Work­ing with bat­ter­ies

Halifax pro­fes­sor wins Canada’s top sci­ence prize for bat­tery re­search

Cape Breton Post - - CAPE BRETON/ATLANTIC -

A Halifax pro­fes­sor who is work­ing with Tesla to make bet­ter lithium-ion bat­ter­ies has won the $1-mil­lion Herzberg prize, Canada’s top sci­ence award.

Dr. Jeff Dahn of Dal­housie Univer­sity was to re­ceive the Ger­hard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Sci­ence and En­gi­neer­ing Tues­day evening in Ot­tawa.

The univer­sity says Dahn, 60, is one of the world’s lead­ing bat­tery re­searchers, work­ing on lithium and lithium-ion bat­ter­ies since 1978.

Last sum­mer, he be­gan a “five-year ex­clu­sive re­search part­ner­ship’’ with Tesla Mo­tors, the Cal­i­for­nia elec­tric car com­pany headed by CEO Elon Musk.

“Some of the goals of their col­lab­o­ra­tion are to de­velop lithium-ion bat­ter­ies for automobiles and grid en­ergy stor­age that are cheaper, more pow­er­ful and longer last­ing, thus help­ing to en­sure the wider adop­tion of elec­tric ve­hi­cles and re­new­able en­ergy,’’ ac­cord­ing to the Nat­u­ral Sciences and En­gi­neer­ing Re­search Coun­cil of Canada, which awards the Herzberg prize.

Dal­housie says Dahn has been fo­cused on find­ing novel ma­te­ri­als to meet in­creas­ing de­mand for the bat­ter­ies, while im­prov­ing pro­duc­tion, stor­age and sus­tain­abil­ity.

Dahn has been a pi­o­neer in bat­ter­ies for mo­bile de­vices, help­ing make lithium-ion bat­ter­ies “part of our ev­ery­day lives,’’ the re­search coun­cil says.

It says Dahn per­formed fun­da­men­tal stud­ies on all of the ma­te­ri­als used in lithium-ion bat­ter­ies and helped in­vent some of the pos­i­tive-elec­trode ma­te­ri­als used in lithi­u­mion cells for power tools, grid en­ergy stor­age and elec­tric ve­hi­cles.

Two com­pa­nies have been spun off from the Dahn Lab at Dal­housie.

Dahn was born in Bridge­port, Conn., and moved to Nova Sco­tia in 1970 with his fam­ily.

The univer­sity says it is the third time in four years that a Dal­housie re­searcher has won the Herzberg prize. Dahn also won the Gover­nor Gen­eral’s In­no­va­tion Award last year.


Dr. Jeff Dahn of Dal­housie Univer­sity in Halifax re­ceived the $1-mil­lion Ger­hard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Sci­ence and En­gi­neer­ing Tues­day in Ot­tawa. Dahn is seen here in his lab­o­ra­tory in an un­dated hand­out photo.

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