Israeli battery pioneer to receive top industry award

Professor Doron Aurbach will be honored for his work, spanning over 30 years, improving what fuels the devices in our hands and on the roads

Professor Doron Aurbach (Photo credit: Courtesy)
Professor Doron Aurbach (Photo credit: Courtesy)

Professor Doron Aurbach of Bar Ilan University is to be awarded the prestigious IBA Yeager Award for his work in advancing battery technology. The award, given out by the International Battery Association, will be presented to Aurbach at its annual convention in March, to be held in Brisbane, Australia this year.

Aurbach is being awarded the prize, the IBA said, for his “many years of contributions to the development of battery science,” including research studies and practical applications of theories on increasing battery power and extending battery life. Aurbach does his work at the Nano Cleantech Center at the Bar-Ilan Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials (BINA), where he directs numerous research projects on battery development and improvement.

The professor is one of the leading researchers in the world on battery technology who has been working on batteries for the better of three decades. Aurbach is a pioneer in the development of the lithium-ion batteries used to power personal devices, and is now working on several new technologies. The most promising one is based on magnesium ion, which supplies more power than lithium-ion batteries (a positive charge of two, rather than one for lithium-ions) and is cheaper to produce (magnesium is much more abundant than lithium). By using nano-materials to tweak individual cells, Aurbach believes that new batteries could be significantly lighter, and last 50%-100% longer than current ones.

Among the companies Aurbach’s lab partners with are GM and BASF, the German chemical giant, as well as with Israeli companies Vulcan, Elbit, Tadiran, and others. In addition, Bar Ilan itself works with several battery start-ups, including ETV Energy and Pellion Technologies, developing magnesium ion battery cells for use in a wide variety of applications, such as drones, cellphones, and computers.

Aurbach has written more than 450 papers on battery technology, and has been quoted over 16,000 times in scholarly articles about battery science, Bar Ilan University said.

The Yeagar Award, distributed annually by the IBA since 2010, is named for Ernest B. Yeager, considered a pioneer in researching electrochemical reactions for their use in fuel cell and battery technology. During nearly 50 years on the Case Western Reserve faculty, the IBA said, Yeagar mentored 80 doctorate students and 45 postdoctoral fellows, authored 270 scientific papers and edited and co-edited 20 books.

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