Scientist to receive major award for work with batteries

Tuesday 7 February 2012

An internationally-renowned scientist, at the University of St Andrews, has been honoured for his fundamental chemical research that could transform the range of electric vehicles and make renewable energy more viable.

Professor Peter Bruce, FRS, Wardlaw Professor of Chemistry at the University of St Andrews, today (Tuesday 7 February) will be presented with the inaugural UK Science Award by global coatings company AkzoNobel.

Professor Bruce was selected for the honour by an independent panel convened by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC).

He will officially receive the award at a ceremony at the Royal Society of Chemistry in London.

The panel cited Professor Bruce’s outstanding contributions to research in the fields of solid state chemistry and electrochemistry.

His key work, which in the eyes of the judging panel raised him above the very high standard of entries, was his work to make lithium batteries last longer and deliver more power.

This work could transform electric motor vehicles,  enabling them to travel far farther and faster than current models before needing recharged, making them a more realistic option for drivers who wish to travel greater distances.

Professor Bruce said: “New generations of rechargeable lithium batteries could extend the range of electric vehicles enabling them to travel further than current models before needing recharged, making them a more realistic option for drivers who wish to travel greater distances.

“They could also help to balance the intermittent supply of electricity from renewable sources – such as wind and wave power – with consumer demand, a key challenge in making renewable energy viable and which would provide enormous potential for Scotland which has an increasing emphasis on renewable energies.”

He added: “Research is a team effort and I want to pay tribute to my research colleagues past and present, as well as my fellow academics at St Andrews.”

UK Business Secretary, Vince Cable, said: “It is important that we take every opportunity to recognise the wealth of science talent and expertise we have in the UK.

“Professor Bruce’s work on low-carbon vehicles is not only important for our world-leading research base, but also has the potential to drive growth and innovation in industry.”

Professor Lesley Yellowlees, President-Elect of the Royal Society of Chemistry and chair of the selection panel which chose Professor Bruce for the honour, described him as a “brilliant scientist”.

She said: “Professor Bruce is a highly motivated, creative and versatile scientist with a real feeling for science at the highest level and for finding innovative application of energy storage materials developed in his laboratory.

“He is an enterprising and brilliant scientist who gives inspiring leadership to innovative, cutting-edge scientific research with clear practical relevance.”

Professor Bruce’s work at the university focuses on making new materials with new properties which will transform their capabilities.

The material chemist is a Fellow of the Royal Society and the Royal Society of Edinburgh. He graduated from Aberdeen University where he also carried out postgraduate research and received his PhD in 1981.

After a period as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Oxford and then lecturer at Heriot-Watt University he moved to the University of St Andrews as a Professor in Chemistry in 1990 and has been Wardlaw Professor of Chemistry since 2007.

AkzoNobel who have sponsored the award, is the world’s largest paints and coatings company, a major producer of speciality chemicals, and owner of iconic brands including Dulux, Polycell and Cuprinol.


Note to Editors

Professor Bruce is available today between noon and 4pm on Monday on 01334 463825.

Notes to Picture Editors

Images of Professor Bruce are available from the Press Office – contacts below.

Issued by the Press Office, University of St Andrews

Contact Gayle Cook on 01334 467227 or [email protected]

Ref: (akzonobel 06/02/12)

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