Breakthrough power source scoops Engineer Award

Chris Bicknell, Ramy Mesalam, Emily Jane Watkinson, Richard Ambrosi, with Tim Tinsley from NNL

Congratulations to Professor Richard Ambrosi and colleagues in our School of Physics and Astronomy who have won the ‘Aerospace, Defence and Security’ category in The Engineer magazine’s annual awards.

Working with the National Nuclear Laboratory and European Thermodynamics Ltd, the Leicester team broke new ground by generating electricity from americium, a by-product of plutonium decay.

Although it’s just one lightbulb for now, this has potential usage in deep space missions. The work was praised by Science Minister Chris Skidmore who called it “another brilliant testament to our world leading scientific and university communities and their commitment to keeping the UK at the very frontier of developments in space technology and research for energy requirements in difficult environments.”

The Engineer Awards were presented at a ceremony in London last week.