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UC scientist developing infinitely rechargeable batteries

Innovative UC scientist developing infinitely rechargeable batteries and nitrate sensors

University of Canterbury chemistry expert, Dr Deborah Crittenden is a finalist in the sixth annual KiwiNet Research Commercialisation Awards, designed to celebrate impact from science through successful research commercialisation in New Zealand universities and Crown Research Institutes.

Dr Crittenden is developing exciting new technologies delivering environmental sustainability, including infinitely rechargeable batteries and real-time nitrate sensors.

A senior lecturer in UC’s School of Physical and Chemical Sciences, she is one of three finalists in the award category, Norman F.B. Barry Trust Breakthrough Innovator. Her work developing a laser sensor capable of measuring nitrates in the field is already award-winning.

Dr Crittenden brings a diverse skill set and pragmatic approach to developing novel scientific and technological solutions for important real-world problems that also have the potential to deliver excellent economic outcomes for New Zealand.

She is currently working on designing new energy storage liquids for use in redox flow batteries, and a novel nitrate sensor system based upon laser-induced photochemistry coupled to simple, low-cost detection methods. She is also developing a new platform technology for predicting how drug molecules bind to their targets on a very large scale.



In 2017, a spin-out company, Flow Holdings, was established to develop Dr Crittenden's molecular design work of a prototype redox flow battery. Discussions are ongoing around partnering with industry to further advance and commercialise Dr Crittenden's nitrate sensor design, which has already attracted pre-incubation funding. Dr Crittenden is in early discussions with a tech incubator around commercialising her computational drug design tool.

The Kiwi Innovation Network (KiwiNet) is a consortium of 16 universities, Crown Research Institutes, an Independent Research Organisation and a Crown Entity established to boost commercial outcomes from publicly funded research by helping to transform scientific discoveries into new products and services.


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