By Dr. Siti Fatimah Zaharah Mohd Fuzi
The automotive industry is one business sector where nanotechnology might, and is beginning to, make a significant impact in Malaysia. Recent years have demonstrated an acceleration of this process. As global energy consumption rises, the expansion of new energy production will increase dramatically. With the growing demand for big batteries in electric vehicles (EV), the graphene battery becomes an essential topic in the field of renewable energy. Graphene batteries are more in line with the criteria for diversification and large-scale projects than conventional batteries. In the laboratory, graphene battery technology has made remarkable strides, and the related industrialisation technology is becoming a major topic of discussion. Prior reaching industrial applications, however, there are still numerous challenges to be resolved.
Upon recognising this, numerous UTHM researchers took the initiative to perform pertinent research and work with the industry. And the most recent one is UTHM’s collaboration with NanoMalaysia Berhad (NMB) under the Campuses for Electric Vehicle Expedited Roll-Out (CLEVER) Program framework. On 1st of July 2022, UTHM are officially partnering with NanoMalaysia in the CLEVER Program Opening Ceremony in EduCity Iskandar, together with UTM, UNITEN and Educity Iskandar Malaysia Sdn. Bhd. with the support of the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation (MOSTI).
The programme was attended by UTHM’s Vice Chancellor, Prof. Ts. Dr. Ruzairi Abdul Rahim and Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research & Innovation), Prof. Dr. Mohd Shahir Shamsir Omar demonstrating the university’s dedication. Witnessing the ceremony, from UTHM were the Dean of the Faculty of Applied Sciences & Technology (FAST), the Dean of the Faculty of Electrical and Electronic Engineering (FKEE), the Dean of the Centre of Diploma Studies (PPD), the Director of Institute for Integrated Engineering (I2E), representative from Industry Community Relations Centre (ICRC), researchers from I2E, UTHM staffs and students.
According to the concept, EV-related technology is being developed for each CLEVER campus. When the technology has reached full maturity, it will be deployed in a sandbox on the CLEVER platform. NMB is primarily focused on scooters with a Battery Monitoring System (BMS) used by students on campuses with designated EV parking places. They will also be equipped with Battery Swapping Stations (BSS), which have removable battery slots and smart battery management. The programme is consistent with the Ministry’s commitment on fostering the growth and deployment of local EV solutions in support of the National Automotive Policy 2020’s target of installing about 5,000 EV charging stations to bolster infrastructural support.
In addition, UTHM took part in the exhibition led by Assoc. Prof. Dr Samsul Haimi Dahlan and Dr. Xavier Ngu Toh Ik, both of whom are researchers from the Research Center for Applied Electromagnetics (EMC) under I2E, highlighting their study on radiated emissions produced by charging stations, as well as the need for stringent Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) and Electromagnetic Immunity (EMI) testing. This ensures that EVs pose no health risks and do not interrupt signals.
NMB has previously collaborated with UTHM researchers on the product development of smart infused fabric by Oasis Integrated Group (OIG) under I2E and the fabrication of a single unit and a nine-unit array of metamaterial radio frequency energy harvester systems by Emerging Telecommunication Technology (ETT) and Advanced Telecommunication Research Center (ATRC). In light of this, it is hoped that a programme similar to this would become more prevalent in the future and strengthen mutual understanding and cooperation, leading to more fascinating and cohesive outcomes between UTHM and industries.
*UTHM’s researchers shared their current research on electric vehicle with Dato’ Sri Dr. Adham Baba, Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI), Professor Ts. Dr Ruzairi Abdul Rahim (UTHM) and Dr. Rezal Khairi Ahmad (NMB).