The 2013 Global Energy Prize Laureate Akira Yoshino Wins the Nobel Prize in Chemistry
Akira Yoshino, Japanese scientist, the 2013 Global Energy Prize Laureate will receive the Nobel Prize in Chemistry ‘for the development of lithium-ion batteries.’ Alongside with him, the American physicist John B. Goodenough and the British chemist M. Stanley Whittingham received the award. This was announced by the Nobel Committee for Chemistry at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences today. The Global Energy Prize was awarded to Akira Yoshino in the 2013 for ‘the invention of the rechargeable lithium-ion battery, an essential element for mobile electronic devices and various types of electric vehicles, including hybrids’.
Outstanding Japanese chemist Akira Yoshino made a small energy revolution with his invention of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. He began his research on rechargeable batteries in 1981. In two years, he fabricated a prototype of a rechargeable battery using lithium cobalt oxide. This marked the birth of the modern lithium-ion battery (LIB). In 1986, Mr. Yoshino commissioned the manufacture of a batch of LIB prototypes. Lithium-ion batteries had energy density about three times higher than aqueous secondary batteries such as conventional nickel-cadmium and nickel hydrogen secondary batteries. “It is an honour for us that back in 2013, the scientific achievements of the outstanding scientist were marked by the Global Energy Prize for the development of lithium-ion batteries precisely,” said Alexander Ignatov, the Head of the Global Energy Association.
The invention of Akira Yoshino solved one of the most pressing problems of modern electrical engineering. It led to the creation of compact and extremely lightweight power sources.
Lithium-ion technology has rightfully took leading positions in the battery industry and in many others. Today such batteries are widely used in portable electronics, electric vehicles, and in the aerospace industry.
Interestingly enough, the Global Energy Prize 2019 was also awarded for energy storage technology. American professor Khalil Amine is the world record holder in the number of publications on the topic of rechargeable batteries. The prize was awarded to him ‘for outstanding contribution to the development of the efficient electrical energy storage technology’. His studies are related to the creation of new cathodes and anodes for lithium-ion batteries and participated in the development of new liquid-polymer electrolyte systems, lithium-oxygen, lithium-sulfur, and sodium-ion batteries. Battery cells developed by Dr. Amine are used by many corporations, such as BASF, Envia, LG Chemical, Microvast, Samsung Chemical, TODA, and Umicore. Not so long ago, Dr. Amine developed a new superoxide battery system capable to yield up to five times more energy than lithium-ion batteries. This discovery gave impetus to a new round of research aimed at increasing the energy density of batteries and reducing costs, which should lead to an increase in the number of electric vehicles in the future.