Russia honors lithium-ion scientist

Kyodo

Scientist Akira Yoshino has been awarded this year’s Global Energy Prize by Russia for his development of the lithium-ion battery technology widely used in mobile phones and electric vehicles.

The award, which some call Russia’s Noble Prize, was presented to the 65-year-old fellow at Asahi Kasei Corp. at a ceremony Friday in St. Petersburg.

“I am proud that my research has exerted an impact on telecommunications devices and electric vehicles and this awarding will encourage researchers in battery technology” to intensify their efforts, Yoshino said.

The award was presented on behalf of President Vladimir Putin by Igor Sechin, chief executive officer of the Russian state oil company Rosneft.

Fortov Vladimir Evgenyevich from the Russian Academy of Sciences was also honored with the prize for his contributions to a different technological field.

The two will share $1.1 million in prize money.

A graduate of Kyoto University, Yoshino, a native of Suita, Osaka Prefecture, began research on rechargeable lithium-ion batteries in 1981 and saw them commercialized in the early 1990s. He is currently engaged in research activities at an Asahi Kasei research institute in Fuji, Shizuoka Prefecture.

The Global Energy Prize, established via funding by entities such as Russian government-linked energy firms, has been awarded annually since 2003. Masaji Yoshikawa, former president of the Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute, received the award in 2006.