An internationally-renowned British scientist, whose fundamental chemical research could help transform the range of electric vehicles and make renewable energy more viable, has been honored with the inaugural AkzoNobel UK Science Award.
Professor Peter Bruce, FRS, Wardlaw Professor of Chemistry at the University of St Andrews, will officially receive the award and £50,000 at a ceremony held at the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) in London on Tuesday February 7.
The award is sponsored by AkzoNobel, the world's largest paints and coatings company, a major producer of specialty chemicals, and owner of iconic brands including Dulux, Polycell and Cuprinol.
Professor Bruce was conferred the honor after an independent panel, convened by the RSC, cited his outstanding contributions to the fields of solid state chemistry and electrochemistry.
His research on new materials and concepts that could make lithium batteries last longer and deliver more power has important implications for extending the range of electric vehicles, as well as balancing the intermittent supply of electricity from renewable sources with consumer demand.
Business Secretary The Rt Hon Dr Vince Cable MP has welcomed the new award, praising Professor Bruce for his work and the contribution it could make to growth and innovation in the UK.
The Rt Hon Dr Vince Cable MP, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, said: “It is important that we take every opportunity to recognize 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.”
AkzoNobel UK Science Award Laureate Professor Peter Bruce, FRS, Wardlaw Professor of Chemistry at the University of St Andrews, said: “Rechargeable lithium batteries have transformed portable electronic devices such as mobile phones and iPods. The next generation of rechargeable lithium batteries could extend the range of electric vehicles enabling them to travel farther than current models before needing to be recharged, making them a more realistic option for drivers who wish to travel greater distances. 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.”
Hans Wijers, AkzoNobel Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are extremely pleased to confer this award upon Professor Bruce. His field of endeavor is extremely important for the sustainable development of society and it stimulates us to consider whether and how companies such as our own should seek to build on his achievements.”
Professor Lesley Yellowlees, President-Elect of the Royal Society of Chemistry and Chair of the panel that selected Professor Bruce for the Award from a list of nominations, said: “Professor Bruce is a highly motivated, creative and versatile scientist with a real feeling for science at the highest level and for finding ground-breaking applications 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.”
February 7 will also see AkzoNobel announce a five-year strategic partnership with the Corrosion and Protection Centre (CPC) at the University of Manchester, to strengthen its ability to continue delivery of "first in class" corrosion protection solutions. Due to commence in April 2012, the partnership will include the appointment of Professor Stuart Lyon as the AkzoNobel Professor of Corrosion Protection at the university.
With annual sales of more than €1.5bn in the field, AkzoNobel has leading positions in the supply of corrosion inhibition coatings and chemicals to the oilfield and construction markets, and the company utilizes its extensive practical knowledge of corrosion inhibition to ensure the integrity of its own chemical plants. The partnership will allow the company to access the CPC's state-of-the-art equipment, and gear its capabilities and resource by attracting additional funding from external sources. It will also help the university department enhance its ability to develop technology platforms for the prevention of corrosion.