John B. Goodenough, professor emeritus at the Cockrell School of Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, was the pioneer of battery technology at lithium-ion which is now the industry standard. Now the 94-year-old still wants to innovate on batteries. Goodenough and her research colleague Maria Helena Braga lead a team of researchers who have developed an “all solid” battery (all-solid-state) low cost, safer and more efficient than existing lithium-ion technology.
The new battery uses a glass electrolyte coated with sodium or lithium having three times the storage capacity of a lithium-ion battery. It also recharges in a few minutes instead of several hours and operates from -20 to 60 degrees centigrade. Initial tests suggest that the battery is capable of withstanding at least 1,200 charge-discharge cycles, which is much more than a lithium-ion battery. We can already imagine how it could revolutionize our future iPhone.
Even better, the glass-based electrolyte does not form dendrites as is the case with lithium-ion battery technology. Dendrites are fibers that accumulate as part of the standard charge and recharge cycle and can cause a short circuit, often resulting in high heat or even combustion (read: Story: the battery of your MacBook Pro Retina 2015 explodes).
Furthermore, Goodenough believes that this battery technology could revolutionize the electric car. “Cost, safety, energy density, charge and discharge rates and cycle life are essential for electric cars to be adopted more widely. We are convinced that our discovery solves many of the problems inherent in today’s batteries“Said Goodenough in a statement released by the University of Texas. This same battery technology could also be used to store energy in solar and wind systems.