94-year-old John Goodenough is known for helping to develop the lithium-ion battery, but he’s not done revolutionizing energy storage yet. Goodenough led a team of engineers at The University of Texas at Austin to develop a new solid-state battery that can store three times more energy than lithium-ion cells. The new battery technology could lead to safer rechargeable batteries that last longer and charge faster than batteries on the market today.
The UT Austin team’s battery boasts at least thrice the energy density of lithium ion batteries. According to the university, energy density “gives an electric vehicle its driving range” – so the team’s new battery could enable green vehicles to travel further between charges. Plus, speedier recharge rates mean the new batteries could charge up in minutes instead of hours.
The team utilized glass electrodes instead of liquid electrodes in their battery to help make it safer. In lithium-ion batteries, liquid electrodes convey lithium ions between the positive and negative sides of the battery. But charging those batteries too quickly can damage the liquid electrodes. The use of glass electrodes could even allow electric car batteries to perform well in cold weather; according to UT Austin this is the first all-solid-state battery cell able to operate below 60 degrees Celsius.
Maria Helena Braga is the lead author of the study, which was published by the journal Energy & Environmental Science Braga first started developing solid-glass electrodes at the University of Porto in Portugal, and around two years ago she began collaborating with Goodenough.
In a statement Goodenough said, “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.”