2022 O’Donnell Award in Engineering: Jodie L. Lutkenhaus, Ph.D.

Texas A&M Chemical Engineering Honored for Pioneering the Future of Non-metal Energy Storage

Dr. Jodie L. Lutkenhaus, professor in the Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering at Texas A&M University, is the recipient of the 2022 Edith and Peter O’Donnell Award in Engineering from TAMEST. She was chosen for her innovation and development of redox active polymers for metal-free energy storage and smart coatings.

By developing new molecular-scale characterization methods, Lutkenhaus discovered fundamental connections among polymer dynamics, properties and performance. Specifically, through the use of an electrochemical quartz crystal microbalance with a dissipation monitoring device, she developed new ways to closely observe the response of polymers in some of the most challenging environments. In 2021, she and her collaborator TAMEST Member Karen Wooley, Ph.D. (NAS), Texas A&M University demonstrated the world’s first degradable peptide battery.

These types of discoveries have led to new designs for metal-free organic batteries that will address society’s needs for materials that are earth-abundant and recyclable or degradable. Her concept of a 100-percent polymer battery, which would steer battery production away from cobalt and other precious metals, has the potential to charge and discharge much faster than traditional versions.

“Imagine a battery you never have to throw away, one that does not depend on precious metals to work, and charges more efficiently than conventional methods,” said Nominator Mark A. Barteau, Ph.D. (NAE), Professor of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry, Texas A&M University. “This rapid charging technology could dramatically change the way batteries are developed and how things – like electric vehicles – are used today. We are just astounded at the ingenuity and innovation Dr. Lutkenhaus shows on a daily basis and are thankful to have her leadership here at Texas A&M mentoring the next generation of groundbreaking researchers.”

Lutkenhaus is one of four Texas-based researchers receiving the TAMEST 2022 Edith and Peter O’Donnell Awards. Each are chosen for their individual contributions addressing the essential role that science and technology play in society, and whose work meets the highest standards of exemplary professional performance, creativity and resourcefulness.

“Dr. Lutkenhaus and her team of multidisciplinary researchers are transforming the way we look at the future of batteries and energy storage,” said David E. Daniel, Ph.D. (NAE), TAMEST Board President. “We are honored to award her with the 2022 Edith and Peter O’Donnell Award in Engineering for opening up a whole new metal-free world of powered wearable, implantable electric devices and more. We can’t wait to see what reusable and even sprayable batteries will enter the market in the next ten years thanks to her research.”

Lutkenhaus will be recognized at the 2022 Edith and Peter O’Donnell Awards Ceremony on June 20, 2022, and will give a presentation on her research preceding the award ceremony at the TAMEST 2022 Annual Conference, Forward Texas – Imperatives for Health in San Antonio, Texas at the Westin Riverwalk Hotel.

All are encouraged to attend the ceremony and the TAMEST Conference.

About the O’Donnell Awards:

The Edith and Peter O’Donnell Awards annually recognize rising Texas researchers who are addressing the essential role that science and technology play in society, and whose work meets the highest standards of exemplary professional performance, creativity and resourcefulness.

Over $1 million has been awarded to more than 60 recipients in the categories of medicine, engineering, science and technology innovation since the inception of the O’Donnell Awards in 2006. Fifteen O’Donnell Awards Recipients have gone on to be elected to the National Academies, including four in the last two years.


TAMEST was co-founded in 2004 by the Honorable Kay Bailey Hutchison and Nobel Laureates Michael S. Brown, M.D. and Richard E. Smalley, Ph.D. With more than 325 members and 16 member institutions, TAMEST is composed of the Texas-based members of the three National Academies (National Academy of Medicine, National Academy of Engineering and National Academy of Sciences), the Royal Society and the state’s 10 Nobel Laureates. We bring together the state’s brightest minds in medicine, engineering, science and technology to foster collaboration, and to advance research, innovation and business in Texas.

TAMEST’s unique interdisciplinary model has become an effective recruitment tool for top research and development centers across Texas. Since our founding, more than 260 TAMEST members have been inducted into the National Academies or relocated to Texas.

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