New Generation Electric Vehicles and Battery-Powered Building to be Showcased

Chinese battery pioneer is donating $2.5 million worth of batteries that he developed and giving $600,000 for battery and clean energy research

Electric London-style taxis, powered by batteries developed by Winston Chung.

These electric London-style taxis, powered by batteries developed by Winston Chung, will be on display at UC Riverside on Wednesday, Nov. 9.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) — A new generation of electric vehicles and $2.5 million worth of batteries that will power a building will be on display Wednesday, Nov. 9 at the University of California, Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering as officials announce the latest round of support from a Chinese battery inventor and clean energy pioneer.

Winston Chung, the founder, chairman and CEO of Winston Global Energy in China who earlier this year donated $10 million to the engineering college, is donating a 1.1-megawatt bank of rare earth lithium-ion batteries that were developed by his company. The system, the first of its kind in the United States, has the potential to reduce the electric bill for a comparable building by $22,000 per year.

Chung is also funding six, $100,000 research grants for faculty at the Bourns College of Engineering. The research will focus on battery and energy projects, which could significantly improve cell phone, laptop and hybrid vehicle batteries. The grants are renewable for two years and, at the end, could be valued at $1.8 million.

Chung will be represented on Wednesday, Nov. 9 by his son, Zhifan Zhong, president of Winston Battery Limited and vice chairman of Winston Global Energy. He oversees the company’s daily operations of more than 1,300 employees, including the battery manufacturing plant.

Zhong will be available to meet with reporters at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 9 to discuss the electric vehicles, including a London-style taxi, and the 40-foot-long battery installation. Reporters can meet him at Winston Chung Hall (formerly Engineering Building II) at UC Riverside, 900 University Ave., Riverside.

A ceremony later in the afternoon will mark the official unveiling of the building name in recognition of Chung’s support.

Shelf of batteries being installed.

A 40-foot-long array of batteries being installed in Winston Chung Hall.

The first phase of the battery project, which was just installed, will power the first floor of Winston Chung Hall. Later, the system will power the entire four-story, 90,000-square-foot building. Excess power will be returned to the grid operated by Riverside Public Utilities.

A photovoltaic solar “farm” being developed will generate power for the campus and charge the batteries in Winston Chung Hall during peak sunlight hours. Non-fossil-fuel burning energy solutions such as solar photovoltaics and wind turbines are limited to daylight hours or times of sufficient wind. The batteries close that loop by providing a way to gather and store that energy.

Reza Abbaschian, dean of the Bourns College of Engineering, said Chung’s storage solutions are a perfect match with the College of Engineering-Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-CERT) and its Southern California Research Initiative on Solar Energy. The center will also host the Winston Chung Global Energy Center, which is being created through Chung’s initial $10 million gift to UC Riverside.

“Winston Chung has developed a truly revolutionary solution to one of the biggest obstacles we face in the development of clean, sustainable energy solutions — storage,” Abbaschian said. “We’re proud to be working with him and his team on these important technical challenges. With the ongoing improvements in photovoltaics and battery storage systems we are developing at the Winston Chung Global Energy Center, there is no limit to the innovative solutions we will demonstrate in the years ahead. This is an exciting time for our college, our faculty and the students who will take this new knowledge from our college into the world.”

Matthew Barth, director of CE-CERT and Yeager Families Professor of Engineering, is also excited about Chung’s continued commitment of UC Riverside.

“Winston Chung’s support for our research efforts goes far beyond his philanthropy,” he said. “He has developed solutions that address some of the major challenges of a sustainable energy future and his experience and knowledge in large-scale energy storage systems are an asset and inspiration to us in our work. He shares our commitment to a holistic approach to energy systems development that integrates generation, storage and distribution.”

In April, Chung gave the university $10 million, the largest gift from an individual in campus history, to support two professorships in the Bourns College of Engineering and to establish the Winston Chung Global Energy Center. The center will initially focus on bio-inspired technology and the development of clean energy and energy storage.

Two months later, Chung was back on campus to be honored as the inaugural Fellow of the College.

Chung’s company invests, manufactures and markets energy storage solutions and lithium batteries. In October, the United Nations Association of New York recognized that work by presenting Chung its Inaugural Social Entrepreneur and Philanthropist of the Year Award.

He hopes to further advance that work by giving $100,000 for each of the following projects by UC Riverside professors:

  • Alexander Balandin, a professor of electrical engineering and chair of materials science and engineering, whose research focuses on graphene, a one-atom thick flake of ordinary carbon that has unique electrical and thermal properties, will work on developing graphene-based electrodes, which will help to efficiently remove heat from batteries when they are charging. He will also investigate possible techniques to keep batteries at optimal temperatures for better performance and longer life spans.
  • Heejung Jung, an assistant professor mechanical engineering, and Yadong Yin, an associate professor of chemistry, will work to develop nanostructured electrodes that will significantly improve the performance of lithium ion batteries, which have great potential for powering electric vehicles and hybrid electric vehicles.
  • Alfredo A. Martinez-Morales, managing director of the Southern California Research Initiative for Solar Energy, plans to explore and demonstrate electrochemically grown lithium iron phosphate nanowires as an effective cathode electrode material for improving the battery energy and power density for lithium ion rechargeable microbatteries.
  • Lorenzo Mangolini, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering, plans to develop a manufacturing protocol to build lithium ion batteries with much higher energy storage capacity than the current ones for cell phones and laptops. They could also be used in hybrid vehicles. Today’s commercial lithium ion batteries use graphite flakes as anode material, which limits the performance of the energy storage devices.
  • Cengiz Ozkan, a professor of mechanical engineering, and Mihri Ozkan, a professor of electrical engineering, plan to study carbon nanotube/graphene composites and chemically activated porous carbon sheets loaded with rare earth oxides as electrode materials to meet the demand for higher energy density ultracapacitors and lithium ion batteries.
  • David Kisailus, an assistant professor of chemical and environmental engineering, will perform bioinspired research and development on rare earth lithium iron phosphate batteries to understand the fundamental processes that control the size and shape of these materials to improve reliability and performance of the batteries.

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