The inventor of Li-ion batteries is developing a vastly superior battery technology
Not so, says John B. Goodenough - a professor at the University of Texas Austin's Cockrell School of Engineering . He is the proud co-inventor of the lithium-ion cell, but this great achievement might not end up as his most awe-inspiring accomplishment.
Together with fellow researcher Maria Helena Braga, the 94-year-old professor recently led an engineering team which apparently developed a vastly superior alternative to li-ion batteries.
The new power cells use solid glass electrolytes instead of the liquid found in its lithium-ion counterparts. This means that these batteries are much safer, as there won't be any explosions or fires happening due to the formation of dendrites (small “metal whiskers” which can form and cause a short circuit if a li-ion battery is charged too fast).
However, safety isn't the only advantage of these solid-state power cells. They have at least three times as much energy density compared to li-ion batteries, while also boasting much faster recharge rates, greater number of charging/discharging cycles, and the ability to perform well in subzero conditions (-20 degrees Celsius or -4 degrees Fahrenheit). Another major benefit with the new batteries is the fact that they can be manufactured in a cheap and eco-friendly way, as the glass electrolytes allow for the substitution of lithium for low-cost sodium which can be found just about anywhere.
The applications of this technology are undoubtedly quite huge, but it is important to remember that it is still under development, meaning that we probably won't see it widely-adopted in the next few years. Still, Goodenough and Braga are working on several patents and will look to team-up with battery makers to test and develop the new power cells.