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Argonne scientist Shirley Meng awarded for pioneering leadership in inorganic chemistry

Materials science pioneer Shirley Meng recognized by the U.S. Clean Energy Education & Empowerment Initiative for her research on batteries, a critical component of a clean energy future.

The U.S. Clean Energy Education & Empowerment (C3E) Initiative has selected scientist Shirley Meng of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory for an innovation award in recognition of her research on batteries, a critical component of a clean energy future.

A pioneer in discovering and designing better materials for energy storage, Meng serves as chief scientist of the Argonne Collaborative Center for Energy Storage Science (ACCESS) and as a professor at the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering (PME) at The University of Chicago. She will be honored Nov. 2 at the 11th annual U.S. C3E Women in Clean Energy Symposium & Awards in Washington, D.C.

“Climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our time, but I believe we have the scientific innovation to face it head on. A guiding principle of my lab is, ​‘Nothing is impossible. Impossible only takes longer to achieve.’” — Shirley Meng, ACCESS Chief Scientist

Meng is this year’s recipient of the C3E Technology Research & Innovation Award that recognizes scientists and researchers at universities, national labs and industry who are researching and developing advanced innovative clean energy technologies with the potential for demonstrable and scalable impact.

“I am truly honored to have been chosen by C3E for this award,” Meng said. ​“Climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our time, but I believe we have the scientific innovation to face it head on. A guiding principle of my lab is, ​‘Nothing is impossible. Impossible only takes longer to achieve.’ Sustainable and resilient energy storage is one of the most important technologies humanity needs to tackle the climate crisis.”

Meng earned her Ph.D. in materials science in 2005 from the National University in Singapore and went on to MIT as a postdoctoral fellow. In 2008 she joined University of Florida as an assistant professor of materials science. A year later, she moved to UC San Diego where she became the founding director of the Sustainable Power and Energy Center and served as the inaugural director of the university’s Institute for Materials Discovery and Design.

Meng’s research has produced more than 270 publications and several patents. It has also led to three startup companies in addition to higher energy, longer lasting and safer batteries.

Meng led the development a liquefied gas electrolyte that allows for a new class of battery that can operate at -112°F, over 100 degrees colder than the operating limit of current lithium-ion batteries. This achievement was spun off into a startup known as South 8 Technologies, which is working to commercialize the technology. This invention could widen the market for lithium batteries for electric vehicles by removing a major barrier to functioning in extreme climates.

The C3E Initiative advances the contributions and leadership of women across the clean energy sector. The program is led by DOE, in collaboration with the MIT Energy Initiative, Stanford’s Precourt Institute for Energy, and Texas A&M Energy Institute. The C3E awards are given annually in eight categories and recognize mid-career women who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and accomplishments in clean energy, while also mentoring other women in the field.

Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation’s first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America’s scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit https://​ener​gy​.gov/​s​c​ience.

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