The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2019
Born: 30 January 1948, Suita, Japan
Affiliation at the time of the award: Meijo University, Nagoya, Japan, Asahi Kasei Corporation, Tokyo, Japan
Prize motivation: "for the development of lithium-ion batteries."
Prize share: 1/3
Akira Yoshino was born in Suita, Japan. After studying technology at Kyoto University, he began working at the Asahi Kasei chemical company in 1972, with which he has been associated throughout his non-academic career. Since 2005 he has headed his own laboratory at Asahi Kasei. Yoshino received his doctorate at Osaka University in 2005 and has been a professor at Meijo University in Nagoya since 2017.
Storing electrical energy in batteries is a key factor in solving the world's energy supply. The element lithium is useful in batteries since it willingly releases electrons. In 1985 Akira Yoshino developed a battery with an anode of petroleum coke, a carbon material which, at a molecular level, has spaces that can house lithium ions. This was the first commercially viable lithium-ion battery. Such batteries are widely used in electrical equipment, for example mobile phones and electric cars.
The discovery of the 2019 chemistry laureates have a huge everyday impact for us. But what did they discover?