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

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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