Professor at the University of California, Riverside
Category of Humanitarian Benefit: Environmental Improvement
Biography/ Background of Nominee: After completing her graduate studies at Stanford University and UC San Diego, Dr. Mihri Ozkan became a faculty member in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UC Riverside where she has been designated “Climate Action Champion" and “Change Maker Professor.”
Ozkan believes widespread adoption of electric vehicles by 2040 depends on advancements in affordability, battery storage capacity, and battery durability. This will necessitate discoveries in raw materials, new battery technologies, material processing and battery manufacturing. Ozkan’s research aims to reduce the cost of anode and cathode raw materials, use new and safer battery architectures and performance increases in Li-ion batteries by using renewable and recyclable resources. Her work developing batteries using inexpensive and abundant renewable resources that include: mushrooms, beach sand, diatomite fossils and waste materials such as recycled glass and plastics. As a result, Ozkan won “The Top 100 Author award” from the Nature Publishing Group. Her battery research has been featured in the popular media, including: Forbes, Guardian, New York Times, Time, BBC, TBS, Discovery News, Popular Science, and The Huffington Post to name a few. In addition to Ozkan’s research and publications, she has advised more than 70 Ph.D.s. She has published approximately 900 technical papers, book chapters and abstracts (Citations: 6825, H-Index: 42, i10-index: 110). Ozkan believes that America's competitiveness will depend upon innovation. She has 79 patent disclosures, 7 issued US patents (Nos. 9991390, 9464990, 7510637, 7132787, 7049579, 7014742, and 6605453.), 18 pending non-provisional patent applications, 4 pending US provisional applications, and 9 invention disclosures still under initial review. 16 of her patents have been licensed by industry.
She is co-founder of two start-up companies and has received national and international honors including: “The National Medal for Engineering Science Award” from The Society of Engineering Science, “The Frontiers of Engineering Honor” from The National Academy of Engineering, “The John J. Guarrera Engineering Educator of the Year” from The National Engineers Council, “Young Investigator Award” from the Army Research Laboratories, “The Emerging Scholar Award” from The American Association of University Women, “Climate Global Winner” from European Clean-tech Innovation, “Inventor Award” from the Semiconductor Research Corporation, and “The Bridge magazine finalist list” from The National Academy of Engineering, to name a few.
Project Name and Description: Renewable and Waste to Energy
Mihri Ozkan, professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UCR believes America's competitiveness depends upon next-generation innovations including improvements in electric vehicle affordability, battery storage capacity, and durability. Based on her breakthroughs in raw-materials, new battery technologies, and materials processing, and 7 patents,16 of her disclosures are licensed with a total value of $10M. Her work on batteries using application of inexpensive and renewable resources that include mushrooms, beach sand, waste materials and recycled glass have been featured in Forbes, The Guardian, New York Times, Time, BBC, TBS, Discovery, Popular Science, and Huffington Post. Ozkan's publications include more than 900 peer reviewed journal articles, book chapters, scientific exhibits, and abstracts. Her creativity and innovation in the areas of sustainability and green energy technologies have been honored by awards that include: Frontier Fellow of National Academy of Engineering, Top-100 Author award by Nature Publishers, Medal of Engineering Science Investigator, Inventor Award from the Semiconductor Research Corporation, Army Investigator Award, National Women Scholar Award from the American Association of University Women, John Guarrera Engineering Educator of the Year from the National Engineers' Council. She has demonstrated leadership at UCR, serving as Climate Action Champion and Change Maker Professor.
