Assistant Professor Duong Hai Minh’s novel recyclable cellulose aerogels won the 2016 TechConnect Innovation Award. He and his team from the Department of Mechanical Engineering have created the world’s first green cellulose aerogels made of paper waste. The non-toxic, ultralight, flexible, extremely strong and water repellent cellulose aerogels have a plethora of applications, including oil spill cleaning, heat insulation and packaging. They can be potentially used as coating materials for drug delivery, as well as smart materials for biomedical applications.
The annual TechConnect Innovation Awards by TechConnect, a global technology outreach and development organisation, identify the top 15 per cent of submitted technologies ranked by the TechConnect Corporate & Investment Partner Committee. The innovation rankings are based on the potential positive impact the submitted technology will have on a specific industry sector. Innovations are submitted from global academic technology transfer offices, start-ups, small business innovative research awardees, as well as government and corporate research laboratories. TechConnect, headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts with offices in Austin, Texas and Danville, California, also organises the annual TechConnect World Innovation Conference, which is uniquely designed to accelerate the commercialisation of innovations out of the lab and into industry.
Assistant Professor Duong joined NUS Engineering in October 2010, and is currently with the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Since 2015, he has been the deputy lab supervisor of the Materials Science groups, and a key member of the Functional Materials Society in Singapore, where he assisted in organising several international conferences. Assistant Professor Duong’s research interests include carbon nanotube and aerogel materials, and their applications through experiments and modelling. His aerogel research has been highlighted in the mainstream media, such as Channel Newsasia and the Straits Times, as well as trade publications, including Materials Today. He has one commercialised patent. Assistant Professor Duong also sits on the editorial board of two scientific journals. He has authored five book chapters and over 150 journal papers, and presented at numerous conferences.