Published: 22 May 2018

ATI researcher impresses public with energy harvesting research

PhD student Ishara Dharmasena has beaten off fierce competition to win the ABTA Doctoral Researcher Award for Engineering Sciences.

Ishara Dharmasena

Ishara, who is in the third year of his PhD studies in Surrey’s Advanced Technology Institute (ATI), was announced as winner in the ABTA Awards 2018 finals held at University College London on 12 May. The ABTA (Association of British Turkish Academies) Awards are open to all PhD students across the UK and this year attracted over 200 entries.

Winning first place in the Engineering Sciences category, Ishara impressed judges not only with his PhD research into triboelectric nanogenerators, but by communicating his research in an engaging and exciting manner to a public audience.

Triboelectric nanogenerators can be produced as fabric-like devices which allow motion to be transformed into electric currents – enabling users to charge their mobiles by walking or running, for example. Ishara’s research has been published in Energy and Environmental Science, and Nano Energy, world leading journals in the field of energy.

Ishara said: “The ABTA Awards attracted PhD students from leading universities all around the UK, so the competition was tough. However I think that I was able to engage the audience by linking my research to their day-to-day lives, using examples within my presentation to demonstrate the technology in action.

“The next stage of our research will be to explore the use of triboelectric nanogenerators to capture larger scale motion such as wind, ocean waves and machine vibrations.”

Professor Ravi Silva, Head of the ATI, commented: “I am pleased to see Ishara getting a well deserved accolade for all his hard work in triboelectric nanogenerators. It acknowledges the very high quality of research being undertaken at the ATI and our activities which are being recognised nationally and internationally. Congratulations to the whole team engaged in the work.”


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