John Goodenough, professor in the Cockrell School of Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin and co-inventor of the lithium-ion battery, has developed the first all-solid-state battery cells that are safer, faster-charging, longer-lasting and rechargeable, for handheld mobile devices, electric cars and stationary energy storage. 

Working at Oxford in 1980, John Goodenough and his colleagues invented the rechargeable lithium-ion battery, the standard for most of today’s electronic devices. Over thirty years later, Goodenough has invented an even better battery that is solid-state, with a glass compound instead of liquid seen in lithium-ion batteries.

Longer Lasting Battery with Faster Charges

Goodenough’s researchers demonstrated that their new battery cells have at least three times as much energy density as today’s lithium-ion batteries, to give electric vehicles more driving range between charges. The battery formulation also allows for faster charges (minutes rather than hours), with a greater number of charging and discharging cycles, to make them more long-lasting. His new battery also has triple the energy storage capacity of standard batteries, with a much longer longevity.

New Battery Safer than Lithium-Ion

Goodenough’s all-solid-state battery breakthrough, completed with Cockrell School senior research fellow Maria Helena Braga, is non-combustible. Today’s lithium-ion batteries use liquid electrolytes to transport the lithium ion between the anode (negative side of the battery) and the cathode (positive side of the battery). If a lithium-ion battery cell is charged too quickly, dendrites or “metal whiskers” form and cross through the liquid electrolytes, causing a short circuit that can lead to explosions and fires. The new battery relies on glass electrolytes that don’t cause dendrites to form.

Glass Electrolytes in New Battery Can Perform at Colder Temperatures

Solid-glass electrolytes can operate at -20 degrees Celsius, allowing a battery-driven car to perform well in subzero degree weather. The glass electrolytes also allow for the substitution of low-cost and earth-friendly sodium for lithium. Sodium is extracted from sea water and is widely available.

Although Goodenough has been through this before, his new solid-state battery may go through many obstacles between development and production before we see it in consumer products, to replace those fire-prone lithium-ion batteries.

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