Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering News

Fisher Named John and Maureen Hendricks Energy Research Fellow

Fisher Named John and Maureen Hendricks Energy Research Fellow

Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering graduate student Aaron Fisher, advised by Fischell Department of Bioengineering professor Peter Kofinas, has been named a John and Maureen Hendricks Energy Research Fellow. Fisher's fellowship will support research that he and Kofinas have proposed on nanostructured polymer electrolytes. The work is to be carried out in Kofinas's Functional Macromolecular Laboratory.

The goal of the research is to develop innovative flexible battery electrolytes based on room temperature ionic liquids (RTIL) incorporated into polymer matrices, resulting in a solid electrolyte. An advance in battery technology of this kind could result in batteries capable of conforming to the shape of the device that requires them. Device designers would no longer have to "design around" a particular battery, which currently limits the form their products take. Instead they could design a battery to fit the device, winding them into coils or processing them as sheets.

Batteries made with the new solid polymer electrolytes would also be safer for people and the environment, because unlike common batteries we currently use they would not contain corrosive liquids and gels.

"Aaron is very motivated in pursuing polymer electrolyte research," said Kofinas of Fisher. "His organic chemistry background will be an asset to help continue this new research direction."

The John and Maureen Hendricks Energy Research Fellowship program, currently in its first year, was established by the John and Maureen Hendricks Charitable Foundation to support the efforts of the University of Maryland Energy Research Center (UMERC), a multidisciplinary initiative that focuses on advancing the frontiers of energy science and technology, particularly forward-looking approaches to alternative energy generation and storage.

The fellowship funds are part of a major contribution to the University's Great Expectations capital campaign. Of its $1 million contribution to the University System of Maryland, the John and Maureen Hendricks Charitable Foundation pledged $450,000 to UMERC. John Hendricks, chairman and founder of Discovery Communications, is a member of the University of Maryland College Park Foundation Board of Trustees.

Learn More:

Visit Professor Kofinas' homepage for overviews of current research in the Functional Macromolecular Laboratory »
Visit the Great Expectations Campaign web site »

February 2, 2009

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