IUB alumnus wins NASA grant for next gen space tech battery research

April 17, 2023

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Independent University, Bangladesh (IUB) alumnus Md. Wahidul Hasan, a PhD candidate and research assistant at the South Dakota Mines, USA, and his team have won the prestigious NASA EPSCoR grant worth USD 750,000 to fund research into the next generation of lithium-sulphur batteries for use in space technology. The grant follows an innovation leading to the use of corn stalk residues to stabilise battery chemistry and nearly double charging capacity of current technology.

Wahid, who obtained BSc degree in 2013 and MSc in 2016 in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from IUB and also taught Computer Science and Engineering at IUB, specialises in solid state lithium sulphur battery and electrochemical energy storage.

The Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) establishes partnerships with government, higher education and industry that are designed to effect lasting improvements in a state or region’s research infrastructure, research and development (R&D) capacity and its national R&D competitiveness.

According to a NASA press release issued last month, the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology will look to create a new lithium-sulphur battery technology that is superior to existing lithium-ion batteries. Improving the power capacity and life of batteries could help NASA power rockets, spacecraft, and habitats on the Moon, and eventually, Mars.

“Lithium sulphur battery is a relatively new type of battery that is still in the development and testing phase but it has already shown promise as a next generation energy storage technology. Sulphur is abundant in nature and we got the carbon from Corn stalks, making it a bio product, which means it is going through a renewable process. Therefore, we can definitely say that this battery is a source of renewable energy,” said Wahid.

“In recent times, the USA is focusing on promoting electric vehicles because they suit climate goals and help protect the environment. This technology, once fully matured, can be used in transportation and thus immensely help in reducing pollution in a developing country like Bangladesh,” added Wahid.

Apart from pursuing his PhD education and the research on lithium-sulphur battery technology, he aims at doing further research on developing carbon emission free renewable energy and battery storage. Wahid also plans to set up a research facility in Bangladesh for young scientists to develop new technologies.

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