The 2015 Adolf-Messer Prize has been awarded to Bai-Xiang Xu, a materials scientist at the TU Darmstadt University of Technology in Germany.

Xu, Junior Professor and Head of the mechanics of functional materials department at the TU Darmstadt, was awarded the prize for her research project into durable lithium ion batteries.

Established in 1978 by the Messer family and now worth €50,000, the Adolf-Messer Prize awards outstanding achievements in the fields of natural science and engineering science.

Xu completed her doctorate in solid mechanics at the University of Peking in 2008. Prior to this, she spent two years at the TU Darmstadt as a scholarship student, where she deepened her acknowledge of micro-mechanics, modelling and numerical simulation.

Today, her scientific work is focused on the modelling and optimisation of nanostructured electrodes for durable lithium ion batteries as commonly found installed in electronics vehicles or electronic devices such as smartphones or tablets. The project makes an important contribution to making the all-pervasive lithium ion battery, which is crucial to today’s energy storage devices, substantially more durable.

Rechargeable lithium ion batteries could hold large amounts of energy to make the renewable energy generated by solar cells and wind turbines more reliable and offset natural fluctuations. The research carried out by Xu and her team is aimed at developing new nanostructured electrodes for more resilient batteries with a higher capacity.