Waterloo chemists named Energy finalists in the 2018 World Technology Awards

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

WTN finalist badgeWaterloo chemistry Professor Linda Nazar, postdoctoral fellow Chun Xia and PhD student Chun Yuen Kwok were named a finalist in the Energy (individual) category of the 2018 World Technology Awards. Annual award winners and finalists become Fellows of the World Technology Network.

Founded in 1997 by Jim Clark, the World Technology Network (WTN) is a peer-elected community of the world’s most innovative individuals in science, technology and related fields. 

The WTN brings key players together through global and regional events to encourage serendipitious ideas and relationships and accelerate discoveries. The WTN and its members are focused on exploring what is imminent, possible and important in and around emerging technologies.

The World Technology Awards are presented each year to the outstanding innovators from each sector within the technology arena, both as a way to honor those individuals and as a vetting mechanism to determine the newest WTN members.

More than 1,000 nominations were submitted for the 2018 awards, which include 20 individual and 10 organization/corporation categories in areas such as design, education, law, medical sciences and technology. 

The Waterloo chemists were nominated for their breakthrough towards creating a rechargeable lithium-oxygen battery. The high theoretical-energy density of lithium-oxygen batteries and their relatively light weight have made them the Holy Grail of rechargeable battery systems. But long-standing issues with the battery’s chemistry and stability have previously kept them a purely academic curiosity.

The group successfully resolved two of the most challenging issues surrounding lithium-oxygen batteries, and created a working battery with near 100 per cent coulombic efficiency.

Their Science paper proved that four-electron conversion for lithium-oxygen electrochemistry is highly reversible. The team was the first to achieve four-electron conversion, which doubles the electron storage of lithium-oxygen, also known as lithium-air, batteries.

There are limitations based on thermodynamics,” said Linda Nazar, University Professor and Canada Research Chair in Solid State Energy Materials. “Nevertheless, our work has addressed fundamental issues that people have been trying to resolve for a long time.”

MIT Professor Asegun Henry won the individual energy category for his "sun in a box" renewable energy storage system for the grid. It should provide cheaper solar- or wind-generated power on demand than other leading options.

The other Energy (Individual category) finalists were:

  • Gideon Grader, Avner Rothschild, Avigail Landman and Hen Dotan, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology
  • Christopher Reyes and Benjamin Wiley, Duke University 
  • Bill Gross and Andrea Pedretti, co-founders of Energy Vault 
  • Huanping Zhou, Peking University
  • William Woodford, co-founder and CTO, Form Energy

Congratulations to the Nazar Group on being named a 2018 World Technology Network Energy Award Finalist!

Learn more about the Nazar Group's discovery by reading, Chemists make breakthrough on road to creating a rechargeable lithium-oxygen battery.