Rabat – Moroccan scientists Rachid Yazami was chosen to be among the three semifinalists for the 15th edition of the prestigious Marius Lavet engineering award for his innovations in lithium batteries, according to a statement released by organizers on Thursday.
Also known as the “electroactive chemist,” Yazami invented the lithium-graphite anode, which is now used in lithium-ion batteries, a roughly $15 billion a year business. The final winner of the award will be announced in a ceremony that will take place on March 14 at the House of Arts and Crafts in Paris.
Yazami’s breakthrough in lithium batteries came in 1980, when he discovered a new technique that entailed inserting graphite between layers of lithium in order to allow for more battery storage and stability of the stored energy. This made the batteries more suitable for rounds of international shipping.
Yazami is a 1978 graduate for the Grenoble Institute of Technology, where he also received a Ph.D. in 1985. The scientist became a professor for the Nanyang University in Singapore in 2010. In 2011, he founded a new start-up company in the city-state called KVI, which develops new batteries for enhanced life-cycle performance and safety.
The association granting the award stressed that Yazami has used his talent and knowledge for great innovations during the twentieth century. He is also a Corresponding Member of the Hassan II Academy of Science and Technology in Morocco.
Yazami has two competitors for the award. The first is a pair of researchers, named Michel Bruel and Bernard Asper, who have worked for years to perfect the Smart Cut process for chips used in smartphones and other devices.
His second competitor is Stanford graduate Charles Edward Vincent, who used his engineering skills to develop a program called “Lulu on my Street” to help people find temporary jobs in communities in need.
This Marius Lavet award, established in 2001, rewards engineers and inventors who make their discovery an industrial and commercial success, according to the association’s website.