FILE - This Aug. 23, 2002 file photo shows Stanford Ovshinsky, center, co-founder of Energy Conversion Devices Inc. with his wife Iris, right, appeared with U.S. Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham at a news conference at the company’s offices in Rochester Hills, Mich., on Aug. 23, 2002. Stan Ovshinsky, 89, died Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012, at his home in Bloomfield Hills from complications of prostate cancer. (AP Photo/Kathleen Wayt, file)
Updated: November 20, 2012 11:11AM
DETROIT — Stan Ovshinsky, the self-taught inventor who developed the nickel-metal hydride battery used in the hybrid vehicle industry, has died at his home in suburban Detroit after a fight with cancer. He was 89.
Mr. Ovshinsky, who ran Energy Conversion Devices, a car battery development company, also created a machine that produced 9-mile-long sheets of thin solar energy panels intended to bring cheaper, cleaner power to homes and businesses.
His son, Harvey Ovshinsky, said his father was passionate about science and alternative energy, but also about civil rights and other social causes. He said his father died of complications from prostate cancer Wednesday night at his home in Bloomfield Hills.
“Here was a man who spent his youth and his adulthood determined to change the world,” the younger Ovshinsky said. “That’s not a 9-to-5 job. My father worked tirelessly 24-7, even up until he got sick, to change the world and its attitude toward sustainable energy and alternate platforms for information.”
Stan Ovshinsky, for whom ovonics was named, made possible such technological discoveries as the solar-powered calculator. Ovonics changes the electrical resistance and structure of materials in response to sunlight.
He never went to college, yet he had about 200 patents and was a fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Born in Akron, Ohio, Mr. Ovshinsky and his late wife, Iris, founded Energy Conversion Devices Inc. in 1960. The company developed and applied his inventions to the fields of information and energy.
Prior to his death, Mr. Ovshinsky was nominated to receive the 2012 Hans Bethe Award for his research and development in material science. He was to receive the honor next month.