Johannes Wandt, a doctoral candidate at TUM, has been chosen as one of this year's recipients of the German Dissertation Prize. The prize, which includes a 25,000 euro cash award, honors doctoral dissertations with important implications for society. Wandt, who conducted his doctoral research at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), explored ways of improving lithium batteries, which are used in electric cars.
It does not take long to fill the tank of a gasoline-powered car. But for an electric car, a full charge can take from 30 minutes to 12 hours. This is one of the biggest problems for electromobility – along with the fact that electric cars cannot cover nearly as many kilometers on a single charge as cars with combustion engines will travel on a full tank.
In his doctoral research at the Chair of Technical Electrochemistry at TUM, the chemist Johannes Wandt explored ways of speeding up the charging process and extending the range of electric vehicles. Wandt's dissertation has now won first prize in the natural sciences and engineering category in the German Dissertation Prizes of the Körber Foundation.
Optimized lithium batteries for electric vehicles
Johannes Wandt's research will help to make lithium batteries better in the future. He developed analytical methods for studying the chemical processes involved in the charging and discharging of lithium-ion cells. He also studied innovative lithium-air batteries. With their significantly higher energy density as compared to conventional lithium ion batteries, they could greatly boost the range of electric vehicles. So far, however, they are able to last only a few charges, and have therefore proved unsuitable for practical applications. With his research team, Wandt was able to identify the cause behind the short service life. This work will be useful in the development of longer-lasting lithium-air batteries.
About the German Dissertation Prize
The Körber Foundation, with its honorary patron Wolfgang Schäuble, the President of the German Bundestag, grants prizes of up to 25,000 euros every year for excellent dissertations. It is among the most richly endowed prizes for talented young researchers in Germany.