State-of-the-Art Battery Installation and New Funding for Research Announced at Winston Chung Hall Naming Ceremony

A $2.5-million gift of rare earth lithium-ion batteries and $600,000 in research funding from Chinese inventor, entrepreneur and Fellow of the Bourns College of Engineering Winston Chung were announced at a ceremony Wednesday, November 9, during which Engineering Building II became Winston Chung Hall.

The two gifts are in addition to the $10 million Chung gave to UC Riverside in April. That gift, the largest in campus history from an individual, supports two endowed professorships in the Bourns College of Engineering and established the Winston Chung Global Energy Center at the college’s Center for Environmental Research and Technology.

Because of the European economic crisis, Chung was asked by the Central Government of the People’s Republic of China to attend key government meetings in Beijing from November 8-11. He was represented at the naming ceremony by his son Zhifan Zhong, president of Winston Battery Limited and vice chairman of Winston Global Energy Holding Limited (pictured at the left with the battery installation).

Group at ShuttleOn display throughout the day at Winston Chung Hall were electric vehicles from Southern California companies Balqon, Krystal Enterprises, MVP-RV, and Metalcrafters. Chung has invested in the companies to develop innovative electric transportation solutions. An electric bus developed by Krystal Enterprises (shown in photo at left) shuttled guests to and from the parking area and the building.

Unveiling of Plaque
During the ceremony, UCR Chancellor Timothy P. White cited Winston Chung’s contributions to the college and the university, after which Zhong and Dean of Engineering Reza Abbaschian unveiled a plaque honoring Chung (photo, right). It will be mounted permanently on the first floor of Winston Chung Hall.

“Winston Global Energy is very proud to be part of the UC Riverside Bourns College of Engineering,” said Zhong, who oversees the company’s daily operations of more than 1,300 employees, including the battery manufacturing plant. “This is only a starting point to our shared commitment to clean energy.”

Overview of CeremonyZhong was joined on the stage during the ceremony by Dean Abbaschian, who presided over the event; Chancellor White; former Governor of California Gray Davis; California State Assembly Members Brian Nestande and Wilmer Amina Carter; Fiona Lee, CEO of Winston Global Energy Holding Limited; and Steve Chen, executive assistant to Winston Chung.

In his remarks, Chancellor White said, “With the support of Winston and yours, Zhifan, we will be able to better meet challenges and seek out solutions, ones that can’t even be imagined today.”

Former governor Gray Davis said of Winston Chung: “He is creating jobs here and in China and generating revenues for governments in America and China. Winston, we salute you. You deserve this great honor.”

Crowd and BannerDuring the ceremony, Sadrul Ula was introduced as the newly appointed managing director of the Winston Chung Global Energy Center. The center will initially focus on bio-inspired technology and the development of clean energy and energy storage. Assistant Professor of Chemical and Environmental Engineering David Kisailus was introduced as the newly appointed Winston Chung Professor of Energy Innovation.

The 1.1-megawatt battery system, the first of its kind in the United States, comprises 300-1,000AH yttrium iron-sulfate batteries in nine cabinets on the first floor of Winston Chung Hall. The system has the potential to reduce peak power demand by 195 kW and save a commercial customer approximately  $22,000 per year in electricity costs. The first phase of the battery project will power the first floor of Winston Chung Hall and be used for research by BCOE and CE-CERT faculty, research engineers and students. Support for the battery installation, including the battery cabinets, chargers, and inverters is being provided by Balqon.

A photovoltaic solar “farm” is being developed that will generate power for the campus and charge the batteries in Winston Chung Hall. 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 store that energy.

The new research funding comprises six $100,000 grants for faculty at the college for research that could significantly improve cell phone, laptop and hybrid vehicle batteries.

The research projects will be led by the following faculty:

  • David Kisailus, assistant professor of chemical and environmental engineering, will perform bio-inspired 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.
  • 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.
  • Alexander Balandin, 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, assistant professor mechanical engineering, and Yadong Yin, 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.
  • Lorenzo Mangolini, 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, professor of mechanical engineering, and Mihri Ozkan, 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.

Slide show of the event:

Video of the event:

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