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Top electrochemist gives juice to bid for battery research hub

Esther Takeuchi, an electrochemist and one of the

Esther Takeuchi, an electrochemist and one of the world’s leading energy storage researchers, is joining Brookhaven National Laboratory. Credit: Brookhaven National Laboratory

If solar and wind power are to play a significant role in the nation’s energy future, we have to figure out how to store these clean-but-on-again-off-again energy sources from the time electricity is produced until the time when it’s most needed. That means we need much better batteries. Stony Brook University and Brookhaven National Laboratory are working hard on that problem. Now they have a top-flight battery expert to lead that effort.

That’s Esther Takeuchi, who is not only a battery expert but a lifesaver. Her work made possible the battery that powers implantable cardiac defibrillators and earned her White House recognition: the National Medal of Technology and Innovation that President Barack Obama presented to her in 2009. Her prolific production of patents earned her a place in the National Inventors Hall of Fame. She’s also a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

Now she’ll have a joint appointment at Stony Brook and the lab. She’ll be a tenured faculty member in materials science and chemistry at Stony Brook and the chief scientist at BNL’s Global and Regional Solutions Directorate. Her impending arrival from the University at Buffalo is also a centerpiece of the application that Stony Brook and the lab submitted recently to the federal Department of Energy to bring an energy innovation hub to Long Island. If the application is successful, the Batteries and Energy Storage Hub would be housed at Stony Brook’s Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center, and it would bring in a grant of $25 million a year for five years.

So Takeuchi’s presence on Long Island is a huge leap forward, not only for the two institutions, but also for the region’s economy and the nation’s search for a more reliable, cleaner energy future.