CBE Professor Nitash Balsara is recognized for his research by the Secretary of Energy

October 11, 2018

electric car battery

More efficient, next generation batteries could make electric cars a reality for many more drivers as the cost to charge the battery is reduced, the car can go farther on a single charge, and they become more of an option for self-driving and car sharing companies.

Nitash Balsara, Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and the Charles W. Tobias Professor in Electrochemistry, is one of a group of scientists who have received a U.S. Secretary of Energy Achievement Award in Scientific and Operational Leadership for his research work with the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR). Twenty-nine individuals across multiple JCESR institutions were named as recipients of the award.

The JCESR team, led by Argonne National Laboratory, has literally, and figuratively, changed the formula for developing next-generation batteries. Experiments with new battery materials at the bench have resulted in the discovery of revolutionary new materials for beyond-lithium-ion prototypes.

"Many of us have long felt that JCESR is a special program, and it is gratifying that the Secretary, and others in DOE, believe it is as well," said JCESR Director George Crabtree. The program has been extended by the DOE for another five years.

Balsara’s startup, Blue Current, is also working to perfect a hybrid polymer-ceramic electrolyte. Polymers don’t conduct ions as well as ceramics, but ceramics are brittle. "The hybrid mixes the best of both worlds to stuff more energy into a battery, and it doesn’t crack when a car hits a bump,” Balsara says.

Balsara’s research, based at UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley Lab, is focused on the study of self-assembly and transport properties of nanostructured polymer materials for diverse applications such as lithium batteries, biofuel purification, and cancer treatment. Research includes materials design, synthesis, characterization, and performance evaluation in applications.

Read more about the JCESR awards here>