University of Waterloo
Dr. Zhongwei Chen is overcoming some of the biggest obstacles to clean energy by developing new materials that make batteries and fuel cells smaller, lighter and longer-lasting.
Chen has made major advancements in low-cost nanomaterials for fuel cells, batteries and supercapacitors that could help drive down the costs of fuel cells by reducing or even eliminating the need for precious metals such as platinum and palladium.
A partnership with the General Motors Global Research and Development Centre has produced a patented technology for lithium-ion batteries that enables smartphones and other electronic devices to last 40 to 60 per cent longer between charges, and electric cars that can drive 500 kilometres further.
Chen’s start-up company, WatTech Power Inc., is commercializing a rechargeable battery technology that turns intermittently available renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, into reliable sources of back-up power for regions that experience frequent power outages, and that lowers electricity bills by minimizing the amount of power purchased during high-cost periods.