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University of Maryland Statement Against Hate and Bias

November 5, 2017
Contacts: 

 Katie Lawson, 301-405-4622

 
Statement Against Hate and Bias 
Joel Seligman, AVP for Communications and Marketing - November 5, 2017
 

UMD sincerely regrets the overwhelming misunderstanding resulting in the #UMDNotAHome social media conversation. The statements on social media connected to this hashtag do not reflect the positions of the university or our leaders' mutual commitment to diversity and inclusion on campus and across our nation.

To put it plainly, the UMD administration stands against hate and bias in all of its forms and wants every Terp to feel welcome, safe and at home at the University of Maryland. 

In recent months, there have been instances of intentional provocation by hateful, far-right groups spreading targeted messages that the administration finds despicable. These outside agitators want to divide our campus community into factions that are in conflict with one another from within UMD, rather than see our campus stand together in opposition to the broader forces of hate, white supremacy, anti-immigrant xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia and anti-semitism. 

It is understandable that some members of our community are also disturbed by remarks by university officials, even when the comments are quoted entirely out of context and in a manner that misrepresents the meaning. UMD has seen an example of one of our longtime colleagues unfairly criticized for her efforts to provide legal advice to the University Senate Campus Affairs Committee literally at the same time she is working to advance the cause of inclusion.

The administration encourages all members of our community to work together—students, faculty, staff, administrators and alumni—to increase respect, inclusiveness, and cohesiveness on our campus. A comprehensive list of efforts underway by UMD administration is available at umd.edu/umdreflects 

 

 

UMD Named a 2017 Best College by MONEY Magazine

July 12, 2017
Contacts: 

Jennifer Burroughs, 301-405-4621

COLLEGE PARK, Md.  The University of Maryland ranked No. 11 among public universities according to MONEY Magazine’s 2017 list of Best Colleges. UMD ranked No. 20 overall among U.S. institutions. 

To calculate rankings, MONEY assessed more than 700 colleges in the U.S. based on three equally-weighted categories, including educational quality, affordability and alumni success. MONEY measured 27 factors within these categories covering areas such as instructor quality, measuring the study-to-faculty ratio, affordability for low-income students and value-added earnings, which measures if the school is launching students to better paying jobs. 

Earlier this year, UMD was also ranked a Best Value College by ForbesPrinceton Review and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

UMD Capitol Hill Forum Addresses Health Disparities Research & Action for Equity

September 23, 2016
Contacts: 

Contacts: Elise Carbonaro, 301-405-6501

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland, in collaboration with Rep. John P. Sarbanes and the Big Ten Academic Alliance, recently convened more than 100 people for a Research on the Hill forum focused on strategies to achieve health equity at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C. Moderated by Stephen B. Thomas, Ph.D., professor and director of the Maryland Center for Health Equity in the UMD School of Public Health, the panel discussion engaged experts from academia, federal health agencies and the private business sector in a candid conversation about how to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities among vulnerable populations.

“Our exploratory research holds the solutions to many of the most challenging problems of our day,” said UMD Vice President and Chief Research Officer Patrick G. O’Shea, Ph.D. “As a university, it is our mission to create and understand knowledge to develop better ways to house and heal and fuel and feed our people in advanced societies that are just, secure, and free. Achieving health equity touches on the ‘heal’ aspect of that mission.”

The topics ranged from the progress that has been made in access to medical care as a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to challenges that still remain in improving quality of care and in making the medical care system incorporate public health and address the social determinants of health that prevent people from acting health promotion and disease prevention recommendations. 

“The state of Maryland has embraced the ACA and there is clear evidence that the new incentives are indeed moving hospital systems away from a fee-for-service business model to one that rewards quality care and positive health outcomes over the volume of procedures,” said Thomas. “While the transition is not perfect, our state is a national leader for what the future of health care will look like.”

Panel members shared examples of effective and innovative community-based health interventions and public-private partnerships that are making a difference through culturally-tailored health promotion and disease prevention services, and highlighted the emergence of social determinants of health such as poverty, discrimination and residential segregation as factors that must be overcome.

 “I’m convinced that if you address racial and ethnic disparities with respect to the delivery of health care and health care coverage in this country, you will build the best health care system we can possibly have because diversity is our country’s hallmark,” said Congressman Sarbanes, who, as a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has been a tireless advocate for improving healthcare quality and addressing health disparities.
 
