New Electrochemistry Prize Announced

Volkswagen's winning entry into the 2011 RAC future car challenge - a Golf powered by lithium-ion batteries. Image: Volkswagen.

BASF and Volkswagen announced this week that they are launching an international initiative to promote research in the field of electrochemistry. The “Science Award Electrochemistry” is intended to promote outstanding scientific and engineering achievements and provide impetus for the development of high-performance energy stores. The Science Award will be presented annually and is aimed at top scientists in the global academic research community. This is the first time that a science award will be jointly presented by two companies across two industry sectors. The award is endowed with prize money of €50,000.

Candidates for the Science Award can apply on the internet platform (www.science-award.com) by submitting the necessary documents; the deadline for application is August 3, 2012. This site also describes the requirements for participation, the procedure, and the selection process. The entries will be judged by a jury of experts from BASF, Volkswagen, and representatives from the world of science. The award ceremony will be held on October 22, 2012, in Wolfsburg, Germany.

New, efficient drive concepts such as electromobility based on regenerative energies require innovative energy stores. Expert electrochemical knowledge is essential for developing these new storage systems and thus for climate-friendly supply of regenerative energy. Existing energy stores do not yet offer the performance that customers have come to expect in the energy supply and mobility sectors. BASF and Volkswagen, with their outstanding research competence as leading companies in their sectors, are therefore offering the Science Award to motivate top-rank researchers to further increase their participation in the field of electrochemistry and its applications. The prize money is intended as start-up funding for further research activities and is to be used for laboratory equipment, scientific events, or to fund highly qualified employees.

As the world’s largest automotive supplier in the chemical industry, BASF is working intensively to develop innovative battery components such as cathode materials and electrolytes that allow the production of high-performance lithium-ion batteries. “Batteries are the key technology for the electromobility of the future. With the Science Award we are supporting highly qualified scientists around the world so that new future-capable battery technologies can be researched and developed even faster,” explained Dr. Kurt Bock, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF SE. The company is making a key contribution to developing affordable, eco-friendly, and sustainable electric automobiles. “Our high-performance battery materials and other innovative functional components will allow a greater driving range with reduced weight and lower costs,” said Bock.

Dr. Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG, states: “This science award is intended to motivate and carry forward innovative thinking. Because the further development of high-performance batteries is indispensable in order to boost the driving range and thus the appeal of electric vehicles. We have set ourselves the ambitious goal of ensuring that Volkswagen battery systems will facilitate reliable day-to-day operations for 10 years, thus lasting for a normal automotive life span.”

Source: BASF

Comments

  1. Klaus D. Beccu, Ph.D. says:

    Much higher energy density, longer life (10 years), lower cost, fast recharge and no safety problems! This seems to be more a dream than having a reasonable chance for a realistic future. The present limitations of Li-ion, especially lifetime, cost and safety provide a picture of the problems to solve – often “put under the table”.  Billions of R&D funds have been devoted in the last few years to overcome the limitations – without much success.  It is time to recognize that electrochemical storage systems have natural limits – especially in terms of extended reversibility: the laws of “system entropy” have a strong power ! The problems of battery energy storage will only be overcome by focussing on energy conversion via fuel cells, with preference for liquid fuels (easy to store and to transport) e.g. in DMFC fuel cells.

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