Monash celebrates Laureate Professor

Professor Huanting Wang from Monash University’s Faculty of Engineering has received a prestigious Australian Research Council (ARC) Laureate Fellowship for his work in nanoporous materials and composite membranes – research that supports innovations in renewable energy, mining and clean water.

The Laureate Fellowship was announced by The Honourable Dan Tehan, Federal Minister for Education, on Monday 6 July 2020. Professor Wang is the Associate Dean (International), Faculty of Engineering; and Director, Monash Centre for Membrane Innovation.

Professor Wang’s work focuses on designing new synthetic membranes with ultralow energy consumption, to support the development of new technologies in renewable energy and mining.

“I hope to build world-class research capabilities in the rapidly growing cross-disciplinary field of separation membranes that operate at sub-nanometer scale. My research program will develop advanced materials for applications in the energy economy ranging from renewable hydrogen and biofuels to sustainable lithium mining and recycling technologies,” said Professor Wang.

This project will develop world-first membrane technologies to efficiently produce and use energy while reducing environmental impact. The research has a wide range of applications in sustainable energy, including the efficient production and use of hydrogen energy, and highly efficient biofuel production.

The research also supports sustainable manufacture and recycling of lithium-ion batteries. The current lithium extraction technology is environmentally damaging and uses large amounts of chemicals. Lithium batteries are currently not recyclable.

Professor Wang’s work in lithium-ion conducting membranes could revolutionise the lithium mining processes and make the lithium battery recycling industry technologically and economically viable. There is potential to commercialise this work through Monash’s network of industry partners.

President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Margaret Gardner AC, congratulated Professor Wang on his success.

“This Australian Research Council Laureate Fellowship for Professor Wang’s work shows the strength of Monash University’s research and our international reputation for educational excellence and innovation,” Professor Gardner said.

“I congratulate Professor Wang on this remarkable achievement.”

Provost and Senior Vice-President, Professor Marc Parlange, said the Laureate demonstrated the strength of Professor Wang’s sustained contributions toward membrane innovation.

“The Laureate Fellowship is one of the most prestigious research awards in Australia. Today’s announcement is singular recognition of the profound importance of Professor Wang’s work and its significance in the development of more sustainable energy and mining practices. My warmest congratulations to Professor Wang and to the Faculty of Engineering,” Professor Parlange said.

Professor Wang said the Laureate was a testament to his research group at Monash.

“I am thrilled to receive an ARC Australian Laureate Fellowship. This is a great recognition for the efforts that my research group and collaborators have collectively made over many years. Importantly I have been well supported by my colleagues and Monash University,” said Professor Wang.

“The Fellowship will allow me to focus on exploring fundamental science on fascinating selective mass transport at the atomic scale and developing new materials and technologies for the renewable energy industry.”

Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, Professor Elizabeth Croft, said Professor Wang’s world-leading research in the field of nanoporous materials and composite membranes is a quintessential example of the faculty’s commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, particularly in addressing clean water and sanitation, and affordable and clean energy.

“The Faculty of Engineering is delighted and proud of Professor Wang’s award of the Laureate Fellowship, and we congratulate him on this well-deserved recognition of his outstanding research efforts,” Professor Croft said.

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