Wayne State alumnus receives patent for innovative battery technology


Rhet de Guzman

Rhet de Guzman, who graduated from Wayne State University with a Ph.D. in materials science and engineering, was awarded a patent from the U.S. Department of Energy for his work on a composite anode for lithium ion batteries. Many current lithium ion batteries utilize anodes composed of graphite. However, by replacing graphite with composite anodes composed of silicon nanoparticles and graphene, de Guzman has increased the battery's capacity significantly.  

"If this design is formulated properly we will see a minimum improvement of twice the energy capacity in comparison to standard lithium ion batteries," de Guzman said. "We are still in the early steps of this process, and have a long was to go to fully optimize this invention. The biggest challenge will be making sure the invention is economically viable and can be applied to current technology."  

Lithium ion batteries are crucial to the development of electric vehicles, electronics and wearable technology. As this technology continues to advance, the demand for higher-capacity batteries increases. They can aid in environmental preservation because of the role battery capacity plays in electric vehicle development. Additionally, as the lifespan of batteries increases so does the lifespan of electronic devices, leading to less waste.  

De Guzman became interested in lithium ion battery development for this very reason. At a young age, de Guzman's father, who works as an environment and natural recourses officer, instilled in him the importance of sustainability and taking care of the earth. 

"I know that, with further optimization and development, this will be a valuable technology for individuals, and it will contribute to creating a greener earth," de Guzman said. 

After receiving his bachelor's in material science from the University of the Philippines, de Guzman began working on his Ph.D. at Wayne State in 2007. As a graduate research assistant, he developed silicon nitride-based composite anodes for lithium ion batteries, which also aimed to improve energy capacity. Currently, de Guzman works for Black Diamond Structures in Austin, Texas as a battery testing group leader. 

Simon Ng, the associate dean for research and graduate studies at the College of Engineering, and Steven O. Salley, a professor of chemical engineering, were co-inventors on the project. De Guzman served as the primary researcher. 

The patent number for this invention is 9,911,974. 

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