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The Faculty of Chemistry and Biology collaborates with Argentina in a project for developing lithium batteries
The Government of the neighboring country intends to build these devices in its territory, so it ordered its scientists to carry out this task. The Argentinian experts already have Dr. Juan Luis Gautier’s academic collaboration. He is an academic at the Faculty of Chemistry and Biology and one of the few researchers in this field in the continent. He expressed surprise at Senator Carlos Cantero’s statement about the absence of research on this subject in Chile, even though we have large reserves of this mineral.
Dr. Juan Luis Gautier, the researcher and current dean of the Faculty of Chemistry and Biology of the University, was surprised at the statement made recently by Senator Carlos Cantero, member of the newly created Commission on the Future of the Senate, at Radio Universidad de Santiago.
According to the legislator, and based on information provided by the National Commission for Scientific and Technological Research (Conycit), there is no research in Chile, at the graduate level or carried out by academics about issues associated with lithium. "We don’t have experts on lithium and no research on this matter in our country; this is really a cult to stupidity," said the senator, emphasizing that Chile is one of the largest producers of this mineral in the world.
“Clearly, the senator received incorrect information”, says dean Gautier, because the Faculty of Chemistry and Biology, and he, in particular, have been working for a few years in improving lithium batteries, useful devices for electric cars and other electronics, such as portable phones and computers. In fact, the Faculty has Conicyt funded projects; one of them is still officially in progress.
He has also created a particular scientific cooperation, focused on the development and manufacture of lithium batteries, with the National University of La Plata, Argentina.
The neighboring country is developing a government policy to manufacture these energy devices, and it comprises, in a first stage, batteries for computers and then for less polluting cars. In this context, Argentinian investigators came to the Faculty of Chemistry and Biology, in order to keep in touch with the academic Gautier, who currently heads the Fondecyt project "Lithium batteries: new nanostructured electrodes based on nickel" (Project No. 1110755 Fondecyt Regular). "Our job is to prepare new materials (electrodes) for lithium batteries. We deal with the synthesis of these elements, their characterization and use by loading and unloading tests, “Dr. Gautier.explains.
The focus of the research led by the dean Gautier is making these batteries have a maximum capacity of autonomy for an extended period, allowing electric cars go for medium and long distances. "Today, they can only be used in the cities," the scholar warns.
At the National University of La Plata they believe that the mineral potential in both countries requires the need to establish a closer collaboration. "South America represents 75% of global reservoir of lithium and that's something we need to start taking advantage. If we have the knowledge, experience and raw material, the process is only a matter of time and collaboration, "said Dr. Arnaldo Visintin, a researcher at the Faculty of Sciences of the Universidad Nacional de la Plata, in his recent visit to the University.
"Society is giving the possibility to develop technology while we give away the gold we have in our countries," Dr. Visintin criticized, in the context of a lectured delivered to academics and students from the Faculty of Chemistry and Biology and other units.
For Gautier there is a whole future presented by the lithium batteries. In this context, he announced the development of a joint project between the two countries. In his view, the Chilean government should devote a significant amount of resources to this project.
Dr. Gautier preferred not to delve into Senator Cantero’s words. However, he expressed his intention to present personally his scientific work on lithium batteries to the Legislative Power and all government agencies that require it.