If you reflect on the immense contributions of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s 17 national laboratories to society since the 1930s, it’s easy to conjure up discoveries and capabilities related to the multibillion-dollar, world-class national user facilities spread across the county. But the true keystone to innovation and impact lies in the people — the expertise and dedication of our national laboratory researchers, technicians, and staff — working every day to address the nation’s energy, environmental, and nuclear challenges through transformative science and technology solutions.
Without the people behind the research and the science, none of these contributions are possible. And in honor of Women’s History Month, we want to celebrate the significant contributions of the women across the national laboratories focused on energy storage. Several highlighted here represent a diversity of backgrounds and current roles at the laboratories and range from early to senior career, many of whom are behind the enabling innovation areas in which DOE is investing — energy storage.
One of these is Ruby Nguyen, a CMI project lead based at Idaho National Laboratory.
Dr. Ruby Thuy Nguyen is the Group Leader of System Dynamics and Modeling in the Systems Science and Engineering Department at Idaho National Laboratory. Dr. Nguyen’s research focuses on supply chain resilience and potential impacts of new technologies on the global material supply chains, and she is a key member of the Critical Materials Institute. In that role, she leads investigations of raw battery material supply chains featuring cobalt, lithium, and other minerals. In her analysis of lithium, supply from U.S. geothermal brines could reach around 4% to 8% of total U.S. lithium supply and is economically viable. Her work compares the expected growth in electrification to the expected availability of critical metals like cobalt, copper, and nickel and provides useful insights for policy planning and technology gaps for the future of vehicle electrification and energy storage. While risks to cobalt supply are well known, Dr. Nguyen’s work identifies the need to consider copper and nickel when tackling cobalt supply risk. Dr. Nguyen’s research has revealed the critical requirement to extend the life of batteries to meet long-term demand for critical metals. Dr. Nguyen originally joined Idaho National Laboratory as a postdoctoral fellow, and her supply chain work spans batteries and rare earth elements used in magnets and beyond.
See the complete story here: DOE's Energy Grand Challenge Celebrates Women's History Month/