CHE Seminars  


Speaker Prof. Nitash P. Balsara
Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department & Environmental Energy Technologies and Materials Sciences Divisions, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley
Topic Nanostructured Block Copolymers for Lithium Batteries and Biofuels Purification
Date 12 ,November 2014 (Wednesday) 2014
Place L-17
Time 4.00 PM - 5.00 PM


Nanostructured block copolymers enable the design of membranes with optimized transporting channels for a variety of applications. This presentation addresses the use of these membranes to transport lithium ions in polymeric lithium battery electrolytes, and to separate biofuels such as ethanol and butanol from dilute fermentation broths where they are produced. Previous studies of electrolytes showed an inverse correlation between ionic conductivity and shear modulus: increasing conductivity invariably resulted in a decrease in the shear modulus. Similarly, previous studies of alcohol-selective membranes showed an inverse correlation between alcohol separation factor (ratio of alcohol concentration in the exiting stream to that of the incoming stream) and total flux: increasing the separation factor invariably resulted in a decrease in total flux. Block copolymer membranes do not suffer from these inverse correlations. Practical implications of our discoveries for enabling safe rechargeable batteries and second generation biofuels will be discussed. A large fraction of energy and materials that we use today are derived from industries that consume non-renewable resources. The two projects described here may enable a gradual transition toward to a more sustainable approach.


Professor Balsara studied Chemical Engineering and obtained his Bachelors degree with from IIT Kanpur in 82, his Masters degree from Clarkson University (USA), and his Ph. D. from RPI, Berkeley . His research interests are in batteries and novel membrane. He has written over 190 articles. He has numerous awards to his credit such as National Science Foundation Young Investigator Award, 1994, Engineer of the Year-American Institute of Engineers of Indian Origin, 1997, Fellow of the American Physical Society, 2001, Charles M.A. Stine Award, AIChE Award for Materials Engineering and Science, 2005, R&D 100, awarded by R&D Magazine for the development Fellow of the Neutron Scattering Society of America, 2014.