To achieve health equity, researchers, policymakers, and industry leaders must address broader issues beyond the traditional biomedical model and build trust between those who control health care delivery system and those who have lost hope in the system, said members of the panel. 

The panelists recommended that health equity be incorporated into all public policies, not just those related to health care, to reduce and ultimately eliminate health disparities. 

Panel members included:

  • Margo Edmunds, Ph.D., Vice President, Evidence Generation and Translation at Academy Health;
  • J. Nadine Gracia, M.D., M.S.C.E., Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health and Director of the Office of Minority Health within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services;
  • Julia Huggins, President of Cigna Mid-Atlantic;
  • Kolawole Okuyemi, M.D., MPH, Professor of the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, Director of the Program in Health Disparities Research and Inaugural Endowed Chair for Health Equity at the University of Minnesota; and
  • Eliseo Pérez-Stable, M.D., Director of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities at the National Institutes of Health.

House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer, who represents Maryland’s 5th Congressional District and is a distinguished UMD alumnus, also joined the event and emphasized that as an interconnected community, we should all care about health disparities.
 
“It is unacceptable that in the United States, where all are created equal in the words of our Declaration of Independence, that one’s access to healthcare may be higher or lower as a result of race, gender, or income,” said Congressman Hoyer. “Everybody being healthy is of concern to each and every one of us.”
 
He discussed how we must continue to defend the patient protections that Americans are benefiting from thanks to the ACA, such as the no-cost access to preventive services like mammograms and immunizations, as well as remind people of the dramatic increase in the number of people, particularly people of color, who now have health coverage as a result.

The event was held as part of the University of Maryland’s Research on the Hill series, which is aimed at raising awareness of research with great societal significance.

View the conversation at: https://youtu.be/HPedKr0jZLQ

UMD Study Finds Connecting Uninsured Patients to Primary Care Could Reduce ER Use

May 6, 2015
Contacts: 

Kelly Blake 301-405-9418
Hillery Tsumba 301-628-3425

Montgomery County, Md. Initiative Could Improve Health, Reduce Costs

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – An intervention to connect low-income uninsured and Medicaid patients to a reliable source of primary health care shows promise for reducing avoidable use of hospital emergency departments in Maryland. A University of Maryland School of Public Health study evaluating the results of the intervention was published this week in the May issue of the journal Health Affairs

For twenty years, use of hospital emergency departments has been on the rise in the United States, particularly among low-income patients who face barriers to accessing health care outside of hospitals, including not having an identifiable primary health care provider. Almost half of emergency room visits are considered “avoidable.” The Emergency Department-Primary Care Connect Initiative of the Primary Care Coalition, which ran from 2009 through 2011, linked low-income uninsured and Medicaid patients to safety-net health clinics. 

“Our study found that uninsured patients with chronic health issues – such as those suffering from hypertension, diabetes, asthma, COPD, congestive heart failure, depression or anxiety – relied less on the emergency department after they were linked to a local health clinic for ongoing care,” says Dr. Karoline Mortensen, assistant professor of health services administration at the University of Maryland School of Public Health and senior researcher. “Connecting patients to primary care and expanding the availability of these safety-net clinics could reduce emergency department visits and provide better continuity of care for vulnerable populations.”  

Funded by a grant from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the initiative engaged all five of the hospitals operating in Montgomery County, Maryland at the time, and four safety-net clinics serving low-income patients. Using “patient navigators,” individuals trained to help patients find the care they need and can afford, these hospitals referred more than 10,000 low-income, uninsured and Medicaid patients who visited emergency departments to four local primary care clinics, with the goal of encouraging them to establish an ongoing relationship with the clinic and reduce their reliance on costly emergency department care. 

Two hospitals in Montgomery County who participated in the intervention continued the program after the initial grant period concluded because of the benefits they saw for patients and for reducing emergency department visits and associated costs. These hospitals are currently testing a new version of the intervention specifically deigned to link emergency department patients with behavioral health conditions to appropriate community-based services. 

While hospital administrators and health policy experts throughout the country are recognizing that access to primary care improves continuity of care for patients and reduces avoidable use of emergency departments, the implications of this project are particularly important for hospitals in Maryland, which are now operating under a unique all-payer model for hospital payments. Within this new payment structure, Maryland hospitals will have to meet ambitious spending, quality of care, and population health goals. Reducing avoidable use of emergency departments can help in reaching these goals.

