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Advanced battery scientists join exclusive Tesla partnership at Dal in research chair roles

Posted by Caitlyn MacQueen on January 19, 2021 in All News
Michael Metzger, left, and Chongyin Yang will both work very closely with battery pioneer Jeff Dahn, shown below right. (Provided photos, except Dr. Dahn images by Daniel Abriel)
Michael Metzger, left, and Chongyin Yang will both work very closely with battery pioneer Jeff Dahn, shown below right. (Provided photos, except Dr. Dahn images by Daniel Abriel)

Partnership with electric vehicle maker extended until at least 2026

Two outstanding scientists have been named as Dalhousie University’s newest research chairs and have joined the university’s exclusive partnership with Tesla.

Chongyin Yang and Michael Metzger will both work very closely with Jeff Dahn, who is currently the NSERC/Tesla Canada Inc. Industrial Research Chair and Canada Research Chair in Materials for Advanced Batteries.

For the past five years, Tesla has been working with the Dal Science professor. Dr. Dahn’s group has been filing patents on battery technology for Tesla that could lead to a new battery cell enabling a million miles in a battery pack.

“I am so pleased to welcome Chongyin Yang and Michael Metzger to Dalhousie University as assistant professors and Chairholders," says Dr. Dahn. “Both are outstanding scientists and charismatic leaders.”


Seeking sustainable materials

Dr. Yang is the Tesla Canada Research Chair and has been working on materials and devices for energy conversion and storage for 12 years. Prior to coming to Dalhousie, Dr. Yang was an assistant research scientist in the Department of Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Maryland, where he led research projects on material and device development for high energy aqueous lithium-ion batteries.
Dr. Yang’s research group will focus on developing high-performance materials for advanced lithium-ion batteries, which includes sustainable electrode materials that contain no transition metals. It will be a crucial part of Dalhousie-Tesla partnership that seeks lower-cost, longer lifetime, and higher-energy battery technologies as the next-generation energy storage solution for electric vehicles and sustainable green energy.

“This research chair gives me a really good opportunity to start my future career as a scientist working with batteries. Dr. Jeff Dahn is one of the pioneers on lithium-ion battery research. Tesla is a Tier 1 company and using really innovative technology to make the high-performance electric car more widely available,” says Yang. “It’s an honour for me to take part in this partnership with them at Dal, and I hope that, together, we can keep making more influential contributions to the whole industry.”

Model 3 image from Tesla.

Looking into battery lifetimes

Dr. Metzger is the Herzberg-Dahn Chair and received a diploma from the Technical University of Munich (TUM), the top-ranked university in Germany and the European Union. While completing his graduate studies, Dr. Metzger developed innovative methods to study the lifetime and aging of lithium-ion batteries in close collaboration with BASF and BMW. He has also worked in the Silicon Valley tech industry as a research engineer for Robert Bosch, the largest supplier for the automotive industry.
Dr. Metzger’s research group will focus on developing novel methods to study the performance and lifetime of advanced lithium-ion batteries, lithium metal batteries and desalination batteries. The goal is to create fundamental understanding that will help develop new electrode materials and electrolytes for stationary and electric vehicle batteries.

“Becoming a part of the excellent work that is happening here at Dalhousie is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Not only are our batteries 'high energy', it’s also the style of work we have here at the university. I am glad I can contribute to this now and explore my own ideas in advanced battery research that will hopefully be impactful for a lot of people,” says Dr. Metzger.

An extended and expanded partnership

The initial research agreement between Dalhousie and Tesla was signed in June 2015. This collaboration is a first between the leading American electric vehicle company and a Canadian university. Work officially began with Tesla in 2016, and the partnership has been renewed until at least 2026.

“We are thrilled to be extending and expanding our work with Dalhousie and Jeff Dahn with the addition of Chongyin and Michael. We look forward to their important contributions in battery technology to help achieve our mission,” said Tesla.

These chairs hope to continue to help Tesla develop better advanced batteries for its products.

“Dr. Yang and Dr. Metzger bring new ideas, new methods, and new expertise as well as a full commitment to electric transportation and renewable energy to the partnership,” finishes Dr. Dahn.