Collaboration set to power sustainable energy research in China and Australia

Professor Kening Sun (left) and Professor Guoxiu Wang, picture by Alex McAlpin

Professor Kening Sun (left) and Professor Guoxiu Wang, picture by Alex McAlpin

In summary: 
  • UTS and Beijing Institute of Technology researchers will collaborate on innovations in sustainable energy storage and nanotechnologies that can be commercialised in both countries
  • The partnership will support work on shared interests in energy efficient lithium batteries, solid oxide fuel cells and pollution reduction

Leading researchers in sustainable energy technologies in China and Australia are joining forces to accelerate the development of solutions that can be commercialised in both countries.

The UTS Centre for Clean Energy Research is partnering with Beijing Institute of Technology's (BIT) School of Chemical Engineering and Environment to develop innovations in sustainable energy storage and nanotechnologies.

Researchers from both laboratories have laid the groundwork for joint research and shared PhD supervision thanks to the Key Technology Partnership (KTP) between UTS and BIT.

Professor Kening Sun, Dean of BIT's School of Chemical Engineering and Environment, recently spent three weeks at UTS meeting with fellow researchers to discuss new ways that their laboratories can collaborate.  

"Professor Sun is a pioneer researcher in the fields of energy and sustainability, so I think it's very important that UTS is collaborating with his laboratory at BIT, one of China's top universities," says Professor Guoxiu Wang, Director of the UTS Centre for Clean Energy Technology.

"We need to be thinking creatively and collaboratively about new technologies that can boost our economy and improve environmental outcomes. BIT has strong research and development programs supported by the Chinese central government and also by industry, so it's good for us to be collaborating with them.

"Through our collaboration, we can create new technologies which can be applied in Australia. In this case, to reduce pollution from vehicles and coal fired power plants."

Professor Wang and Professor Sun share research interests in the development of energy efficient lithium batteries, solid oxide fuel cells, as well as nanomaterials and nanotechnology. Their collaboration will enhance their combined research capabilities and will open the door to commercialise their research in both Australia and China.

"Our research is very complementary. Through this partnership we can mentor each other and collaborate to generate outcomes not just for high impact academic research but also for industry application and commercialisation," says Professor Wang.

"For example, Professor Sun has focused on the purification of gases released from coal fired power plants. In Australia, we are heavily dependent on coal fired power plants to supply electricity so I believe there is a real need for his technologies in Australia."

Professor Sun welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with Professor Wang on his research on energy-efficient lithium batteries.

"Pollution is a big problem in the world, especially in China, so I would definitely like to see more collaboration between our labs and more exchange opportunities for PhD students and academics," says Professor Sun.

"I'm particularly interested in Professor Wang's research on lithium batteries. I think this is especially exciting and could result in reduced greenhouse gas emissions when applied to electric cars."

Professor Sun travelled to UTS under the KTP Visiting Fellows Program, a keystone feature of the KTP program, which strengthens UTS's research ties through academic exchange opportunities between the university and its international academic network.

Sun and Wang plan to deepen their collaboration and facilitate research collaboration and research training between their respective research groups, as well as engage with industry and apply for joint research grants in Australia and China.

"The Australian Government is encouraging universities to consider developing new, innovative technologies to boost the economy in the so-called post-mining boom era," says Professor Wang.

"Our research has serious potential for commercialisation and industry application in electric vehicles, renewable energy storage, as well as reducing pollutants in the oil and power industry. For researchers in Australia, and especially China, application is very important."