Wei receives UNM Rainforest Innovations funding for battery device

October 28, 2022 - by Kim Delker

Shuya Wei

Shuya Wei, an assistant professor in the UNM Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, has been awarded $25,000 in UNM Rainforest Innovations gap funding for her research on technology to improve rechargeable batteries.

Wei’s proposal is titled “Flow-Aluminum: A Transformative Approach to Capture Carbon Dioxide Directly in a Flow Metal-air Battery.” The technology, which has a provisional patent through UNM Rainforest Innovations, addresses a major challenge with metal-gas batteries: attaining reversible formation and decomposition of the discharge products with high energy efficiency.

Her team has fabricated and patented the first reversible aluminum-carbon dioxide electrochemical device with an ultralow overpotential by introducing a homogeneous redox mediator into the electrolyte. Wei’s group will demonstrate how this new battery technology can surpass lithium-ion batteries by scaling up the aluminum air flow cell by developing a redox flow battery prototype. This technology could further the adoption of microgrids, renewable energy and more.

The gap funding program at UNM Rainforest Innovations was created to address one of the challenges in commercializing university technology is the prototype funding gap, or the void between early-stage research and a technology that is ready for the marketplace.