Dalhousie University has renewed its research partnership with Tesla and named two scientists as research chairs to deepen the science behind lithium-ion batteries and energy storage.

The Halifax university issued a statement on Monday saying the 2015 agreement between Tesla and the Jeff Dahn Laboratory at Dal has been renewed and will run at least until 2026.

Under that partnership, the lab has embarked on pioneering research into extending the life, increasing the power and lowering the cost of batteries. These are critical goals in producing electric cars that can travel as far without a recharge as vehicles running on gasoline.

Dal also named Dr. Chongyin Yang as the Tesla Canada Research Chair and Dr. Michael Metzger as the Herzberg-Dahn Chair. They will work closely with Dahn, the NSERC/Tesla Canada Inc. Industrial Research Chair, and Canada Research Chair in Materials for Advanced Batteries.

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

The Dal statement said Yang has been working on materials and devices for energy conversion and storage for 12 years. He was previously an assistant research scientist in the Department of Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Maryland.

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 the 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.

Metzger received a diploma from the Technical University of Munich, the top-ranked university in Germany and the European Union. While completing his graduate studies, he 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 Silicon Valley as a research engineer for Robert Bosch, the largest supplier for the automotive industry.

Metzger’s research group will focus on developing new methods to study the performance and lifetime of advanced lithium-ion batteries, lithium metal batteries and desalination batteries. The goal is to create a fundamental understanding that will help develop new electrode materials and electrolytes for stationary and electric vehicle batteries.

Dahn said in the statement that both Yang and Metzger are outstanding scientists and charismatic leaders and that he looked forward to working with them.

“Our goal is to continue to help Tesla develop better advanced batteries for its products,” said Dahn. “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.”

In a separate release, Australia's Novonix Ltd. said Dahn would become the company's Chief Scientific Adviser as of July 1, helping the company with its battery materials and research work and providing support on projects for clients. 

Novonix has a long-standing relationship with Dahn. In 2015, it acquired a battery-testing operation that began in Dahn's Lab. Novonix Battery Testing Services is still operating in Bedford, and its staff includes five people who previously worked under Dahn's supervision.