The project provides promise not only for hospitals in Maryland but throughout the nation to improve health care experiences and outcomes for their patients. Shared learning systems were an integral component of the project so participants were learning from each other and sharing best practices throughout the project and that learning has now been documented and can be replicated in other communities.

“This was an incredibly rewarding project to work on,” says Barbara H. Eldridge, Manager of Quality Improvement at the Primary Care Coalition. “We created a learning system that permits us to sustain improved communication between patients and their providers, between hospital discharge planners and community based clinics, and across five hospitals operating in Montgomery County.” The initiative has proven successful in Montgomery County, Maryland and is being replicated in communities in other parts of the country. 

“Linking Uninsured Patients Treated In The Emergency Department To Primary Care Shows Some Promise In Maryland” was written by Theresa Y. Kim, Karoline Mortensen, and Barbara Eldridge and published in the journal Health Affairs

University Launches Dynamic, Interactive Information Website UMD Right Now

December 4, 2012
Contacts: 

Crystal Brown 301-405-4618 crystalb@umd.edu

College Park, Md. – Today, the University of Maryland launched a brand-new multimedia news and information portal, UMD Right Now, which provides members of the media and the public with real-time information on the university and its extended community.

UMD Right Now replaces Newsdesk, which previously served as the university’s news hub and central resource for members of the media. The new site is aimed at reaching broader audiences and allows visitors to keep up with the latest Maryland news and events, view photos and videos and connect with the university across all of its social media platforms.

“We designed UMD Right Now to be a comprehensive, vibrant site where visitors can find new and exciting things happening at Maryland,” said Linda Martin, executive director, Web and New Media Strategies. “Through social media, video, photos and news information, we hope to engage visitors and compel the community to explore all that Maryland has to offer.”

The new website, umdrightnow.umd.edu, contains up-to-date news releases and announcements, facts and figures about the university, a searchable database of faculty and staff experts, information highlighting innovation and entrepreneurship at UMD, additional resources for news media and other campus and athletics news.

“UMD RightNow is the place to go to find out all the things happening on and around campus on any given day,” said Crystal Brown, chief communications officer. “This website brings real-time news, events and information right to your fingertips.”

For more information and contact information for the Office of University Communications, please visit umdrightnow.umd.edu.

UMD Announces Inventions of the Year Winners and Celebrates Ventures, and Partnerships

April 20, 2018
Contacts: 

Lee Tune, 301-405-4679

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Innovations with the potential for better, cheaper electric vehicle charging,  life-changing impact in health outcomes and more reliable facial detection software have been named the University of Maryland 2017 Inventions of the Year winners.

Although electric vehicles are becoming increasingly popular, they have yet to reach widespread adoption as manufacturers aim to reduce costs. One reason electric vehicles are expensive is because they have two batteries which require two different charging systems. UMD researchers have invented a new interface for electric vehicle charging that condenses previous charging mechanisms into one system. The interface is over 50 percent cheaper and lighter, almost 40 percent smaller, and 8 percent more efficient. Their Integrated Power Electronics Interface for Enhanced Electric Vehicle Charging was named the Overall Invention of the Year Winner and the winner in the Physical Sciences category.

The inventors are: Alireza Khaligh, associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Institute for Systems Research at the A. James Clark School of Engineering; Jiangheng Lu, graduate student in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the A. James Clark School of Engineering; and Ayan Mallik, graduate student in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the A. James Clark School of Engineering

A Flexible Urinary Catheter Insert to Detect and Prevent Bacterial Infections was the winner in the Life Sciences category.  Urinary tract infections are the most commonly reported health-care associated infection, and over 75 percent of reported cases involve the use of a catheter. Catheter-associated UTIs develop when bacterial biofilms form on the surface of an indwelling catheter. UMD researchers have invented a catheter insert which can detect and prevent the formation of biofilms and can treat the infection when combined with an antibiotic.

