For John B. Goodenough (sounds like John be good enough) inventor of Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries, Lithium-ion batteries were not ‘Good Enough’ and now he, his team and his associate researchers (Maria Helena Braga) are working on solid-state batteries. They showcased their new prototype of a new glass rod battery, which claims to be more efficient, environment friendly as well as cheap.
I don’t want men in his greed to exploit the resources of the Earth, to turn what should be garden into a dessert.
-John B. Goodenough
Where Lithium-ion batteries miss out?
For the following decade after 2001, Lithium-ion batteries were boon, but with an increase in demand for processing power, multitasking, fast charging, and hardware enriched smartphones now it seems that we have reached a limit where Lithium-ion batteries soon will become a bottle-neck.
To your surprise, much of the recent progress in battery life has come from power-saving features built into devices and from making the software that manages charging and discharging more efficiently, so basically your smartphone sips power rather than guzzling (big sips) it.
So, if electronics can’t guzzle power, they have to slow down. One of the biggest hurdles is when we fast charge a Lithium-ion battery. We all know that there is a Cathode, an Anode, and an Electrolyte inside a battery. Batteries work by passing ions (charge) from Cathode to Anode (sometimes vice-versa), through this electrolyte. What we all don’t know is that during this process of fast charging dendrites form on Anode and they seep towards the cathode. So, this causes a short circuit, fries your battery and KaaBooM, a nuclear explosion in your pocket.
Lithium-ion batteries’ inability to cope with normal temperatures higher than your lukewarm water i.e., 40 degrees Celsius, makes them a weapon. Every, improvement that was part of Lithium-ion batteries was focused on increasing charge density and cutting dendrites. This is the time where we say ‘necessity is the mother of inventions’ and thus the world is looking for a newer and a better and an effective, and most importantly a sustainable solution.
What to expect from a modern battery?
- It has more charge density so that it lasts long.
- It can provide power at a fixed pace.
- It is cost-effective.
- It is small in size.
- It is environmentally friendly.
- It is not a weapon that blasts in the pocket.
Know about the Battery Legend.
John B. Goodenough, for a non-technical person that name may bring smile and they may ask “whhaattt…??? are you kidding, is that, that… umm someone’s name. you kiddin?” but hold on boy, for a man who knows technology, that name is Legend and his works are Le-gen-dary.
John Bannister Goodenough (born July 25, 1922) is an American materials scientist as well as a solid-state physicist. He has been awarded the National Medal of Science, the Copley Medal, the Fermi Award, the Draper Prize, and the Japan Prize. But if all these awards are not ‘good-enough’ to call him legendary, The John B Goodenough Award in materials science is named for him.
Well, even if you think that’s not good enough to call this man a legend, here the highest award a person in science can win and that’s a Nobel laureate. John B. Goodenough was awarded a Nobel laureate in chemistry (2019) and he is the oldest person (97 years) to receive a Nobel Prize, and that is Goodenough to call him a ‘Legend’. By the way apart from Lithium-ion batteries, he was on the team, who invented RAM. Yes, RAM, that Random Access Memory, which is a must to know for when you buy your Smartphones, Laptops, Tablets, Desktops, etc.
Solid-State Batteries, the upcoming tradition.
Maria Helena Braga brought a remarkable glass to John Bannister Goodenough. This glass was different as it transported ions between Cathode and Anode almost as fast as a liquid electrolyte. A battery made of this glass material has the same level of degradation after 1200 charge cycles as compared to 500 charge cycles of Lithium-ion batteries. So, this translates to the following:
- It will not form dendrites.
- It will have a long life and will not cause explosions.
- Glass is made of silica (assume sand), which is abundant.
- The use of glass means we can use low Sodium (Na) instead of Lithium. Oceans are full of sodium.
- Well, Silica and Oceans are abundant, which means an environment-friendly battery.
- This type of battery can operate between the temperature range of -20 degrees Celsius to 60 degrees Celsius.
- These batteries were able to hold 2.2 to 5 times more energy density (read charge density) than traditional Lithium-ion batteries. Off course, The range is because of the different dimension which was compared.
So, what can we at TechNiche conclude?
Very soon, we will see a no change battery system as the same battery will last longer than your phone will support latest updates. You will have to change the phone in that case.
Soon, our EV’s (Electronic vehicles) will be able to get more juice. More juice means more range. And not to forget, EV’s will be cheaper.