Dr Manickam Minakshi of Murdoch University’s School of Chemical and Mathematical Sciences is one of only 16 researchers to receive an Early Career Australia-India Fellowship from the Australian Academy of Science.
The honour comes only two months after Dr Minakshi and Dr Danielle Meyrick revealed their work on a sodium-ion battery with the potential to provide cost-effective storage for sustainable energy technologies such as solar and wind power.
“To have the sodium-ion battery recognised with such a prestigious Fellowship is yet more evidence of the scientific community’s confidence in our research. And by collaborating with the top institutes in India, we have an excellent opportunity to take this technology to the next level,” Dr Minakshi said.
“This will also contribute to India, where some areas are experiencing blackouts of up to 16 hours. Electricity is a major issue, so renewable energy stands to be a very good alternative to the country’s current system.
“I’m eager to get leading Indian researchers on-board with our research, as well as to benefit from their expertise in electro-chemistry. My Fellowship will be very much about knowledge exchange.”
Dr Minakshi said he was overwhelmed and gratified by the global response to his work in the past few months, having received media coverage and inquiries from companies in Australia, the USA, the UK, Europe and Asia.
“People have been very enthusiastic. We’ve had a number of technology companies from around the world inquire about our research. We’ve narrowed interest down to two or three who we’re in negotiations with about milestones and proposals for funding and development,” Dr Minakshi said.
“At the same time, we’ve kept our research moving forward and expect to have some very exciting news, hopefully within the next six months.”
Dr Minakshi said the team at Murdoch have been working on a new cathode development which will take the science a step further, one which will come under patent.
Overall, he feels very positive about the technology’s future.
“We are developing efficient energy storage at a low cost. With demand for lithium [used in ‘green’ battery storage] tipped to triple by 2020, the world is taking notice. Perhaps some exciting things can happen.”