Associate Professor Chunsheng Wang
About Dr. Wang
Ph.D., Zhejiang University, China, 1995
Before joining ChBE faculty in 2007, Dr. Wang was a Research Scientist in the Center for Electrochemical Systems and Hydrogen Research at Texas A&M University from 1999 to 2003, then a faculty member in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Tennessee Technological University (TTU). His research interests are fuel cells, batteries, supercapacitors, sensors and solar cells. He has published over 50 papers in peer-reviewed journals, and was the recipient of the TTU Chapter of Sigma Xi's Research Award in 2006, and his work on solvent-free composite PEO-ceramic fiber/mat electrolytes for lithium batteries was featured as one of their more promising battery technologies in the November 2006 edition of the NASA Technology Brief. Dr. Wang's work has been supported by NASA, the ARO, and the NSF.
For a more in-dephth discussion of Dr. Wang's research, please visit his web site.
Fuel cells and advanced batteries are the primary research interests of Dr. Wang's research group. Thermal and water management, CO tolerance, cost, and durability are widely considered as key technical barriers for commercialization of Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells (PEMFCs). Dr. Wang's goal is to overcome these barriers through the development of an oxide ion and proton co-ion conducting material as an electrolyte, resulting in a fuel cell with greater efficiency and the ability to operate under high temperatures. His group is currently collaborating with scientists at Oak Ridge National Lab (ORNL) on the characterization of these co-ion conductive materials.
One of the key challenges of the current lithium ion battery technology to power an EV/HEV (electric vehicle/hybrid electric vehicle) is its poor rate performance, which can not meet the peak power demands for vehicular applications such as starting, accelerating, and uphill driving. The development of electrode materials with high rate capabilities is a critical issue to realize the commercialization of rechargeable lithium ion batteries as a power source for EV/HEV. Dr. Wang's group is to develop a comprehensive model and propose a reliable tool to evaluate the cathode materials for advanced Li-ion batteries.
Dr. Wang's group will also continue working with scientists at ORNL and in industry on interface-less thin film batteries. The interface-less battery structure can also be used in supercapacitors, and other kind of batteries, which will generate a new generation micro/nano- power source.
Q&A with Dr. Wang
What impact could your work have on society or consumers?
The increased dependence on imported oil has led to energy security and climate change concerns. As demand for energy increases, we'll need innovative solutions to improve energy efficiency and develop of alternative fuels. My research addresses these challenges through the development of advanced batteries, solar cells and hydrogen fuel cells. Advanced batteries can be used in a hybrid electric vehicle (HEV), which draws on both an internal combustion engine (ICE) and an electric motor. Fuel cells are an efficient means to convert chemical energy into electrical energy with little or no emissions. Fuel cells and batteries are therefore expected to be an important energy technology for the future.
What attracted you to the Clark School?
The high quality of the research, good character of its students, excellent reputation, and nice opportunities for collaboration with other creative and energetic faculty members attracted me to the Clark School.
Why should young engineers consider chemical and biomolecular engineering for their field of study?
Chemical and biomolecular engineering allows us to take on the challenges in nanotechnology, materials, biotechnology, energy conversion and storage, and climate changes. ChBE combines basic chemistry knowledge with engineering principles and provides the foundation for all of these high technologies. Also, chemical engineers have the highest average starting salaries [among engineering disciplines] and the strong demand for chemical engineers are always attractive.
Tell us about a "must take" elective in your department (whether you teach it or not)—why do you recommend it to students?
I recommend courses related to energy generation, conversion and storage. Electrochemical energy conversion (fuel cells) and storage (batteries) are in massive and rapidly growing demand as the power source for stationary systems, portable devices and electric vehicles. Fuel cells and batteries are efficient, vibration free, noiseless, environmentally-friendly alternatives to conventional energy sources. Industry will need many researchers and engineers to develop fuel cells and batteries in the very near future.