Japanese scientist Akira Yoshino is sharing this year's Nobel Prize in Chemistry with two researchers in the US. They've been recognized for their work on an invention that's crucial to modern-day electronics, and a future without fossil fuels.
The Royal Swedish Academy has decided to award the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry jointly to John B. Goodenough, M. Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino for the development of lithium-ion batteries.
The academy says during the oil crisis in the 1970s, Whittingham worked on methods to produce energy technologies that don't rely on fossil fuel.
Goodenough studied materials for batteries at Oxford University in Britain. He discovered that batteries have higher voltages and last longer if a chemical compound, called lithium cobalt oxide, is used in positive electrodes.
In 1985, Yoshino created the first commercially viable lithium-ion battery using carbon fiber in the negative electrode.
Today, these light-weight, rechargeable batteries are used in everything from smartphones to laptops. They also paved the way for electric cars, as well as solar and wind power.
Yoshino says lithium-ion batteries can play an important role in creating a sustainable society.
He said, "The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences saw a solution to environmental issues in my research. I'm glad that the lithium-ion battery was the reason for my winning the award. I hope this will encourage young researchers in various fields."
A newspaper in Osaka came out with a special edition just an hour after the announcement to celebrate the Japanese laureate.
A woman said, "I didn't know a Japanese scientist invented lithium-ion batteries. It's amazing!"
A university student said, "We all owe our happy and comfortable life to him!"
The trio will share prize money worth more than 900,000 dollars. The awarding ceremony will take place in December in Stockholm.