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Creator Of Lithium Ion Batteries Helps Develop A Better, Safer, And Longer-Lasting Battery

5 March 2017, 8:16 am EST By Luan Chan Tech Times
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The 94-year old co-creator of Lithium Ion batteries led a team of engineers in the development of a rechargeable battery three times better than his previous invention.  ( Brendan Hoffman | Getty )

People are often looking for ways to prolong the battery life of their gadgets. From the more practical approach of changing their charging behaviors to relying on science to improve battery technology. Scientists and engineers are also looking into developing better batteries either through studying and improving current designs or actually creating new ones, like Harvard's Flow battery.

Even Professor John Goodenough, the co-creator of the currently and popularly used Lithium-ion batteries, felt that it is not good enough and never stopped working and making it better. His efforts finally paid off when he led a team of engineers from the University of Texas at Austin to successfully develop a safer and longer lasting alternative to his creation.

Prof. Goodenough discovered the materials that led to the development of Li-ion batteries when he was 57 years old but he never lost hope that he would be able to find something better to contribute to battery technology — he has finally done so again after 37 years.

What Is The New Battery?

The very first all-solid-state battery cells could be used for rechargeable batteries that will allow faster and safer charging since it has a lower tendency of heating up to the point of combusting spontaneously — much like the batteries of a certain smartphone.

The all-solid-state battery can be used for gadgets like smartphones and even electric vehicles or stationary energy storage.

"Cost, safety, energy density, rates of charge and discharge and cycle life are critical for battery-driven cars to be more widely adopted. We believe our discovery solves many of the problems that are inherent in today's batteries," Goodenough said.

What Makes The New Battery Better?

By using glass electrolytes, the new battery removes the possibility of the liquid electrolytes forming dendrites that can short circuit and cause the device to explode.

Not only that, the alkali-metal anode used in the new battery increases the energy density, which means more charge cycles, longer battery life, and quicker charge times. It can even be used it in sub-zero temperatures so explorers and scientists would also benefit greatly from it.

When Will It Be Sold?

Right now, Prof. Goodenough and Cockrell School senior research fellow Maria Helena Braga, who worked with the team on the development of the new battery, are working on patenting the new technology but they are also looking into working with battery makers to develop and conduct more tests on their discovery.

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