Sandwiches and energy storage keep him going

WE RARELY give a thought to the power packs that run everything from mobiles to medical devices.

WE RARELY give a thought to the power packs that run everything from mobiles to medical devices. But batteries are everywhere - and we rely on them more and more.

"If you think about it, much of our lives run on batteries, whether it's a mobile phone, a car or, god forbid, a pacemaker," electrochemist David Rand said.

Born in Portsmouth on England's south coast and educated at Cambridge University where he obtained both a natural sciences degree and two PhDs - one in science and the other in electrochemistry - Dr Rand migrated to Australia in 1969 to work at the CSIRO.

On Friday night he received an Australia Day honour for significant service to science and technological development in the field of energy storage - particularly rechargeable batteries.

Dr Rand was part of the team that developed the CSIRO UltraBattery, a dynamic battery that turned the 150-year-old conventional battery on its head.

It was first conceived in 2003 and by the time the battery was tested in a hybrid car in England 2009, Dr Rand said "it did 100,000 miles and came up fresh as a daisy".

The UltraBattery is now made in Japan and America and promises to open new approaches to everything from low emission-transport to renewable-energy storage, particularly wind power.

Though he retired in 2008, the 70-year-old remains an honorary research fellow at the CSIRO and keeps a five-day week both mentoring and writing books.

"My wife makes my sandwiches every day to make sure I do go," he laughs.

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