The creator of the lithium-ion battery helps in the development of a new better technology
As petrol deposits are rapidly depleting and global warming starts to seriously affect our daily lives and the ecosystem scientists are looking for new cleaner alternative methods of generating energy. In the past two decades the use of wind, solar and biofuel energy has grown tremendously and electric vehicles are starting to become more and more common. However, petrol is still more convenient and the currently available batteries aren’t good enough to store a large amount of energy and take a rather long time to recharge. Still, scientists are trying their best to come up with new inventions and because of that, we are standing on the verge of a new petrol-free era.
John B. Goodenough is the creator of the most popularly used in electronics battery today – the lithium-ion battery. Our computers, smartphones and even electric vehicles are running on some sort of a lithium-ion battery. Despite the fact that it was revolutionary back in its time the lithium-ion battery has its drawbacks and is becoming obsolete for today’s needs. Some of these drawbacks include the possibility to short circuit and catch fire (something we saw last year in a certain smartphone) and the unusability under low temperatures.
The same John B. Goodenough now works with Maria Helena Braga from the Cockrell School at The University of Texas. They and their team created a new safer low-cost solid state battery. Instead of liquid electrolytes like in the lithium-ion battery, this one uses glass electrolytes which will resolve the problem with combustion. These glass electrolytes also allow the battery to operate under sub-zero temperatures of around -20 degrees Celsius or -4 degrees Fahrenheit.
What are the perks of this technology? Well firstly, it stores three times as much energy as the ordinary lithium-ion battery. The recharge is claimed to be done in minutes instead of hours and the amount of charge and discharge cycles it can withstand is greater. There is also good news for the environment – lithium is replaced with low-cost sodium so the batteries can be manufactured with earth-friendly materials.
The team is looking for a partnership with battery manufacturers to bring the new battery into our lives and electronics. With inventions like this someday we might not plug our smartphone or notebook every night and we could travel around for miles upon miles without harming the environment.
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