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UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering

Unlocking Battery Mysteries at UC San Diego

San Diego, CA, March 31, 2015 -- Unless you are directly involved in the hard work of improving battery performance while reducing costs, here is a detail you probably don’t know: in many ways, batteries are still a black box.

Sure, it’s well known that rechargeable batteries allow energy to be stored in chemical form — and to be converted between electrical and chemical forms. But how exactly does a specific kind of battery wear out? And why isn’t there a battery that lasts forever?

To answers these kinds of questions, you need to know what is happening in the battery at the level of atoms and molecules. And you need to know what is happening exactly where one battery component meets another battery component — at the interfaces.

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Shirley Meng, UC San Diego NanoEngineering professor, in her Laboratory for Energy Storage and Conversion

University of California, San Diego NanoEngineering professor Shirley Meng will provide an insider’s look at the future of battery research for electric vehicles, microgrids, photovoltaics, wind turbines, wearables and more on April 16 at Research Expo at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering.

Meng directs a new research center at the UC San Diego — the Sustainable Power and Energy Center — that is doing the research necessary to understand what is happening on the atomisitic and molecular level at materials interfaces inside batteries.

At Research Expo, Meng will give a 20-minute tech talk on “The Future of Sustainable Power and Energy.”

Research Expo also provies the opportunity to meet many of the graduate students involved with the Sustainable Power and Energy Center at UC San Diego.

Sustainable Power and Energy Center

As the phrase “sustainable power and energy” suggests, the scope of the Center extends beyond batteries. Center research includes flexible and wearable solar; heat to electricity by thermoelectrics; supercapacitor materials; novel catalysts for fuel cells and more.

UC San Diego’s world-renowned microgrid serves as a real-world test-bed for the Center’s new materials, devices and power-management systems, which are rooted in thoughtful analyses of the economics of distributed energy. At every point along the way, the Center trains and mentors students to become tomorrow’s workforce for green and advanced energy.

Learn more at the UC San Diego Sustainable Power and Energy Center website.

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