Elena Timofeeva, principal chemist at the U. S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory, has been named by Midwest Energy Newsas a member of its inaugural 40 under 40 list.
The publication announced the 40 Under 40 award program to highlight emerging leaders who have contributed to America’s transition to a clean energy economy.
Timofeeva’s research focuses on functional nanomaterials and nanofluids for energy-related applications. Her current work is in developing nanoelectrofuel flow batteries for electric vehicles.
“I am very honored to have been nominated and then selected for the award,” Timofeeva said. “It’s definitely an acknowledgement of the significance and applications of my work.”
Timofeeva began working at Argonne in 2008, researching nanofluids. These materials combine the properties of a liquid and a solid and allow for greater heat transfer.
She then applied this same idea to liquid batteries. Timofeeva and her team developed a rechargeable flow battery that uses nanoelectrofuel — a liquid that can be charged and discharged multiple times. The fuel can be charged at any power facility, including solar plants and wind farms.
These nanoelectrofuel-powered batteries could power homes, businesses and electric vehicles. Drivers could simply pump charged fuel into their cars, rather than plug in the entire system.
“With nanoelectrofuels you only need to replace the discharged liquids, you’re not limited to the number of batteries at your disposal,” Timofeeva said.
According to Argonne’s Innovational Program Coordinator Diego Fazi, who nominated Timofeeva for the award, this research could also allow electric vehicles to take extended trips because they could be “refueled” along the way. Nanoelectrofuels could be used and distributed the same way as gasoline but without the harmful emissions.
“Elena’s success in developing these flow batteries and nanoelectrofuels could have a great impact on how energy is stored and transported, especially in vehicles,” Fazi said. “It brings America one step closer to becoming a clean energy economy.”
Timofeeva also holds two patents and seven pending patent applications, and has authored more than 40 research papers and two book chapters.