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Trio share Nobel Chemistry Prize for lithium-ion battery research

Friederike Heine and Lennart Simonsson, DPA on

Published in News & Features

STOCKHOLM -- Three researchers were on Wednesday awarded the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for work on the development of lithium-ion batteries used in multiple devices such as laptops and mobile phones, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said.

"Through their work, this year's Chemistry laureates have laid the foundation of a wireless, fossil-fuel-free society," the academy said.

Lithium-ion batteries are light-weight, rechargeable and powerful, and can also be used to store energy from for instance renewable sources like wind or solar power.

US-based researchers John B Goodenough and M Stanley Whittingham, and Akira Yoshino of Japan shared the prize, worth 9 million kronor ($908,000).

Sara Snogerup Linse, member of the Chemistry Prize committee, noted that the batteries are used in "phones, hearing aids, pacemakers, electric cars, cameras and consumer products, headlights."

"The main advantage is the light weight," she told dpa. "There is no chemical reaction taking place," she added, noting that this reduced the wear on the battery.

 

The lower weight is also important for the use of these batteries in electric cars.

Yoshino -- an honorary fellow at Asahi Kasei Corporation in Tokyo, and professor at Meijo University in Nagoya -- said that climate change is a "very serious issue for humankind."

In a phone call with the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences after the prize was announced, Yoshino said lithium-ion batteries are important because of their contribution to a "sustainable society."

He later told a news conference in Japan: "I believe this prize will be a big encouragement for young researchers in various fields."

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