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John B. Goodenough: A Tireless Champion of Renewable Energy

In partnership with DSM

DSM, part of dsm-firmenich, is a global, purpose-led leader in health and nutrition, applying bioscience to improve the health of people, animals, and the planet. DSM’s purpose is to create brighter lives for all.

Discover the remarkable journey of John B. Goodenough, a visionary pioneer in renewable energy and the inventor of the lithium-ion battery, whose tireless efforts have significantly advanced global sustainability efforts.

Inventor John B. Goodenough won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry just before he passed away on July 20 2023. He has dedicated his life to leading society away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy.

During John B. Goodenoughs lengthy career as a physicist, he brought us lithium-ion batteries, which have transformed the world.

Now he wants to fast forward the search for a solution to our current environmental problem and he helped inspire the first ever #BrightMindsChallenge, which invites innovators and scientists all over the world to submit solar energy and energy storage solutions to achieve 100% renewable energy. Watch the video above.

John B. Goodenough is one of the founding fathers of the revolutionary lithium-ion rechargeable battery. We all use this battery almost constantly, as it’s found in most portable devices, such as smartphones and tablets, as well as power tools and electrical vehicles, varying from aircraft, electric cars and even the Mars Curiosity Rover. Can you imagine what the world would look like if all the things powered by lithium-ion batteries didn’t exist?

With the environmental crisis we’re facing, John now aims to introduce yet another invention that will change the world as we know it. He is on the breakthrough of an energy storage solution.

“We will have the ability to store energy at a big enough volume and on low enough costs, so it can compete with oil. I think it will be transformational,” he says.

“It’s important not to let your ideas get… fossilised.”

The 97-year-old inventor has dedicated his life to the renewable energy revolution, looking to end mankind’s dependency on fossil fuels, and he has already proved that science can change the world. Now, he wants others to join the revolution and has been a great inspiration for the #BrightMindsChallenge.

We know how to capture and use the energy of the sun, wind and ocean. But our current struggle is the storage of this energy. And that’s where the #BrightMindsChallenge comes in.

In 2011, John received the National Medal of Science for his invention of the lithium-ion battery (this picture is from the ceremony in 2013).

In 2011, John received the National Medal of Science for his invention of the lithium-ion battery (this picture is from the ceremony in 2013). Source: Utexas

This Crisis Called Climate Change

Climate change is the greatest crisis of our time, and the negative effects on the environment and on humanity and wildlife is apparent.

In many cities smog has already reached dangerous levels and even smaller cities aren’t smog free anymore. Snow and ice melt earlier every year, and droughts and floods are no longer exceptions.

It’s clear that a plan, an idea, a solution is needed in order for the Earth to survive. As John Goodenough says: 

“Modern society has become dependent upon energy. We have to learn to eliminate our dependence on fossil fuels so that we can be sustained by the energy from the sun.”

Bright Mind Challenge – the voting has started

On the #BrightMindsChallenge platform inventors and scientists from all over the world have submitted solar energy and/or energy storage solutions that are ready to be scaled up in a big way.

Until February 28th, people can vote for their favorite solution(s) on The winner of the first annual Bright Minds Challenge will gain wide recognition, plus an unprecedented 500 hours (equivalent to $100,000) of tailored commercial, IP, technical support and a lot of international exposure.

The runners-up will receive hours as well and the top ten will get valuable feedback on their projects from the jury panel.

And this is where we, all of us, come in; we can vote for the solutions we think deserve to be further scaled-up. From our top ten, the expert panel will pick the three best submissions, who get to pitch their idea on the final event on June 13 in Amsterdam.

So join the renewable energy revolution because together we can fast forward 100% renewable energy.

The #BrightMindsChallenge movement was initiated by DSM. It supports DSM’s vision that science can change the world for the better.

DSM is global a science-based company active in Health, Nutrition and Materials. DSM works with several partners who have made the #BrightMindsChallenge possible: Accenture, Chinese National Center of Supervision and Inspection on Solar Photovoltaic Products Quality (CPVT), Greentown Labs, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) USA, The Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, Saïd Business School, Oxford University, Solaraid, Solar Century and Sungevity

We are proud to be working with DSM, who have commissioned us to create this story. They have consistently achieved top rankings in Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) reporting, demonstrating their steadfast commitment to sustainability and ethical practices.

We love working with individuals, NGOs, companies and other organisations who are serious about having a positive impact on the world. 

If you are interested in more unsung heroes of science, uncover the untold story of Rosalind Franklin, a pivotal figure in modern biotechnology, whose groundbreaking work reshaped our understanding of DNA and left an indelible mark on science – explore her journey at Rosalind Franklin: A True Game-Changer for Modern Biotech

This article has been updated two times since it was first published on BrightVibes in September 2017.

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