The inventors are: Ryan Huiszoon, Ph.D. student in the Fischell Department of Bioengineering at the James A. Clark School of Engineering; Pradeep Rajasekaran, post-doctoral researcher with the Institute for Systems Research (ISR); and Reza Ghodssi, Herbert Rabin Distinguished Chair in Engineering in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the A. James Clark School of Engineering and ISR

The winner in the Information Sciences category was a Robust System for Large Scale Facial Verification and Search.  Facial recognition software has steadily gained popularity over the past decade, but its unreliability and tendency to produce false-positives make it problematic for widespread adoption. However, UMD researchers have recognized the potential for face-detection software adoption in many industries and have invented a new software which uses deep convolutional neural networks to analyze images, producing vastly better results than previous software.

The inventors are: Rajeev Ranjan, graduate student with the UMD Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS) at the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences;

Carlos Castillo, assistant research scientist at UMIACS; and Ramalingam Chellappa, Distinguished University Professor and Minta Martin Professor of Engineering and chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the A. James Clark School of Engineering.

Since 1987, UMD has honored exceptional inventions that have the potential to make an important impact on science, society, and the free market. The Invention of the Year award finalists are selected from prior year invention disclosures in three categories: Physical Sciences, Life Sciences, and Information Sciences. A panel of judges selected one invention from each category to win the 2017 Invention of the Year Award. Julie Lenzer, associate vice president for innovation and economic development and co-director of UM Ventures, presented the awards.

Innovate Maryland

The Inventions of the Year  were announced on April 11 at Innovate Maryland, an annual event hosted this year at The Hotel at the University of Maryland. More than 400 faculty, students, staff, and campus partners gathered to celebrate groundbreaking research, innovations, entrepreneurship, and partnerships connected to the University of Maryland. More than a dozen startup companies borne from UMD research were featured in a showcase, with products ranging from a smart wood stove and a living green patio umbrella to an electronic home plate and mobile personal air conditioner. Prior to the awards program, the UMD Office of Technology Commercialization hosted a CEO Mixer to help connect faculty entrepreneurs with serial entrepreneurs in search of their next venture opportunity.

Several other recognitions were made at the event, including:

  • The Advanced Cybersecurity Experience for Students (ACES) honors program was noted as the UMD Corporate Connector of the Year. The award is given each year to an individual or a program in the university that has established partnerships with the private sector in corporate research, philanthropy, and/or student support.\
  • MF Fire Inc., a Baltimore-based startup company selling CatalystTM, a smart, clean, modern wood burning stove based on technology developed at UMD was given the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) Venture of the Year award, which recognizes excellence in innovation by leveraging University of Maryland-originated new knowledge or technology to solve real world problems.

 

 

 

Gossett Family Makes Historic $21.25 Million Gift to the University of Maryland

April 19, 2018
Contacts: 

Katie Lawson, 301-405-4622 

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The University of Maryland announces a $21.25 million gift from Barry and Mary Gossett to establish an innovative, three-part support model for the academic success of student-athletes. The Barry and Mary Gossett Center for Academic and Personal Excellence aims to ensure the development of UMD’s student-athletes in both athletics and academics. In collaboration with the Office of the Provost, the Gossett Center will provide student-athletes with the foundation needed to be successful global citizens and make a positive transition to life after college.

“Demanding athletic schedules pose unique challenges to student-athletes, causing barriers to internships and part-time jobs that help students develop important skills during their time in college,” says Gossett, a University System of Maryland regent and former chair of the Board of Trustees for the University of Maryland College Park Foundation. “Because of that, we were drawn to the idea of providing student-athletes with the real-life experiences they need to help them succeed in their future careers beyond athletics.”

“This remarkable gift will give our student-athletes the best support available to succeed academically, further their personal growth and tackle the unique challenges they face,” said University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh. “Barry and Mary Gossett have always been there for our students, but their generosity and vision in funding this center will leave a lasting imprint on young lives.”

The center will focus on a critical gap in collegiate student-athlete development—career transition and professional success post-graduation, addressing the fact that few student-athletes go on to play their sport professionally. The Gossett Center will significantly enhance and expand programming offered through what is currently called the Academic Support and Career Services Unit in the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. 

Gossetts with student athletes“Through their contributions to the university’s Incentive Awards Program, our business and engineering schools, the Do Good initiative and more, the Gossetts have time after time shown their commitment to the academic success of all UMD students,” said UMD’s Senior Vice President and Provost Mary Ann Rankin. “We are grateful that the Gossett Center will provide the same type of specialized support to our student-athletes as we provide for many other student populations on campus, such as veterans and first generation college students, among many more.”

