Meet Stan Ovshinsky, the Energy Genius

Stan Ovshinsky has invented revolutionary energy technologies that are making a renewable solar-hydrogen future possible.

  • Stan Ovshinsky - hydrogen economy infographic
    Stan Ovshinksy’s model for a hydrogen-based economy is illustrated by the hydrogen loop, which is both renewable and pollution-free. Using the sun as a sustainable energy source, solar electricity can either be stored in NiMH batteries for hybrid vehicles, or used to generate hydrogen through electrolysis, then stored in a solid hydrogen system to power non-polluting, internal combustion engines or hydrogen fuel cells, which are still under development at Energy Conversion Devices (ECD). Other forms of sustainable energy, such as wind, hydroelectric and geothermal, could also be used to generate hydrogen by electrolysis.
    ECD Ovonics
  • Stan Ovshinsky - George W. Bush visiting Ovonics
    President Bush visited Uni-Solar in early 2006. Ovshinsky hopes the visit will result in support for his vision of a hydrogen-based economy.
    Jim Watson/Getty Images
  • Stan Ovshinsky - head shot
    Stan Ovshinsky, founder of ECD Ovonics and lifelong inventor.
    Photo courtesy of ECD Ovonics
  • Stan Ovshinsky - nickel metal hydride battery
    Ovshinky’s NiMH battery powers electric motors that enable hybrid cars to have smaller, more fuel-efficient gas engines.
    ECD Ovonics

  • Stan Ovshinsky - hydrogen economy infographic
  • Stan Ovshinsky - George W. Bush visiting Ovonics
  • Stan Ovshinsky - head shot
  • Stan Ovshinsky - nickel metal hydride battery

If you’ve used a rechargeable battery, driven a hybrid vehicle or put solar panels on your roof, you’re benefiting from the work of Stanford “Stan” Ovshinsky. But unless you’re an energy aficionado or you work in the automotive industry, chances are you’ve never heard of him.

President George W. Bush probably hadn’t, either, until he toured Ovshinsky’s solar company, United Solar Ovonic (Uni-Solar), in February 2006. “This is real,” Bush said afterward, as if he’d had an epiphany about solar energy’s potential. If he did, he wouldn’t have been the first: People who’ve known Ovshinsky for decades say that he has a knack for convincing skeptics about the true potential of renewable energy.

Though Ovshinsky now holds well over 300 patents, his most notable inventions include thin-film photovoltaic (PV) solar panels and PV production machines, the nickel metal hydride (NiMH) battery, and solid hydrogen fuel storage to safely store hydrogen in vehicles — all of which work together in his renewable energy plan, the hydrogen loop.  

The hydrogen loop is designed to convert our carbon-based economy into a hydrogen-based one, using renewable sources such as the sun — thereby reducing our dependency on fossil fuels and eliminating their global warming-causing emissions. In a shift to a hydrogen-based economy, Ovshinsky sees not only the end to conflict over the world’s dwindling oil supplies, but also economic growth from new industries with higher value jobs.

Show, Don’t Tell

“Stan can be a great salesman, but he always says: ‘I’m not going to tell you about it, I’m just going to show you,’” says solar expert Steve Heckeroth, director of building integrated photovoltaic products for ECD (Energy Conversion Devices) Ovonics, the parent company of Uni-Solar.

To make his point, Ovshinsky carries with him a panel of thin-film PV, which can be used to power everything from homes and factories to space satellites. Thin-film PV is lighter, more flexible, more durable, more efficient in low light and less expensive than previous solar-electric panel technologies.

10/25/2014 1:08:09 PM

Stanford Ovshinsky will be known as one of the most influential artists of all time, even though a socialist and somewhat misunderstood. Long live his advances in the betterment of humanity.

8/3/2009 9:28:33 AM

This is a puff piece that doesn't tell the facts about this man. He has conned his way and taken huge amounts of gov, investors and customers. He i don't think has ever produced a good product. His solar panels rarely made spec and degraded fast way below spec and when people return them for the 20 yr warranty he sold the company to Cannon and left all his customers with bad panels. His 'great' NiMH battery was never very good with bad quality and varying specs, not good in a series battery pack. Only when others took it over and fixed all the problems did it work, then he sold the patents to Chevron who forced those making EV size batteries and EV's like Toyota to stop making them. The H2 revolution never will be as if you take the whole process it's not as eff as an ICE and 1/4 as eff as an EV. It was just another con to get money from the gov. The only genius here is his ability to promote himself to con money from others.

9/13/2008 2:28:22 AM

I respect Mr. Ovshinsky and his work very much. I do not trust his financial backing. GM stopped production of the EV1 for several reasons, chief among them was that when Chevron/Texaco gained control of Ovonics, they stopped production of the large sized NiMH batteries needed for the car. Anyone who doubts this should ask themselves why Ovonics is not producing batteries for regular gasoline automobiles--- except that that would make it relatively easy for any small car to be converted to a plug-in electric vehicle with a 100 mile range in the back yard. GM has been suffering lately in the marketplace for their shortsightedness. They deserve it. I have totally lost faith in the U.S. auto industry. For me, from now on, it's "Shut up and show me; if you can't, then just shut up."

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