John B. Goodenough (age 94) is currently a professor of mechanical engineering and materials science in the Cockrell School of Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, but he is broadly known as one of the inventorsm, along with Mizushima, Jones, and Wiseman, of the Li-ion rechargeable batteries which have helped the development of portable electronic devices, electric vehicles, and energy storage in general.
This week a team of engineers led by Goodenough introduced the first all-solid-state battery cells. This brand new development could lead us to a new generation of rechargeable batteries, safer, faster-charging, and longer-lasting. In the near future, we would see improved mobile devices and electric cars, and the renewable energy could take advantage of this new technology to become more efficient.
According to the website of the University of Texas, the team was able to create a new low-cost all-solid-state battery that is noncombustible, and with a long cycle life (battery life). Additionally, the new technology shows a high volumetric energy density and fast rates of charge and discharge. According to Goodenough, the new discovery would “solve many of the problems that are inherent in today’s batteries”.
Current Li-ion batteries utilize liquid electrolytes to move the ions between the anode and the cathode. This may create a short circuit because of the fact that, if the cell is charged too fast, it may cause dendrites. The new generation of batteries would use glass electrolytes instead of liquid ones, enabling the use of an alkali-metal anode, which would avoid the formation of dendrites.
There is more information on the paper of Goodenough’s team, published in the journal Energy & Environmental Science.
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