Leading research and development by former CSIRO Chief Research Scientist, Dr Sukhvinder Badwal, has created opportunities to power the future with clean and renewable energy.
Coming from India to study at Flinders University in the 1970s presented Dr Badwal (PhD(PhysSc) ’78) with many cultural and personal challenges, but he says it taught him the resilience and perseverance that has helped him become an internationally recognised authority in clean and renewable energy technologies.
Over his long career, Melbourne-based Dr Badwal has made a substantial contribution to advance solid state electrochemistry and its application in gas sensors; hybrid energy systems; gas separation membranes; hydrogen, oxygen and ammonia production; and fuel cell technology.
He says it was the encouragement of his Flinders professors that led him to become an innovator in these emerging scientific fields.
‘When I joined Flinders, my main area of interest was x-ray diffraction, but I was asked to work on high temperature materials for electrochemical applications,’ says Dr Badwal.
‘I was initially a bit apprehensive as it was a totally new area, but this was a blessing in disguise. The area developed very fast and I was given excellent guidance from Professor Bevan and Professor Bockris. This was a tremendous starting point for my career.’
Dr Badwal was CSIRO Chief Research Scientist from 1997-2013 and a foundation member of Ceramic Fuel Cells Limited, a successful start-up company spun out of his research activities. Many technologies developed by Dr Badwal and his team have been commercialised with multimillion-dollar benefits accruing to Australian industry and the broader community.
In 2001 Dr Badwal was recognised by his peers as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering. He received the Centenary Medal for services to Australian Society in R&D for Energy Technology and Engineering in 2002 and was appointed as a CSIRO Fellow in 2013.
While Dr Badwal has retired from the role of Director at CSIRO’s Centre for Hybrid Energy Systems, he remains involved in CSIRO’s STEM program for schools. His focus is now to increase awareness, especially with the younger generation, of the clean and renewable energy technologies available to power our future.
Dr Sukhvinder Badwal was awarded a 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award for his outstanding international leadership, research and development in the fields of energy technology and engineering.