The Gossett Center will assist students as they take an active role in their education alongside their athletic and academic support team, and leverage other university resources. To provide this holistic development, the center will focus on a three-part model:

  • The Path: The center’s unique model will begin with activities and programs a student-athlete needs to succeed academically and personally while participating in athletics. From developing personal, career and development goals to participating in an enhanced internship program, students-athletes will follow the Path to graduate on time and with the skills needed to be successful in their futures. Building upon the current “InTERPship Academy,” rising junior student-athletes will have the opportunity to be selected for the Gossett Fellows Program.
    Gossett Fellows participate in paid summer internships that will give them real-world experience in their area of interest while still taking part in their sport.

  • The Bridge: Graduating student-athletes can struggle with the transition into professional careers. With the Bridge, students will have access to mentors who will help prepare them to pursue their goals after graduation. In addition, Gossett Fellows may receive a Gossett Award to support the next chapter of their professional careers, from graduate school to service trips to starting ventures.

  • The Horizon: After working through their individualized career plan, gaining work experience through internships and being carefully guided by mentors, the Horizon for student-athletes focuses on giving back to current students. Alumni will remain a part of the center’s programming after graduation through the TERPS Career Network, an electronic platform that connects current and former student-athlete graduates, complemented by career fairs and other campus events. In addition, these former student-athletes can serve as mentors to current student-athletes and contribute to the program that paved the way for their personal and professional success.

“We are committed to supporting our student-athletes not only through our premier athletic program, but by producing graduates who are prepared to serve as leaders in local, state and global communities,” said Damon Evans, executive athletic director. “Through the programs provided by the Gossett Center, we will be positioned better than ever to recruit and retain world-class athletes by supporting their athletic and academic careers from the moment they step on campus to well after graduation.”

This historic investment comes as the university plans to launch its capital campaign next month, of which Gossett generously serves as a campaign co-chair. 

The Gossett Center programs are planned to begin implementation in fall 2018.

 

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About the University of Maryland
The University of Maryland, College Park is the state's flagship university and one of the nation's preeminent public research universities. A global leader in research, entrepreneurship and innovation, the university is home to more than 40,000 students, 10,000 faculty and staff, and 280 academic programs. Its faculty includes two Nobel laureates, three Pulitzer Prize winners, 60 members of the national academies and scores of Fulbright scholars. The institution has a $1.9 billion operating budget and secures $514 million annually in external research funding. For more information about the University of Maryland, College Park, visit www.umd.edu.

 

 

 

 

New UMD Report Shows Planning for Future Uncertainties is Key to a Thriving Region

April 18, 2018
Contacts: 

Maggie Haslam, 202-258-8946

COLLEGE PARK, Md.—The University of Maryland’s National Center for Smart Growth (NCSG) has released a report that outlines four possible future scenarios for the Baltimore-Washington region and how they might impact quality of life across the state. The landmark, five-year project, Prospects for Regional Sustainability Tomorrow (PRESTO), reveals how regional responses to large-scale, uncertain phenomena—such as autonomous vehicles, high fuel prices and government regulation—could impact economic, social and environmental health. On April 18th the report will be reviewed by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and regional stakeholders at the Smart Growth @ 20 workshop in Annapolis. 

“PRESTO is part of a long-standing effort at the National Center for Smart Growth to promote smarter and more sustainable development using science and advanced computer models at the mega regional scale,” said Dr. Gerrit-Jan Knaap, Director of the NCSG. “This allows us to go beyond micro scale issues such as walkable neighborhoods, transit-oriented development and opportunistic land preservation to larger scale systemic issues such as transportation technology, energy prices and regional development patterns. What’s more, it is clear that there is no organization that is addressing these issues in the Baltimore-Washington area at this critical scale.”

Using a highly sophisticated, interconnected modeling suite, PRESTO is one of only a handful of global efforts to simulate future conditions by playing out how “driving forces” could potentially shape an area. Focusing on land use change, mobility, equity and environment, PRESTO presents a baseline scenario which projects a continuation of current growth management and four alternative futures that the Baltimore-Washington region may face in 2040: high-level automation (nicknamed “Revenge of the Nerds”), high-tech sustainability (“Blue Planet”), deregulation (“Free for All”) and scarcity (“Last Call at the Oasis”). 

