The inventor of Li-ion batteries is developing a vastly superior battery technology


Lithium-ion batteries currently power many of our modern appliances. You will find them used in mobile devices, electric cars, various tools, medical equipment, and in many other fields, so one would naturally assume that the the Li-ion technology will also be widespread in the future.

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.

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19 Comments

1. nh1402

Posts: 138; Member since: Oct 30, 2013

This news is a week old!

2. SYSTEM_LORD

Posts: 1168; Member since: Oct 05, 2015

I can believe this. This guy has a proven track record.

9. Podrick

Posts: 1285; Member since: Aug 19, 2015

I still don't have much hope. After all, there were dozens of revolutionary battery news, yet not a single one came to the market.

11. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

I normally share your views on this matter. There have been literally dozens of battery breakthroughs that have never seen the light of day. However in this case I'm a bit more hopeful, as the man behind it has actually brought something to market in the past, that being what is currently in use industry wide right now. If anything, manufacturers would probably be more receptive to something offered from a person with a proven track record than say a group of postgraduates who's projects never get past the drawing board.

15. nanozander

Posts: 97; Member since: Oct 19, 2011

While I do not know for sure, chances are the reason we're not seeing these new batteries in the market yet is due to their costs of production. Until we have one that oraganisations can see profit in making them, we are likely not going to see any of these new battery technologies anytime soon ='(

18. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 2010

Quite a few of the battery breakthroughs were big because their costs were lower than Li-ion or Ni-Mh as well outperforming them. However I'd bet that most of the ideas looked promising on the drawing board but fell apart once it came to the production stage. That happens quite a bit in experimental technology. Ideas on paper is a whole different animal than real world conditions. The reason I mentioned that manufacturers might be more receptive to something from Goodenough vs a bunch of students is that he has gone through this process before and knows what will and won't be acceptable, most students haven't. So that gives him an advantage.

3. Xperia14

Posts: 1208; Member since: Sep 01, 2015

At least three times the energy density? That's Goodenough!

5. NarutoKage14

Posts: 1346; Member since: Aug 31, 2016

Only 3 times? I don't think any battery will ever be Goodenough for him!

8. Podrick

Posts: 1285; Member since: Aug 19, 2015

Still better than the ones we have now. And its safer. For now its Goodenough for me.

12. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

Funny how the inventor's name (Goodenough) fit well in your sentences. Yay, this new battery tech is Goodenough for me too!

17. AlikMalix unregistered

Well they tried, "itwilldo" and "cantcomplain", but those got rejected by the board, finally "goodenough" was what they wanted.

4. SleeperOne

Posts: 370; Member since: Feb 25, 2017

Safer and more efficient is always good, and longer lasting to boot? The holy trinity.

6. android1234

Posts: 203; Member since: Feb 09, 2010

Looking forward to it

7. NarutoKage14

Posts: 1346; Member since: Aug 31, 2016

I can see that they will have something to Braga about, but will it ever be Goodenough for them? This is also probably another battery tech that will not see the light of day for about decade if at all. Seriously, count all the new battery Tech's we've heard about in the last 5 years. There's probably been a few dozen and nothing has even come of them.

10. Mixkhata1

Posts: 162; Member since: Feb 26, 2017

If onlu we get to see that in actual products... this might be the key to having a full one week battery life.

13. VeronicaMars

Posts: 17; Member since: Nov 20, 2015

Meh, this won't happen. This is too sci-fi to be true.

14. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

back in 90's,, G6, surface pro, and Gear S also "too sci-fi" for most peoples :D

16. Tondern

Posts: 164; Member since: Feb 23, 2015

Here's a guy that could have retired from the work force thirty years ago in the eighies when the Berlin wall still stood. Got to admire that some can keep their mental of physical health good for so long, and stay interested in their field.

19. Encephalon

Posts: 1; Member since: Sep 22, 2014

Apparently the current Li-ion technology wasn't "Goodenough" for him. :P

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