Inventions related to batteries defined Karl Kordesch’s scientific life. He holds around 150 patents, including one for alkaline manganese batteries, which are free of pollutants such as cadmium and mercury, far more energy-efficient than zinc carbon batteries and can also be used at low temperatures. Around 75 percent of the batteries currently produced are manufactured using this principle.
Kordesch is little known in Austria, but in North America he is one of the most sought-after energy experts when it comes to future energy supplies. He developed the fuel cell at Ohio University on behalf of NASA and the U.S. Army. In 1970, he converted an Austin to hybrid operation, consisting of a fuel cell and electric drive. Kordesch used the car for more than three years and was the first person in the world to drive a hydrogen car.