Nova Scotia

Dalhousie University battery researcher Jeff Dahn wins award

Dalhousie University professor Jeff Dahn researches how to increase the amount of energy Lithium-ion batteries can store.

Dahn says research will one day make electric cars more accessible to consumers

Dr. Jeff Dahn (right) in his Dalhousie University lab. (Stephen Puddicombe/CBC)

A Dalhousie University professor has been awarded one of the first Governor General's Innovation Awards for his work to help increase the amount of energy Lithium-ion batteries can store.

Battery researcher Jeff Dahn is one of six Canadians to receive the brand new award. The GGIA was created to celebrate excellence in innovation and inspire youth to consider a career as entrepreneurial innovators.

Dahn and his research team have concentrated their studies on Lithium-ion batteries, working to help increase the amount of energy they can store, develop ways to test and increase their lifespan, and reduce their cost.

Dahn and his research team have concentrated their studies on Lithium-ion batteries. (Stephen Puddicombe/CBC)

Dahn says his team is now trying to make batteries that will last more than 30 years. He says that's especially important for medical implants.

"In that case you want the implanted battery to last the lifetime of the patient. So it's implanted, it's able to be charged inductively inside the patient and you never want to explant it," he said.

Dahn credits his students with driving the research and said it will one day make electric cars more accessible to consumers.

"Lithium-ion cells for grid energy storage, energy storage on a huge scale, with huge batteries, you don't want to replace them, it's so expensive," he said.

Dahn says his team is now trying to make batteries that will last more than 30 years. (Stephen Puddicombe/CBC)

In announcing the award, Dalhousie said Dahn is set to end a research contract with 3M Canada and is about to start a five-year partnership with Tesla Motors to further his studies into batteries.

The award ceremony will be held on May 19  at Rideau Hall in Ottawa.

With files from Stephen Puddicombe

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