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Dr. Akira Yoshino is fellow and general manager of the Asahi Kasei Corporation in Japan and president of the Lithium Ion Battery Technology and Evaluation Center (LIBTEC). He began research on rechargeable batteries in 1981 and in 1983 fabricated a prototype rechargeable battery using lithium cobalt oxide (LiCoO2) (discovered by John Goodenough in 1979) as cathode and polyacetylene as anode. Because polyacetylene required large battery volume to achieve high capacity and had problems with instability, he switched to carbonaceous material for the anode and in 1985 fabricated and received the basic patent for the first prototype of the LIB. The new LIB was commercialized by Sony in 1991 and in 1992 by A&T Battery (a joint venture company of Asahi Kasei and Toshiba).
He developed the aluminum foil current collector, which formed a passivation layer to enable high cell voltage at low cost, and developed the functional separator membrane and the use of a positive temperature coefficient (PTC) device for additional safety. He also conceived of the LIB’s coil-wound structure to provide large electrode surface area and enable high current discharge despite the low conductivity of the organic electrolyte.
A fellow of the Chemical Society of Japan, Yoshino has received numerous national and international awards, including the IEEE Medal for Environmental Safety Technologies in 2012 and the Global Energy Prize in 2013. He completed his BS and MS degrees at Kyoto University and his PhD at Osaka University.