The NSW Minister for Science and Medical Research Jodi McKay today announced a new program initiative involving UOW that promises to have a huge impact on devices such as mobile phones and digital cameras.
The minister said researchers at UOW’s Intelligent Polymer Research Institute (IPRI) had been chosen as the first funding recipients of a joint technology program between the NSW Government and the South Korean province of Gangwon.
She made the $100,000 joint research grant announcement while making a special visit to IPRI based at the Australian Institute for Innovative Materials (AIIM Building) on the Innovation Campus.
Ms McKay said IPRI and Korean researchers would use nanotechnology to develop a new high-performance energy storage device.
“This is cutting edge research that is capable of making improvements to products that we use everyday,” Ms McKay said.
“High performance energy devices can mean longer lasting mobile phone and digital camera batteries.
“The research could also improve the performance of electric vehicles and enhance the State’s ability to harness wind and solar power technologies.”
Member for Wollongong Noreen Hay said it was great to see further potential ground-breaking research based in Wollongong.
“This is a very innovative research program and I’m ecstatic that it will take place in Wollongong,” Ms Hay said.
The University of Wollongong team will be led by Professor Gordon Wallace, who is Executive Research Director at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science and IPRI Director.
Professor Wallace said he had a great research team now in place ready to work on the project and said that international collaborations for this kind of research were vital.
NSW Chief Scientist and Scientific Engineer Professor Mary O’Kane said a new hybrid energy storage device could combine the advantages of both lithium-ion batteries and supercapacitors.
"Lithium-ion batteries store large amounts of energy but they don’t deliver that energy quickly. On the other hand, supercapacitors deliver energy quickly but can only store modest amounts,” Professor O’Kane said.
The researchers want to create a new hybrid device capable of storing and instantly generating large amounts of energy that can also be recharged many times.
“Such technology could have a major impact in the multi-billion dollar market for energy storage devices for mobile phones, personal digital assistants, and digital cameras.”
The NSW Government is supporting this research project through its Department of State and Regional Development to help drive innovation and develop high technology links with Gangwon.
“South Korea is an important partner in the Asia Pacific and there is strong potential for NSW and Gangwon to work together through this grants program to explore future business and economic opportunities,” Ms McKay said.
An independent assessment panel selected the University of Wollongong and Kangnung University (Gangwon) project based on its commercial potential, technical merit, applicant capability and overall benefit for NSW and Gangwon.