficient and cost-effective.

Professor Jackie Y. Ying, who heads NanoBio Lab, said, “Since 2011, we have worked with Hydro-Québec to improve the performance and safety of existing batteries. Through in-depth technology exchange, we have created many interesting new materials, and we are delighted to significantly expand our collaboration in order to accelerate our technology R&D efforts towards commercialization.”

One of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers’ 100 Modern Engineers of Our Time and a Fellow of the U.S. National Academy of Inventors, Prof. Ying is a world-renowned nanotechnology researcher whose lab has invented several techniques for producing unique nanostructures that are tailored for various biomedical, catalytic and energy applications.

Hydro-Québec, owned by the Québec government, is Canada’s largest electricity producer and is among the world’s largest hydropower producers. Its research institute, IREQ, conducts R&D in energy efficiency, energy storage and other energy-related fields. Hydro-Québec invests $130 million in research every year. Recently, it announced the opening of a new Center of Excellence in Transportation Electrification and Energy Storage (CETEES), which is headed by Dr Karim Zaghib. Dr. Zaghib is an international expert on energy technologies, who has been named one of the World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds. CETEES has unique expertise in the development of battery and related technologies for the electrification of transport and creation of jobs in Québec.

“We approached Prof. Jackie Ying about seven years ago for a collaboration as we wanted to tap on her expertise in nanomaterials and nanotechnologies to develop new battery materials. Over the years, we have achieved excellent progress and are delighted to establish a joint research facility in this area with her new Lab. Together, we hope to contribute to more breakthroughs and advancements in safe battery technology, and look forward to manufacturing the new generation of solid-state batteries in Singapore and Québec,” said Dr. Zaghib, General Director of Hydro-Québec’s CETEES.

A*STAR Chairman Lim Chuan Poh congratulated NanoBio Lab and Hydro-Québec on the setting up of this joint laboratory on battery materials technology.

He said, “This is an emerging technology which could pave the way for cleaner and more renewable energy sources to power the next-generation of devices and vehicles. We look forward to developing and commercializing innovative energy storage solutions through this collaboration.” 

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