Department of Physics & Astronomy professor receives NSF CAREER Award for work on zinc-ion batteries

LAWRENCE — A University of Kansas researcher from the Department of Physics & Astronomy has been chosen for a prestigious CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation for his innovative work with zinc-ion batteries.

Hartwin Peelaers
Hartwin Peelaers

Hartwin Peelaers, assistant professor of physics & astronomy, received a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award from the NSF for “Computational Design of High-Performing V205 Cathodes for Zinc-ion Batteries.”

The five-year, $504,566 grant will be used to design stable cathode material for zinc-ion batteries, which will improve their performance and longevity through state-of-the-art computational modeling. Zinc-ion batteries are a sustainable alternative to the more widely used lithium-ion batteries, which currently are in everything from mobile phones to electric vehicles.

Peelaers said a major application of his research is that it will help promote green energy sources in a cost-efficient, reliable and safe manner.

“This award will allow me to develop a new research line on a topic that can beneficially impact society by performing the necessary basic materials research on new, safe and Earth-abundant zinc-ion batteries that can provide cheap and reliable grid-scale energy storage so that more intermittent energy resources like wind and solar can be included in the electricity grid,” Peelaers said.

Along with developing zinc-ion batteries, the project also plans to increase diversity within STEM fields through outreach, research opportunities for high school and undergraduate students and an increase of underrepresented students admitted to Ph.D. programs.

“We are delighted that the NSF has recognized Professor Peelaers for his outstanding work,” said Arash Mafi, executive dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. “His research will not only further scientific learning, but will also provide a safer, more Earth-friendly alternative for powering electronic devices.”

The NSF CAREER Award is the most prestigious award given to faculty members beginning their independent careers. The program intends to provide support to professionals to further outstanding research through commitment to teaching, learning and disseminating knowledge. 

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Fri, 03/08/2024


Ranjit Arab

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Ranjit Arab

College of Liberal Arts & Sciences