Graduate student Saran Pidaparthy receives Science Graduate Student Research Award from the DOE
Saran Pidaparthy, a MatSE PhD student in Professor Zuo’s lab, is one of 12 students to receive the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science Graduate Student Research (SCGSR) program award and will be given the chance to broaden his thesis research on fast charging lithium-ion electrode materials at DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory with Dr. Daniel Abraham.
Exemplary graduate students working towards a Ph.D. within the Office of Science’s priority research areas are awarded supplementary funds to perform their thesis research at national laboratories. The SCGSR program provides students high-level mentorship, technology, and resources for their theses, while preparing them for STEM careers at national laboratories.
Pidaparthy’s work addresses a key societal problem regarding energy storage capacity: what happens to lithium-ion electrode materials when they are subject to fast charging conditions?
“While we can already charge batteries rapidly by drawing more current, that comes at the cost of degradation to battery performance and lifetime,” said Pidaparthy. “With the combined expertise of our research group at UIUC and the expertise of Dr. Daniel Abraham and co-workers at Argonne National Laboratory, we hope to better understand the changes that occur in electrode materials subject to fast-charging through state of the art electron microscopy and diffraction,” he explained.
“The discoveries made and approaches developed from this work will hopefully provide a roadmap for targeted electrode materials engineering (e.g., size dependence, shape, composition, etc.) that can turn reliable fast-charging batteries into a reality.”
“From a practical standpoint, enabling reliable, safe, fast-charging Li-ion batteries is especially critical for electric vehicle (EV) technology to meet the expectations of today's consumers. Fast-charging EVs will alleviate consumer concerns regarding the existing slow EV recharging times and, more importantly, establish the technology as a competitive, clean-energy alternative for conventional gasoline-powered cars,” said Pidaparthy.