The IBA Registers as a Non-Profit Organization

In the early 1970s, Dr. Akiya Kozawa, while working for the Battery Products Division of Union Carbide founded the International Battery Materials Association, now commonly referred to as the IBA by the battery community. At that time, Dr. Kozawa’s prime research interest was focused on manganese oxides for the growing alkaline Zn/MnO2 industry. Prof. Ernest B. (“Ernie”) Yeager, a renowned electrochemist and close colleague of Kozawa’s at neighboring Case Western Reserve University, had encouraged him to establish an international database of ‘Common Samples’ of MnO2 summarizing their electrochemical properties and physical characteristics such as structure, composition, particle size, surface area and impurity levels. These samples were made available to laboratories around the world for evaluation. The data obtained were shared, allowing the laboratories to compare their results directly.

Dr. Ralph Brodd, who was active in the Local Section of the Electrochemical Society (ECS) in Cleveland, was instrumental in getting ECS support for the Common Sample project. The outcome of this initiative was the establishment of the IBA, the first meeting of which was held in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1975, followed by meetings in Tokyo (1980) and Brussels (1983). In 1984, the IBA was formerly registered (as the International Battery Materials Association) as a non-profit organization in Ohio, with Akiya Kozawa as Chair of the Board of Advisors.

Lithium Ion and Lithium Battery Materials, Cells and Systems Become the Main Focus

The advent of nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) and lithium ion technologies in the 1990s marginalized interest in a now mature Zn/MnO2 technology. In particular, the versatility of lithium ion electrochemistry and the opportunity to explore a wide array of anode and cathode materials and electrochemical couples quickly took hold in the IBA because non-aqueous systems offered cell voltages significantly higher than that offered by NiMH and other aqueous systems. For the past twenty years, lithium ion materials, cells and lithium metal systems have dominated the annual meetings of IBA. The manganese oxide theme of the original IBA has been kept alive by the introduction of LiMn2O4 spinel in commercial lithium ion products and by the quest to find a manganese-rich alternative to layered LiCoO2 (LCO), LiNixCoyAlzO2 (NCA), LiNixMnyCozO2 (x>y>z) (NMC) electrodes that currently dominate the lithium ion battery market. Over recent years, as lithium ion technology matures, beyond and alternative to lithium ion presentations at IBA meetings are getting also significant, in particular sodium ion and lithium metal chemistries.

Historic Leadership

Dr. Akiya Kozawa, the founder of the IBA, retired as Board Chairman in 2000. He was succeeded by Dr. Ralph Brodd, who served in this capacity until his retirement in 2014. Dr. Michael Thackeray (Argonne National Laboratory, USA) a long-time IBA Board member succeeded Brodd as Chairman of the Board. Under his watch, the charter and rules and regulations of the association were updated and revised. He retired from this position in 2017 and is succeeded by Prof. Martin Winter (University of Muenster and Helmholtz-Institute Muenster, Germany), who has been president of the IBA from 2007 to 2010. Ralph Brodd and Michael Thackeray still hold the office of Chairman Emeritus and are members of the board.