The future scenarios offer radically different outcomes for the region: 

  • The Revenge of the Nerds scenario envisions a region dominated by low fuel prices and new technology, as well as relaxed government regulation. The popular adoption of autonomous vehicles increases highway capacity and dramatically reduces congestion compared to the baseline. Increased mobility and relaxed regulation on development creates an exodus from city suburbs into more rural areas. 
  • Last Call at the Oasis shows a very different future, where high gas prices spur investments in transit and strict land use controls, concentrating both households and jobs in the inner suburbs and creating lower levels of pollution. 
  • Hands-off government sets the tone in Free for All. Low government regulation, coupled with lower fuel prices, results in development encroaching into farms and forests; this scenario sees an increase in housing affordability, but also air pollution and nutrient loads. 
  • Blue Planet provides the most sustainable scenario, where high fuel prices, in turn, fuel investments in transit and renewable energy, spurring local governments to increase housing capacity in the inner suburbs.

                                                                             Presto Image Simulations

While each scenario presents different outcomes, several common themes emerged. According to PRESTO researchers opening housing capacity and increasing affordability in the inner suburbs will have positive impacts on several sustainability indicators. In addition, the inevitability of emerging technologies requires a robust, well-represented group—including urban planners—at the development table to ensure that innovations, capacity and infrastructure are properly aligned. However, both road and transit investments must be made carefully and strategically. Transit investments outside the beltways, for instance, would be less impactful than within the core. Environmental impacts such as air pollution and land preservation look to be very complex balances and will require sound, thoughtful policy.

“Because we tested some extreme infrastructure and land use options, we have gained new insights into their intended and unintended consequences,” said Uri Avin, research professor at NCSG. “These are the building blocks for future strategies that are robust enough to cope with a changing world.”

While the idea of PRESTO is not to predict which future will come true, researchers hope it will help guide policymakers in how they prepare. The approach taken by the researchers stresses the importance of accounting for the uncertain conditions that policymakers may encounter along the way. The report also sets the stage for formulating alternative, more sustainable scenarios for the region, which include identifying and promoting policy decisions that could boost sustainable practice.

Learn more about PRESTO and read the full report, here.

 

UMD Researchers Revive Old Chemistry to Create Safer Zinc Battery

April 18, 2018
Contacts: 

Melissa L. Andreychek, 301-405-0292

COLLEGE PARK, Md. —  A team of researchers from the  University of Maryland's A. James Clark School of Engineering have created a water-based zinc battery that is simultaneously powerful, rechargeable, and intrinsically safe. The new aqueous zinc battery could eventually be used in consumer electronics, as well as in extreme conditions to improve the performance of safety-critical equipment and vehicles used in aerospace, military, and deep-ocean environments. 

Together with colleagues at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), UMD engineers used metallic zinc – an element used in 1799 in the very first battery – to crank up the energy of their own 2015 advance in battery technology. That previous UMD advance used a novel and safe water-in-salt electrolyte to replace the flammable organic electrolyte used in conventional lithium-ion batteries.

Salt Water Battery Researcher

The team’s peer-reviewed paper based on their latest research was published April 16 in the journal Nature Materials.

"Water-based batteries could be crucial to preventing fires in electronics, but their energy storage and capacity have been limited – until now. For the first time, we have a battery that could compete with the lithium-ion batteries in energy density, but without the risk of explosion or fire," says Fei Wang, a jointly appointed postdoctoral associate at UMD's Clark School and ARL, and first author of the paper.

Fei Wang cites numerous, highly publicized battery fires in cell phones, laptops, and electric cars as examples of the clear need for a safer battery that can provide comparable, or even better, performance than current lithium-ion batteries.

The team’s new highly concentrated aqueous zinc battery also overcomes disadvantages of conventional zinc batteries, such as: the capacity to endure only limited recharging cycles; the damaging growth of tree-like crystal structures, known as dendrites, during usage and recharging; and the sustained water consumption that results in the need to regularly replenish the batteries’ electrolyte with water.

"Existing zinc batteries are safe and relatively inexpensive to produce, but they aren't perfect due to poor cycle life and low energy density. We overcome these challenges by using a water-in-salt electrolyte," says Chunsheng Wang, UMD professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and corresponding author of the paper.

