Indian-origin researcher Neeraj Sharma has been given the ‘Early Career Researcher of the Year’ award by the Australian government for developing next-generation battery systems such as sodium-ion battery that will leave minimal environmental impact.
Thirty-five-year-old Sharma, a professor at University of South Wales (UNSW)’s School of Chemistry, was handed over the award at the Government House in Sydney by New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Tuesday, the varsity said in a statement.
“To develop the next generation of technologies we need better performance, at a lower environmental cost. My work explores lithium-ion batteries – found in electronic devices, electric vehicles and the grid – as well as next-generation battery systems such as sodium-ion batteries. I find the study of sodium-ion batteries particularly fascinating and we have been developing new electrodes for these systems,” Sharma said.
The awarded research explores inherently safe solid-state batteries, energy-dense lithium-sulfur batteries, dual function solar batteries and methods for recycling.
“We can enable and enhance the uptake of electric vehicles, ensure batteries are recycled leaving minimal environmental impact, and transition away from fossil fuels for energy generation and transportation. There is significant opportunity to shape how we live into the future.
“As researchers we are all working in our niche and there is potential, sometimes it is obvious as in batteries and at other times it is more subtle – but research really does change the world,” he said.