MSSI newsletter

MSSI Innovation Fund recipients announced for 2023

Projects from the Faculties of Science and Engineering explore solutions related to Li-ion batteries and sustainable groundwater management
Image by Andrew Roberts on Unsplash.

Every year, the MSSI Innovation Fund provides support to McGill faculty members to accelerate the development of an idea or a technology toward widespread societal adoption by funding research that informs policy or moves an innovation toward commercialization. This year’s fund will distribute $100,000 to two projects that have the potential to make electric vehicle batteries and groundwater management more sustainable.

Read more about the funded projects below.

Development of mesoporous polymer-in-ceramic ion conducting membranes for solid-state Li batteries

George Demopoulos (Materials Engineering)

Current-state Li-ion batteries powering electric vehicles (EVs) are characterized by relatively low energy density, meaning limited driving range, employment of flammable chemicals (“electrolytes”), representing safety hazards, as well as non-sustainable sourcing of critical components. All-solid-state lithium batteries (ASSBs) have been identified by the EV industry as truly transformative sustainable alternatives. This project develops a polymer-in-ceramic structure that is intended to provide stable solid electrolytes with optimized interfacial integration to lithium metal anode and composite cathode for high performance and sustainable next-generation EV batteries.

New Tools for Sustainable Groundwater Management

Jeffrey McKenzie (Earth & Planetary Sciences)

For small Northern communities and households that use groundwater pumped from the subsurface, there are major sustainability challenges in ensuring clean water supply. All groundwater resources are vulnerable to contamination and climate change impacts. The first step to ensuring sustainable water resources is identifying a well’s capture zone (WCZ), the subsurface region from which a well extracts drinking water. By delineating the WCZ, groundwater can be protected for sustainable recovery. Most small Northern communities either haven’t identified the WCZ or hire expensive consultants. This project will build a new webtool that quickly estimates the WCZ for communities/households, utilizing a recently published new set of analytical solutions. An initial version of the webtool is programmed, but it requires investment to be fully operational for potential users. The tool requires interfacing with the global permeability database and local topography for assessing hydraulic gradients. Once completed, the tool allows a user to enter a location and potential pumping rate to immediately generate the WCZ. The project focuses on water resources for Northern Communities, and has a Yukon focus because 97% of the population relies on groundwater, but with sustainability challenges from climate change and contaminated sites.

In addition to the Innovation Fund, the MSSI also supports sustainability research at McGill through the Ideas Fund and SSH Ideas Fund. Visit the MSSI website for more information and the latest funding announcements.

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