The Powerhouse

Inside the invention of a battery to save the world

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8319
Erik TorenbergHunterHiring@eriktorenberg · Former Product Hunt
What is it like to have the weight of the world on your technical shoulders? And what is keeping us from getting a super-battery? To find out, Steve LeVine spent two years in a lab with a half-dozen battery geniuses.
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Steve LeVineMaker@stevelevine
At 92, he is focused entirely on lithium metal, and--though he is careful now about his secrets so he did not tell me precisely his approach--he thinks he has a decent shot at figuring out how to fashion lithium metal into an anode without it turning into an explosion while a car is rumbling down a freeway.
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Steve LeVineMaker@stevelevine
The story is character-driven, and so I am driven to reply from that space. The most interesting character from the vantage of a writer--the hardest to write about because of the strong emotions he elicits in others--was Khalil Amine, one of the two battery geniuses at Argonne. I heard no end of gripes about him, most or all of them deeply and sincerely felt. Ultimately, I concluded that Amine's critics had him wrong. The gripes that is were problems not with him, but with the gripers themselves. Those passages weave through the book.
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Steve LeVineMaker@stevelevine
Amine is an immigrant from Morocco. His wife is Chinese. But his style is learned from years working in Japan. As I say, a fascinating window into invention that I did not expect.
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Steve LeVineMaker@stevelevine
I am going to have to take off. I enjoyed it. If anyone wants to follow up, feel free to email: s@qz.com.