Targeting Energy Storage

National Medal of Technology Recipient Targets Energy Storage

Information is out there for everybody," says materials scientist and chemical engineer Esther Sans Takeuchi. ''It's a question of how you combine the pieces together to lead to a new insight that will allow you to solve a problem or address an issue in a way that nobody has done before. That's really what invention is."

Dr. Takeuchi is a distinguished professor at Stony Brook University with a joint appointment as a chief scientist at Brookhaven National Laboratory. She holds more than 150 U.S. patents. In 2009, she received the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the top honor awarded in the United States for technological achievement. She ranks among the research elite.

Before joining SUNY, Dr. Takeuchi spent more than twenty years at Greatbatch, Inc., a company founded in 1970 by Wilson Greatbatch, the coinventor of the first implanted pacemaker. It was here that she was instrumental in the development of the lithium/silver vanadium oxide battery, which was one of the factors in the successful implementation of the implantable cardiac defibrillator, a device that can send a life-saving shock when the heart exhibits an arrhythmia.

The standard of living in many places is increasing, but that also means the energy use is increasing dramatically. So the question is where is all of that going to come from?

Dr. Takeuchi's recognition includes induction to the National Academy of Engineering, receiving the E. V. Murphree Award in Industrial and Engineering Chemistry, being selected as a Fellow of the Electrochemical Society and induction into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Recently, she was selected for a $10 million Energy Frontier Research Center CEFRC) award where she serves as Director.

Stony Brook's EFRC, also known as the Center for Mesoscale Transport Properties Cm2m), conducts research that aims to achieve more advanced, more durable, and safer energy storage systems, including batteries. The theme of the m2m Center is to increase work (electrical power) and minimize heat as the batteries function.

"The standard of living in many places is increasing," Takeuchi says, "but that also means the energy use is increasing dramatically. So the question is where is all of that going to come from? And I think a combination of energy efficiency, energy storage, and all those things combined are going to be important in moving forward to address the energy needs of the world in the next ten to twenty years. It's a critical challenge that needs to be addressed." 

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