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ETN Rising stars of energy storage 2021

ETN commemorates World Energy Storage Day (September 22) with a special section dedicated to the visionaries and promoters of energy storage globally. Meet the 'rising stars', or promising names spearheading the development and deployment of energy storage globally.


Carlos Tavares is the CEO of Stellantis, the sixth-largest automaker worldwide, formed by the cross-border merger of the PSA Group and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. He was formerly CEO of PSA Group and the COO at Renault before that.

With his deep understanding of market dynamics, the newly merged company is all set to take on e-mobility and expand its presence globally. Stellantis has a presence in more than 130 countries with manufacturing facilities in 30 countries. The company plans to have 39 electrified vehicle models available by the end of 2021, with an investment of more than €30 billion.


Eric Hsieh is the Director for Grid Systems and Components in the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). In his current role, as a part of the Office of Electricity's Advanced Grid R&D division, the group delivers grid modernization through technology innovation. This portfolio includes transformers, power electronics, robotics, and energy storage.

Hsieh has been associated with DOE for the past seven years. Before that, he held positions at Nexans, A123 Systems, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). 


Ermanno Vitali is the CEO of Yixing FAAM Industrial Batteries, the Chinese branch of battery manufacturer FAAM. Controlled by Italian company Seri Industrial Spa, FAAM has plants in Italy and China, producing and recycling lead-acid and lithium batteries for traction, industrial, storage, and military applications.

The Company is planning a complex of two plants - The first site, with construction starting in 2021, will have a capacity of 300 MWh. Another block, which will be built on the site by 202, will initially be used for R&D and later to produce lithium-ion cells with 2.5-3 GWh capacity.


Seh-Woong Jeong joined Kokam Co. Ltd. (a subsidiary of SolarEdge Technologies) as CEO in December 2020. Previously, he was Executive VP - Automotive Batteries & ESS, Samsung SDI. Kokam is a global market leader in the manufacturing of lithium-ion battery systems and advanced ESS solutions

The company recently launched a new advanced and cost-effective battery system for uninterruptible power systems (UPS). It is strengthening its position with this new advanced system that uses innovative cell technology to increase the c-rate and energy density of the battery. 


Jessica Lin is the Group Product Manager of Data engineering for Oracle Utilities Opower, a company that is responsible for nearly 30TWh of energy savings since its inception. She drives the organization's Data Science engineering roadmap, which allows the organization to provide deep learning-driven insights to its utility clients' customers at scale. She is currently a member of the National Renewable Energy Lab's technical working group on End-Use load shapes and was asked to sit on the US DOE's forthcoming working group for storage and equity. 


Jun Kim is President and CEO at SK Innovation Co. Ltd, a company that produces petrochemical products, and has expanded its green portfolio through continuous investment in the battery and materials sectors. Under Kim's leadership, the company is focussing on its battery business and expanding into the global market by developing proprietary technology.

SK Innovation supplies electric car batteries to carmakers like Ford Motor, Volkswagen, and Hyundai Motor. It has battery production sites in the United States, Hungary, China, and South Korea, and is planning to invest in a new battery factory in China. The company recently decided to spin off its battery business into a new company tentatively called SK Battery Co Ltd, to be launched in October 2021. 

Kristin Persson

Kristin Persson is a Professor at the University of California, Berkeley in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. She is also the Director of the Molecular Foundry, a user facility at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBNL), and a Faculty Senior Scientist.

Persson is a leader in the materials genome community and applies modeling and data-driven methodologies to the innovation of novel and improved materials for energy storage. She formulated a predictive theory for the charge transfer process of multivalent cations at the anode metal interface; elucidated the transport limitations of polyelectrolyte systems and developed the first automated, predictive frameworks for surface-electrolyte interface (SEI) reactions. 


Lars Carlstrom is the founder and CEO of Italian battery start-up Italvolt. An entrepreneur with over 30 years of experience in the automotive sector, Carlstrom founded the company in 2021 intending to build the largest Gigafactory in Europe and one of the largest in the world in terms of size and production capacity.

Before Italvolt, Carlstrom founded Britishvolt in 2019 and held the position of CEO. An automotive veteran, he began his career in 1992 as the founder of V2H Supercast AB. In 2002, he was appointed as Director, EVOX Real Estate. He joined Convers Group as Director in 2010. 


Lei is the founder and CEO of Envision Energy, a leading smart wind power technology and energy storage solution company. It owns the world's leading Energy IoT Operating System, EnOS™, currently managing 100GW of energy assets globally.

Under Lei's strategic leadership, Envision is building an intelligent global energy ecosystem with EnOS™ by cooperating with the world's leading enterprises and strategically investing in companies like Sonnen, ChargePoint, AutoGrid, Protectwise, and Formula E teams Envision Virgin Racing. Envision has an open-platform Energy IoT and Smart City Technology Alliance with Microsoft, Accenture, and ARM to help accelerate the clean energy transition through digitalization.


Marian Bocek is a co-founder and CEO of InoBat Auto, a company that empowers electric mobility by creating intelligent batteries for a greener world.

The company will build Europe's first battery cell R&D centre prototype cell manufacturing capabilities by late 2021. The InoBat Gigafactory will expand its overall manufacturing capacity to 10GWh by 2024.

