Mechanical engineer’s work named in The Guardian’s top 10 science stories of 2022

December 21, 2022

By Mariah R. Lucas

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Electric vehicle battery research conducted by Chao-Yang Wang, the William E. Diefenderfer Professor of Mechanical Engineering in the Penn State College of Engineering, was named one of the top ten most significant scientific developments of the year by The Guardian. Wang served as corresponding author of the Oct. 12 Nature paper, which introduced smaller, more affordable, faster-charging battery technology, along with co-authors from State College-based startup EC Power.

“I am very humbled and honored to see our work on fast-charging batteries selected as one of the 10 biggest science stories in 2022 alongside other great scientific achievements,” Wang said. “Our discoveries have a profound impact on electric vehicles in particular and electrified society in general as it maximizes the utilization of battery energy and enables battery downsizing for an affordable and sustainable energy future.”

The technology allows for 10-minute charging on any electric vehicle battery and cuts down on the need for raw materials, such as cobalt and lithium, due to a process called internal thermal modulation. The new battery structure utilizes an ultrathin nickel foil, which self-regulates the battery’s temperature and reactivity — reducing the need for external, bulky heating and cooling systems.

“The basic principles of a battery haven’t changed, but the potential of the newest versions is astonishing and getting better all the time,” wrote Helen Czerski in the Guardian article. Czerski is a research fellow in mechanical engineering at the University College London.

Wang’s work was named alongside the 2022 Fields Medal winners in mathematics for their work on analytic number theory and the 2022 Nobel Prize winners in physics for their work on quantum entanglement.


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