Lockheed Martin Energy



Meet Liz Santori:

Senior Research Scientist, PhD, EnerGENIUS. Liz is working on changing the way the world stores energy.

How would you explain what you do to your best non-chemist friend?


I work on a battery technology that can enable the use of more renewable, non-carbon resources on the electric grid.  As renewable energy increases, there is a real need for large-scale energy storage.  We are making a product that fits that need – a flow battery.  Most people are familiar with lithium ion batteries, which store energy in materials fixed in place inside the battery.  In a flow battery, the compounds that store energy are in solutions that are pumped in and out of the battery, and stored in large tanks.  Adjusting the energy storage required becomes simple – you’re only limited to how big the tank is.  It’s a technology that has unique advantages for grid-scale energy storage.

 


What do you like most about your job?

I like the pioneering aspect of what I do – making something for the first time.  The work we’re doing is focused on creating a unique technology that will be more affordable and effective than the current options on the market.  I’m not just a chemist in a lab; I’m making a product that is going to go to a commercial market.  It is extremely exciting.  

What is the most challenging part about what you do?

The pace is definitely challenging, but it’s also what makes my job fun! We want to make a commercially attractive product, and we want it ready when the market is ready.  It’s moving fast, and there is never a dull day.  

How did you know you wanted to work for Lockheed Martin Energy?

A few years ago, Lockheed Martin acquired flow battery technology from a company called Sun Catalytix.  I was familiar with the company, and when I heard that its technology was being acquired by Lockheed Martin, I knew it was something I wanted to be part of.  Lockheed Martin has a strong reputation among engineers and scientists – and with its commitment to the energy market, I was immediately drawn to the opportunity.  It felt like the right fit.

Can you tell a story about the most exciting thing that’s happened to you at work?

Thankfully not – excitement in the chemistry lab (i.e. an explosive reaction) is generally bad!  But everything we do is interesting.  I certainly get excited when an experiment works and goes my way, but you also try and keep an even keel when an experiment does not give you the desired result.  You have to learn to be even-keeled so you aren’t going through highs and lows as a scientist.  Luckily, in my work, I’ve seen more positive than negative – which is always a good sign!  

What is the one thing you are most proud of? 

Having this job, quite honestly.  It’s something I’ve worked toward for nine years.  It’s been my goal since before graduate school to have an impact in the energy field, and that’s what I’m doing right now.  It feels amazing to be accomplishing that dream.