This year, storEnergy welcomed a new Director – Professor Jenny Pringle. In this article we learn more about Prof. Pringle and where storEnergy is heading under the new leadership.
Getting to know: Professor Jenny Pringle, storEnergy Director
Leading expert in: Chemistry and materials engineering for energy applications
What have been the most defining moments of your career?
I completed my PhD at Edinburgh University in Scotland, studying ionic liquids (ILs) at a time when there were less than 100 papers on the topic.
Now there are thousands, and it’s been exciting to see such rapid acceleration of the field. However, there is still a large amount that we don’t yet understand about these materials, huge scope for the design of new ILs with improved properties. It will be very exciting to finally see their commercial application in batteries and other devices. I hope that some of the work that we are doing in storEnergy makes a valuable contribution to that advancement.
After my PhD I moved to Monash University, where I worked with Professors Doug MacFarlane and Maria Forsyth – a collaboration that is still going strong today. I received a post-doctoral fellowship and QEII fellowship while at Monash, which allowed me to further explore the fields of ILs and plastic crystals, making and understanding new materials and exploring their use with conducting polymers, in dye-sensitised solar cells, for thermal energy harvesting and storage.
Ten years ago, I moved to Deakin University, and here my research has expanded into the development of new ionic electrolytes for sodium and lithium batteries.
How is storEnergy expanding Australia’s capacity in energy storage and production?
I am very fortunate to be in an environment that supports the translation of new materials from concept through to application. I believe that this is one of the unique features of storEnergy that allows us to make a significant contribution to research and workforce training in the energy field in Australia.
We have expert investigators and industry partners across the supply chain, and valuable national and international collaborations, that has allowed the Centre to offer a strong, diverse training programme to-date. A range of student placements, workshops, symposia, webinars, outreach and a battery manufacturing roundtable have all made important contributions to Australia’s capacity in energy storage and helped us be globally competitive.
What is next for storEnergy?
We’re looking forward to a number of highlights for the next year. These include bi-annual symposia, workshops, the roll-out of our short courses for emergency services and policy makers and much more.
Very importantly, many of our students will shortly be completing their PhD studies, which is a fantastic achievement!
The students and postdocs will use the skills they have learnt in the centre as they take up new positions in academia and industries around the world, further growing our storEnergy network.
We will also see our research projects coming to fruition, and it will be very exciting to hear about the optimised materials, devices and integration that the collaborations between our researchers and industry partners have produced.