National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) - Innovation for Our Energy Future
News Release

Technology Review Honors National Renewable Energy Lab Engineer as One of the World's Top Young Innovators


Cover Art for State of Innovation Technology Magazine

Golden, Colo., May 20, 2002

The U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory today announced that Matt Keyser, an engineer in the Center for Transportation Technologies and Systems, has been chosen as one of the world's 100 Top Young Innovators by Technology Review, MIT's Magazine of Innovation.

The TR100, chosen by Technology Review, MIT's award-winning magazine of innovation, consists of 100 young individuals whose innovative work in business and technology has a profound impact on today's world. Nominees are recognized for their contribution in transforming the nature of technology in industries such as biotechnology, computing, energy, medicine, manufacturing, nanotechnology, telecommunications and transportation.

Keyser has received two patents since 1992, with three more in the works. In 2001, he and co-workers were able to significantly extend the life of lead-acid batteries used in electric and hybrid vehicles by changing the charging technique. Conventional charging techniques cause lead acid batteries to reach the end of their lives prematurely. But by turning the charging current on for a few seconds then off for a few seconds, the "current interrupt" technique reduces the degradation of the battery plates. The current interrupt technique also allows the battery to cool between charges. Batteries charged this way last up to four times longer than batteries charged conventionally. Ford Motor Co. is testing the innovation in a prototype electric vehicle.

In 1997, Keyser wrapped a catalytic converter with a vacuum insulator to keep it warm longer. The warmer converter reduced toxic tailpipe emissions by 80 percent by eliminating the "cold start" problem of waiting for the catalytic converter to heat up. Auto parts supplier Benteler Industries is developing the device.

Keyser is being honored Thursday, May 23, during a conference and awards ceremony at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in Cambridge, Mass. The event, themed "The Innovation Economy: How Technology is Transforming Existing Businesses and Creating New Ones," includes a full day of conference sessions and panel discussions followed by an evening awards ceremony. Hosted by Technology Review's Editor-in-Chief John Benditt and CNBC's Consuelo Mack, conference speakers include international leaders such as Kenneth Starr; Clayton Christensen, Harvard Business School professor and author of The Innovators Dilemma; Nadine Strossen, president of the ACLU; Rodney Brooks, Director of the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and Co-director of Project Oxygen, MIT; Richard Rashid, Senior Vice President, Microsoft Research; and David Tennenhouse, Vice President and Corporate Technology Group Director, Intel Corporation.

Technology Review, MIT's magazine of Innovation, is the world's oldest technology magazine. The magazine, as well as its signature events and Internet businesses, delivers essential information on emerging technologies on the verge of commercialization. Since 1998, Technology Review's paid circulation has more than tripled, from 92,000 to 310,000 (as of January 2002). Several hundred thousand current MIT alumni, faculty and students, senior technology thinkers and influencers - venture capitalists, chief scientists, researchers, senior corporate executives, investors, and innovators throughout the world - constitute the Technology Review community.

NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy's premiere laboratory for renewable energy research and development and a lead lab for energy efficiency R&D. The Lab is managed by Midwest Research Institute, Battelle and Bechtel. In addition to work in advanced transportation technologies, NREL is a research leader in energy security, hydrogen and fuel cells, distributed energy resources, bioenergy and bio-based products, zero energy buildings, wind energy, geothermal energy and solar energy.

Media may contact.

For more information, please contact NREL Public Affairs at (303) 275-4090 or email public.affairs@nrel.gov

25 Years of Research Excellence

NR-1702