Jay Whitacre, professor of materials science at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University, has been awarded the $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize for 2015.
Whitacre won the prize for his invention of the aqueous hybrid ion, a cost-efficient rechargeable battery designed to save surplus energy produced by wind and solar power generators. This makes it possible to store the energy when it’s plentiful, for later use at night or when there’s no wind. Whitacre has founded a company, Aquion Energy, that markets his battery technology.
Whitacre plans to contribute some of the prize money to create a fellowship to support graduate students.