Bocek is a European entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and philanthropist, and has more than fifteen years of global banking and investment experience. 


Naoki Ota is the President and CEO of 24M Technologies – developer of next-generation lithium-ion battery technologies. He has over 30 years of experience in technology management and engineering and is recognized as a global expert in lithium-ion batteries. His work at 24M focuses on reinventing the lithium-ion battery to enable low-cost energy storage.

Ota co-founded Quallion LLC in California – said to be the first lithium-ion manufacturer in the US serving the medical and aerospace industries. The focus of his professional growth has been battery storage manufacturing with over a decade of experience in the green technology industry. 


Orral Nadjari is the Founder & CEO at Britishvolt, a UK-based battery manufacturing company that produces and invests in battery products for the plug-in, electricity, and electronic cars.

In only a short time, Britishvolt has become an established player in the energy sector, with a world-class team of experts and partners focused on building the UK's first battery Giga plant, developing and manufacturing lithium-ion batteries.

The company's first 10 GWh facility will produce enough battery packs for +200,000 electric cars – supporting the transition to electrification and assisting the UK government's 'Road to Zero' goals.


Ramya Swaminathan is the CEO of Malta Inc. Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the Malta team demonstrates proven leadership in energy go-to-market strategies and robust engineering talent in industrial-scale power generation systems. The Malta concept is built upon well-established principles in thermodynamics for a system that stores energy as heat (in molten salt) and as cold (in a chilled liquid). Ramya joined Malta from Rye Development, where she was CEO, Co-Founder, and Member of the Board of FFP New Hydro.


Prof. Shirley Meng is a materials scientist and professor at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). She currently holds the Zable Endowed Chair Professor in Energy Technologies and is Professor of NanoEngineering and Materials Science.

Meng is also the founding Director of Sustainable Power and Energy Center - an interdisciplinary faculty member group at UCSD focused on making advances in energy storage and distributed energy generations and integrated management systems. In 2020, she was named as the inaugural director of the Institute for Materials Discovery and Design (IMDD). 


Sven Schulz is the CEO of AKASOL AG, a leading German manufacturer of high-performance lithium-ion battery systems for buses, commercial vehicles, rail vehicles, industrial vehicles, ships, and boats.

AKASOL recently opened its first Giga factory, the largest in Europe for commercial-vehicle battery systems. The state-of-the-art factory has a production capacity of up to 1 GWh in the first phase of its expansion and will gradually expand to 2.5 GWh by late 2022.

In a recent development, US automotive supplier BorgWarner is set to acquire AKASOL, with both companies having signed a 'Business Combination Agreement. Schulz will remain the CEO after the takeover and continue to drive the expansion of the company. 


Tristan Grimbert leads EDF Renewables' activities throughout North America, overseeing three primary business lines: grid-scale power, asset optimization, and distributed solutions. He has been instrumental in the growth of the company; overseeing a fourteen-fold increase in revenues since 2004.

The EDF Renewables U.S. portfolio consists of 13GW of developed projects. The company has signed a contract for a 200MW solar + storage 180 MW / 4 hr. project in Nevada. This latest project forms part of EDF's Electricity Storage Plan, which aims to develop 10GW in new electricity storage resources globally by 2035. 


Venkat Vishwanathan is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. His research group has broad expertise in energy storage and Li-ion batteries, specifically as they pertain to electric vehicles and planes.

His research contributions have pushed the frontier of computational design and accelerated material discovery cycles for a variety of applications. His work on lithium-air batteries is among the most quoted research papers in the area. He has also worked with Aurora Flight Sciences and Airbus A3 on battery designs for vertical take-off and landing aircraft, which can function as air taxis or ambulances.


Dr. Vincent Sprenkle is the Senior Technical Advisor at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). In his current role, he is supporting the US Department of Energy – Office of Electricity R&D activities focused on the development of novel, low-cost electrochemical energy storage technologies, improved safety, and reliability of grid-scale storage, and understanding the value and use of grid-scale storage.

Dr. Sprenkle has been active in electrochemical technologies for 25 years and holds 23 US patents on fuel cells, batteries, and high-temperature electrochemical devices with 22 pending patent applications. 


Yen T Yeh is the founder of Battery Brunch, a community of 5000-plus professionals from 1000-plus organizations, including Tesla, Panasonic, Apple, Voltaiq, Google, A123, GM, Ford, FCA, Rivian, Form Energy, LG Chem, Highpower International, Stanford, MIT, and more.

Battery Brunch publishes Battery Bits covering a wide range of topics of interest to battery professionals, including Technology/R&D, Manufacturing, Business, Investment Opportunities, Policy, etc. 


Prof. Yi Cui is a Chinese American materials scientist, specializing in nanotechnology, and energy and environment-related research. He is Director - Precourt Institute for Energy and a Professor of Materials Science at Stanford University.

As faculty Co-Director of Stanford's StorageX initiative, he works closely with industrial partners, to develop an in-depth technical and commercial understanding of the emerging challenges in the energy storage industry. He is the recipient of the 2021 Global Energy Prize for new energy applications, one of three Global Energy Prizes given annually. 

Author : ETN
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