Distinguished Professors Zaiping Guo and Antoine van Oijen honoured for research excellence

An Engineering and Information Science’s academic is the recipient of the New South Wales Premier’s Prize for Science and Engineering, in recognition of their pioneering research work.

Distinguished Professor Zaiping Guo received the Prize for Excellence in Engineering or Information and Communications Technology. She joins fellow University of Wollongong recipient, Distinguished Professor Antoine van Oijen, who received the Prize for Excellence in Medical Biological Sciences.

The Prizes reward leading researchers for cutting-edge work that has generated economic, environmental, health, social or technological benefits for NSW.

Professor Zaiping Guo, Excellence in Engineering

UOW Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) Professor Jennifer L Martin AC congratulated Professor Guo and Professor van Oijen on their awards.

“I am thrilled and delighted but not surprised that our internationally leading researchers have been recognised in these awards,” Professor Martin said.

“Not only are Zaiping and Antoine trailblazers in their fields, but importantly they are tackling some of the biggest challenges we face and delivering research with real impact.

“Zaiping is developing innovative new batteries that will help us transition to a renewable energy future. Antoine is transforming our understanding of the inner workings of bacteria at a molecular level to combat the growing problem of antimicrobial resistance.”

Professor Zaiping Guo, Excellence in Engineering

Professor Guo is a materials scientist with an exceptional track record in her field, which focuses on the applications of nanomaterials in energy storage and conversion technologies.

“This is truly an honour for me to receive this award. If you look at the list of the past awardees, they are all top outstanding scientists, making big impacts for NSW, Australia and the world,” Professor Guo said.

“I’m very proud and very happy to be part of this list, and I feel I’m accepting this award on behalf of the amazing team of mentors, colleagues and students I’ve developed at the University of Wollongong.”

Professor Guo is at the forefront internationally of efforts to develop next generation batteries that are safe, clean, high performing and low cost, with the aim of finding the most promising large-scale electrical energy storage solutions that will support the transition to renewables.

“Batteries are the essential component of most electronic devices. We want to achieve high energy density battery because it can store more energy, it will let the electric device last longer. We also want to achieve fast charging capability so we don’t have to wait for long until we get the battery fully charged,” Professor Guo said.

Professor Guo’s research offers enormous potential for applications in future green energy use in NSW, reducing our dependence on fossil fuels, and facilitating a more sustainable state and nation.

“By using batteries to store clean energy resource from sunlight, from water, [and] other clean energy resources, we can avoid a negative environmental impact from burning fossil fuel,” she said.

Her accomplishments include developing new nanoscale electrode materials to use in sodium–ion batteries, aqueous rechargeable zinc batteries and lithium ion batteries.

“We’re trying to achieve better batteries with higher energy density, higher power density, better fast-charging capability, long cycle life and high safety,” Professor Guo said.

“So to reach this purpose we actually design, synthesise and process materials, then test them in battery cells to evaluate their electrochemical performance.

“The fundamental understanding we obtain will be used to guide the further improvement of next generation battery technology.”