NUtech Ventures 2020 Emerging Innovator of the Year
The Emerging Innovator of the Year award went to Shudipto Dishari, assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering. The award recognizes an individual, often a junior faculty member, for recent innovation contributions.
Dishari’s research focuses on designing ion-conducting and light-harvesting polymers, exploring the nanoscale phenomena within polymeric thin films and membranes. Her work could help reduce the cost and improve the energy efficiency of hydrogen-based fuel cells. Other potential applications include energy conversion and storage device systems, such as lithium batteries, semi-conductors and biochemical systems.
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[00:00:02.750]My name is Shudipto Dishari,
[00:00:04.550]I'm an assistant professor in chemical
[00:00:06.090]and biomolecular engineering at UNL.
[00:00:08.760]In order to actually have energy sustainability,
[00:00:11.300]we need to work on the challenges in energy conversion
[00:00:14.890]and storage devices,
[00:00:16.230]and ion conduction is the poor function
[00:00:18.410]of electrochemical systems.
[00:00:20.470]However, there is a big ion transport limitations.
[00:00:24.060]That means that ion conduction is really poor
[00:00:26.600]in sub-micron thick polymeric layers,
[00:00:29.540]which are used as a coating over the catalyst particles,
[00:00:32.560]and that negatively impacts the energy efficiency
[00:00:35.270]of fuel cells.
[00:00:36.200]So we have been inspired by natural systems,
[00:00:39.320]where the pattern conduction are very efficient,
[00:00:41.400]so biomolecular channels, and inspired by those,
[00:00:46.250]we are right now designing semiconducting polymers,
[00:00:49.810]incorporating nature mimicking functional repeat units.
[00:00:52.660]And we have also been able to impart getting functionalities
[00:00:56.700]to these polymers,
[00:00:57.590]which makes the diffusion of protons even faster.
[00:01:01.080]Right now, I'm collaborating with fuel cell catalyst
[00:01:04.370]developing research groups,
[00:01:05.850]and I'm trying to demonstrate
[00:01:07.340]that these ion conducting polymers are performing
[00:01:09.760]equally well in complex fields of environment.
[00:01:13.360]So if everything goes all right,
[00:01:16.110]then maybe five to 10 years down the line,
[00:01:18.620]I will think about commercializing design of ours
[00:01:21.090]through my own startup.
[00:01:23.800]A combined heat and power system
[00:01:25.440]can be really attractive for Nebraska,
[00:01:27.610]and that uses a proton exchange memory
[00:01:30.160]and fuel cell technology.
[00:01:31.400]So any improvement in hydrogen fuel cell technology,
[00:01:35.100]that will impact these combined heat and power systems.
[00:01:38.210]Also, there are some local industries
[00:01:40.330]which produces hydrogen as a byproduct,
[00:01:42.910]so because hydrogen is the fuel for hydrogen fuel cell,
[00:01:46.640]so if BMFC becomes an economical choice,
[00:01:50.110]at the end, these industries will also be benefited.
[00:01:53.290]If you want to achieve energy sustainability,
[00:01:56.000]if you want to improve the quality of life,
[00:01:58.350]then you have to think about technology transfer
[00:02:00.830]from lab bench to the marketplace, right?
[00:02:04.000]So NUtech Venture has been very supportive
[00:02:06.400]in protecting our intellectual properties,
[00:02:09.860]licensing and technology transfer, and many other things.
[00:02:13.020]So I would like to thank NUtech Venture
[00:02:15.980]for their great support.
[00:02:18.020]The creative side of my soul
[00:02:20.270]actually finds peace in research.
[00:02:22.550]You know, at different points of my life,
[00:02:24.750]I have sparked as a cook, as a fashion designer,
[00:02:28.590]as a singer, as a researcher and many more,
[00:02:31.070]but I'm really happy that I picked academic research,
[00:02:33.590]because here I can pick a problem
[00:02:36.110]that I'm really passionate about
[00:02:37.580]and work really hard to find the solutions of those.
[00:02:40.850]And if my small contribution
[00:02:43.180]to achieve energy sustainability
[00:02:45.280]and improving the quality of life,
[00:02:48.800]then that's good enough to have good night's sleep.
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