Professor in Electrochemistry
The invention of a new type of battery saw Simon Hall potentially revolutionise the $200 billion global battery market.
Simon is an expert in electrochemistry. Rather than purely chemical-based, electrochemistry see a chemical mixed with some electrodes. You then then hook them up to a piece of electronic kit. The aluminium smelter at Tiwai Point at the bottom of the South Island is an example – the whole process of creating aluminium is an electrochemical one.
Although zinc is a great metal to use in batteries it is really unstable. Other people put more and more things in the batteries – plastic, carbon – to try and stabilise them – with limited success. Simon (chemistry professor and head of the chemistry department at Massey University) and his colleagues went in and started from scratch, leaving the way clear to see, and fix, the original problem.
This created a stable battery, that’s much better for the planet (it’s recyclable, easy to mine and efficient) and allows equipment to operate for far longer before having to change the batteries. The invention won Simon the Bayer Innovation Award for research and development in 2010.