In 2015, Professor Ozkan was selected as the Climate Action Champion Faculty based on her research and educational activities on the use of recycled and natural resources to make rechargeable batteries for electric vehicles. Her research group for the first time-demonstrated batteries made of portabella mushrooms, beach sand and diatomite fossils. She took her work a step further and reused recycled waste glass bottles to make rechargeable batteries. Even with today's recycling programs, billions of glass bottles end up in landfills every year, prompting Professor Ozkan to ask whether silicon dioxide in waste beverage bottles could provide high-purity silicon nanoparticles for lithium-ion batteries. Batteries made using the glass bottle-based silicon anodes outperformed traditional batteries in laboratory tests: They stored more energy, charged faster, and were more stable than commercial coin cell batteries. This promising work has attracted the attention of the battery and automotive industries, and it was featured on major news media including The Guardian, Fast Company, Huffington Post, The New York Times, Forbes, Time, BBC, TBS, Discovery News, Popular Science, and Al Jazeera. Her work was mentioned on the Conan O'Brian talk show.
Professor Mihri Ozkan has filed 79 invention disclosures related to nano/microelectronics and energy storage technologies: 7 issued US patents: Nos. 9991390, 9464990, 7510637, 7132787, 7049579, 7014742, and 6605453, 18 pending non-provisional patent applications, 4 pending US provisional applications, and 9 invention disclosures still under initial review.16 of her battery disclosures are licensed to industry with a value of $10M, the largest total amount in the history of The Bourns College of Engineering (BCOE). Vantage Advanced Technologies LLC signed a licensing agreement for Li-ion battery technologies developed in Ozkan's laboratories. Licensed innovations present novel Li-ion batteries with two times better capacity performance than commercial batteries with about 30% less cost and improved thermal and fire safety in full-cell format. She is co-founder of two companies: Temiz Clean Energy Technologies and Sponge Inc. Temiz developed a prototype pouch scale Li-ion battery with a storage capacity 33% higher than commercial LiCoO batteries. Sponge Inc. developed a sponge material that absorbs any oil-based contaminant. Sponge couples oil cleanup methods with a security system for oil-rigs and gained public awareness for the material with “sponge bikini.” Sponge received The Climate Global Award from the European Clean-tech Innovation.
Humanitarian Benefit: University of California selected one faculty member from each campus as their Climate Champion for their projects that are intended to help meet and focus for climate action and take up the challenge of engaged research and education to achieve carbon neutrality. Professor Mihri Ozkan is selected as UCR's Climate Champion faculty because of her inspirational and innovative research and for her passion and dedication to develop advanced green energy technologies. She mentored undergraduate and graduate student by integrating her research into her teaching with great dedication. She is also named as Change Maker professor.
For her work related to sustainability and green technologies, she is awarded with Climate Global Finalist Award and Audience Favorite Choice Award, at the Climate Launchpad, European Clean-tech Innovation in Estonia. Based on her impact in her field, she is also recognized with Medal for Engineering Science Investigator from the Society of Engineering Science. Further, her work on emerging nanoelectronic devices selected as Finalist and featured on the cover of Bridge Magazine of National Academy of Engineering. Her interdisciplinary inventions on micro/nanoelectronics at multiple times recognized with Inventor Recognition Award by the Semiconductor Research Corporation. Similarly, her interdisciplinary work received Young Investigator Award from the Army Research Office. She has published over 900 peer reviewed journal articles, book chapters, scientific exhibits, and abstracts.
Professor Mihri Ozkan is vibrant and a great role model to women in engineering as a teacher and researcher with her exemplary research and her innovative and passionate teaching. Her awards, The John J. Guarrera Engineering Educator of the Year and Distinguished Engineering Educator Award given by the US National Engineers' Council recognizes Professor Mihri Ozkan as a leading extraordinary and influential engineering educator.
Her exemplary innovative research and inspirational mentorship to women in engineering and girls from K-12 are recognized with distinction and acknowledged with the National Emerging Scholar Award by the American Association of University Women. She received her award along with the Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and others.
Prof. Mihri Ozkan has our highest possible recommendation for Rotary Humanitarian Star Award. Her vision and leadership are remarkable, and her accomplishments have been transformative for our institution. She has been a role model, change agent, and global advocate of sustainable and green energy technologies. She truly embodies the achievements described for Rotary Humanitarian Star Award.