Stanford R. Ovshinsky has become a living legend in the scientific and business communities, having once been profiled in a one-hour PBS program on NOVA entitled “Japan’s American Genius.” The most recent exciting advancement is his solid hydrogen storage system, a metal hydride solid which can be stored in a granular, inert form in compact tanks. It's as easy to fuel up a vehicle with this solid hydrogen as it is to gas up a conventional car. When the car needs fuel, a little energy from the battery system heats up the solid and releases hydrogen gas. Solid hydrogen is currently powering some internal combustion engines on modified Toyota Priuses, and the future looks promising for fuel cell implementation.
Stan Ovshinsky began in the field of nanostructures for a large number of applications as early as the 1950s and now has formed an independent new company called Ovshinsky Innovation LLC. Plans are to accelerate his work in energy and information that will lead to basic solutions for pollution, climate change gases and wars over oil. His objective now is to make photovoltaic and hydrogen storage competitive with fossil fuel. His company is working on what they're calling a regenerative fuel cell. They say it will be more affordable than current fuel cells because of the materials it's made of, and that it will be able to operate in a much wider temperature range.
Over his long career, Ovshinsky has mentored many brilliant young scientists. Dr. Zvi Yaniv, CEO and founder of Applied Nanotech in Austin, Texas, a sponsor of nanoTX USA’08 worked with Ovshinksy in the field of active matrix liquid crystal displays between 1982-1991 . "I am very thankful to Stan for giving me the opportunity to work with him and to pioneer the field of amorphous silicon diodes and transistors for the active matrix liquid crystal display technology", said Dr. Yaniv, upon hearing the news that Ovshinsky will keynote. "We all speak about nanotechnology as a new science. Stan envisioned years ago that a lot of the technological answers needed for the 21 century will come from researching and understanding how two-three molecules bind together up to the point that the agglomerate of these molecules achieves the properties of the bulk material. By definition - this is nanotechnology, and Stan can be considered one of its prophets."
Stan Ovshinsky also spends much time on his pet project, a cognitive computer, the next generation of smart computers.
Ovshinsky is the co-founder of Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. (ECD), the company he founded in 1960 with his late wife Iris. He is the primary inventor of ECD’s technology including the Ovonic thin-film photovoltaic technology and its continuous web multi-junction roll-to-roll machine, the high-powered NiMH battery now used in everything from cell phones, to laptop computers, to electric and hybrid cars. These thin film photovoltaics have been turned into roof shingles, bring affordable energy to remote villages, even helped power the Mir space station. The Ovonic hydrogen technology as well as Ovonic Universal Memory (OUM), also known as Phase Change Memory (PCM), is receiving much positive attention from the semiconductor industry.