94-year-old John Bannister Goodenough made headlines this week for creating a new battery which is three times more efficient and safer than the currently prevalent lithium-ion battery.
The American inventor’s new invention is expected to replace his own revolutionary invention, the lithium-ion battery, which has been an industry standard for decades.
Professor Goodenough and his team have created a low-cost solid-state battery that is safer and more efficient than the lithium-ion battery. Lithium-ion batteries are the most prevalent batteries today. They power our smart phones, tablets, laptops, and electric cars.
The new invention stores thrice as much energy, can be charged in a matter of minutes, and can withstand more charge/discharge cycles. The battery cells are noncombustible and reportedly robust enough to take high number of charging cycles. This means more miles for electric vehicles in between charges.
How does the new invention work?
The new battery is made of glass electrolytes. These are solid instead of the liquid electrolytes in lithium-ion batteries. They allows for electric cars to go three times the distance and recharge in minutes instead of hours. They are also far safer as they won’t explode, and they can operate in sub-zero temperatures with no danger of freezing.
The new technology could boost the prevalence of electric vehicles and change the way we use our gadgets. For now, Goodenough and his team are looking to pair up with battery makers who can test their creation in electric vehicles and energy storage devices. The goal is to produce large-scale cells eventually and then move the technology over to manufacturers who will develop it commercially.
Incidentally, the Professor was also the inventor of lithium-ion batteries. He invented them 37 years ago, when he was 57 years old.
John Bannister Goodenough is an American professor and solid-state physicist. He is currently a Professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at the University of Texas.
He is widely credited for the identification and development of the lithium-ion rechargeable battery as well as for developing the Goodenough–Kanamori rules for determining the sign of the magnetic superexchange in materials. His lithium-ion batteries have been the industry standard for decades now.
His new battery invention will dwarf his first invention as it will power our future solar powered and electric vehicles, homes, and industries. “Cost, safety, energy density, rates of charge and discharge and cycle life are critical for battery-driven cars to be more widely adopted. We believe our discovery solves many of the problems that are inherent in today’s batteries,” Professor Goodenough said.
At 94, Professor Goodenough still works as the University of Texas – and he isn’t finished yet. He believes humanity has a 30-year window to come up with an even more powerful “super battery” to take us entirely off fossil fuels, before the environmental damage we are creating becomes irreversible. He says, “I want to solve this problem before my chips are in … I still have time to go.”