Jian Liu

Jian Liu

Assistant Professor

School of Engineering (Okanagan campus)

What is your educational background?

I completed a BEng degree in Metallic Materials Engineering at Sichuan University, an MEng in Materials Science and Engineering at University of Science and Technology Beijing and a PhD in Materials Science at the University of Western Ontario. After graduation, I performed research at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Why engineering?

Materials engineering addresses the greatest challenges facing modern society — such as clean energy and global warming — by discovering and developing new materials. My graduate supervisors, Professors Xiping Song and Andy Sun, introduced me to the amazing fields of materials science, nanotechnology and clean energy, and inspired me to pursue an academic career in materials engineering. I am extremely grateful for their encouragement and support and I strive to provide my students with the same high level of guidance to help them succeed.

What are your research interests?

I develop new materials that are important in alternative technologies for the harvest, storage and use of renewable energy in sectors such as transportation, power stations and wearable devices. I’m currently focused on identifying and developing new meso/nano-scale materials for next-generation battery technologies (such as Na-ion, Li-S, and Li-ion batteries) and better understanding synthesis-structure-performance relationships in energy materials.

How do you hope your work will impact society?

New battery technologies will play a crucial role in future energy systems for storing electricity harvested from renewable energy resources of an intermittent nature, such as solar, wind and hydro, and for utilizing electricity for a range of applications, such as transportation, wearable electronics, wireless sensing networks and medical implants. The development of next-generation battery technologies in my research program will accelerate the deployment of electric vehicles, increase the adoption of renewable energy technologies, address the energy crisis and environmental consequences because of fossil fuels and contribute to the achievement of the Government of Canada’s target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30% below 2005 levels by 2020.

How do you think your field of engineering will be different 100 years from now?

The world will run on renewable energy. The technology advancement in clean energy harvest, storage and utilization will totally change our lifestyles. Electric vehicles will take over the road and be able to charge anywhere in no time. Each resident house will become an energy self-supported and central intelligent controlled system. In materials engineering, the past twenty years have witnessed emerging development and applications of nanomaterials and nanotechnology in various fields. In future, materials will be developed, observed and manipulated even beyond the nanoscale sale.

Do you have an item you couldn’t live without?

My favourite book is the biograph book of Steve Jobs. My favourite movie is The Defender (1994). My favourite band is Beyond, a Hong Kong rock band formed in 1983. I couldn’t live without my own pillow.

What are you passionate about outside work?

I like to play different ball games, such as basketball, ping pong, soccer, and tennis.

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