Through their collaborations, the researchers identified the fundamental cause in zinc batteries of irreversibility – a phenomenon observed in rechargeable battery usage where the amount of charge a battery can deliver at the rated voltage decreases with use – and found a novel solution. 

"Because most water molecules in the new electrolyte are strongly bonded by the highly concentrated salt, the water in the aqueous zinc battery's electrolyte will not evaporate in an open cell,” explains Chunsheng Wang. “This advance revolutionizes zinc–air batteries, which are powered by oxidizing zinc with oxygen from the air, such as those used in energy grid storage." .

Joseph Dura, a physicist at NIST and co-author of the paper says, "Zinc batteries would provide a powerful and inexpensive means of energy storage if they could be rechargeable. This research uncovered ways to control which molecules in the electrolyte surround the ions that move back and forth in a battery when storing and releasing energy. Here, the co-authors applied this knowledge to make a highly rechargeable zinc battery which could offer a low-cost, safe alternative for consumer electronics, cars, and electrical grid storage." 

The research team says this battery technology advance lays the groundwork for further research, and they are hopeful for possible future commercialization.

"The significant discovery made in this work has touched the core problem of aqueous zinc batteries, and could impact other aqueous or non-aqueous multivalence cation chemistries that face similar challenges, such as magnesium and aluminum batteries," says Kang Xu, ARL fellow and co-corresponding author of this paper.

 

Two UMD Faculty Elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

April 18, 2018
Contacts: 

Alana Coyle, 301-405-0235

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Two University of Maryland faculty members have been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious honorary societies. David C. Driskell, distinguished university professor emeritus of art, and Elaine S. Oran, Ph.D., Glenn L. Martin Institute professor of engineering, are among 213 new members of the academy being recognized for their accomplishments as scholars, scientists, writers, artists, and civic & philanthropic leaders. 

David C. Driskell

Driskell is known for his poignant work as an artist and scholar. He has had an active career as a practicing artist, teacher, curator, collector, art administrator and art consultant. He is known for curating the exhibition, "Two Centuries of Black American Art: 1750-1950" at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art—the first comprehensive survey of African American art. He has lectured globally and his works are included in major collections of art museums across the world. In 2001, UMD established the David C. Driskell Center to honor Driskell and preserve the rich heritage of African American visual art and culture. As a leading authority on African American art, he has received numerous fellowships, awards, and accolades including the Harmon Foundation Fellowship, three Rockefeller Foundation Fellowships, and thirteen honorary doctoral degrees in art.

Elaine Oran

Oran is widely recognized for her contributions to the advancement of science and engineering. She pioneered computational technology for the solution of complex reactive flow problems, unifying concepts from science, mathematics, engineering and computer science in a new methodology. Oran has received many awards and honors, including the Fluid Dynamics Prize of the American Physical Society, the Zeldovich Gold Medal of the Combustion Institute and the Society of Women Engineers Achievement Award. In addition, Oran is also a member of the National Academy of Engineering, which is among the highest professional distinctions in the industry. She has also published extensively in journals, and her research has garnered significant media coverage. 

Driskell and Oran joins other distinguished notables in the 2018 Class, including Supreme Court Justice Sonia M. Sotomayor, 44th President of the United States Barack H. Obama, author Ta-Nehisi Coates, and philanthropist and entrepreneur Laurene Powell Jobs. Driskell and Oran’s election into the Academy this year brings the total number of UMD faculty who are members of academies to 56.

“Membership in the Academy is not only an honor, but also an opportunity and a responsibility,” said Jonathan Fanton, president of the American Academy. “Members can be inspired and engaged by connecting with one another and through Academy projects dedicated to the common good. The intellect, creatively and commitment of the 2018 Class will enrich the work of the Academy and the world in which we live.”

The new class will be inducted at a ceremony in October 2018 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. 

The full list of the newly elected members is available at www.amacad.org/members.

 

Pages

Team Maryland at HUD competition
April 23
Team’s holistic and creative approach to affordable housing captures the $20,000 prize. Read
April 20
UMD honors exceptional inventions that have the potential to make an important impact on science, society, and the free... Read
April 19
The Barry and Mary Gossett Center for Academic and Personal Excellence will provide student-athletes with the... Read
April 18
The five-year project, Prospects for Regional Sustainability Tomorrow (PRESTO), reveals how regional responses to large... Read