Research News

New AAU energy research webpage features VU research

portrait in junkyard
Cary Pint, right, Andrew Westover and Nitin Muralidharan, who is holding the prototype junkyard battery they created in his left hand. He and Westover are holding bottles of the common household chemicals used in the process. (Vanderbilt University)

Vanderbilt researchers who “MacGyvered” metal junkyard scraps and common household chemicals into high-performance batteries are featured in a new webpage on energy research created by the Association of American Universities.

The online site highlights university research that is helping to secure the nation’s energy future.

The Vanderbilt research was conducted by a team of graduate and undergraduate students from the interdisciplinary materials science program and headed by Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering Cary Pint.

“Imagine that the tons of metal waste discarded every year could be used to provide energy storage for the renewable energy grid of the future, instead of becoming a burden for waste processing plants and the environment,” Pint commented.

Two other research projects featured on the new site are a Massachusetts Institute of Technology project to genetically reprogram yeast so it can be used to produce diesel fuel and a Michigan State University effort that created a way to harvest energy from human motion to charge cellphones and other personal electronic devices.

This is the fourth such special issue webpage that AAU has created. The first three are Helping Solve the Fresh Water Puzzle, Researching the Brain, Seeking Cures and Helping Safeguard the Connected World, which features articles about cybersecurity research.