A team of engineers led by 94-year-old John Goodenough, professor in the Cockrell School of Engineering in the University of Texas at Austin and co-inventor in the 18650 lithium battery, has created the 1st all-solid-state battery cells that can lead to safer, faster-charging, longer-lasting rechargeable batteries for handheld cellular devices, electric cars and stationary energy storage.
Goodenough’s latest breakthrough, completed with Cockrell School senior research fellow Maria Helena Braga, is a low-cost all-solid-state battery that may be noncombustible and contains a long cycle life (battery) with a high volumetric energy density and fast rates of charge and discharge. The engineers describe their new technology in a recent paper published inside the journal Energy & Environmental Science.
“Cost, safety, energy density, rates of charge and discharge and cycle life are critical for battery-driven cars to become more widely adopted. We believe our discovery solves a lot of the problems that are inherent in today’s batteries,” Goodenough said.
The researchers demonstrated that their new battery cells have at least 3 times the maximum amount of energy density as today’s lithium-ion batteries. A battery cell’s energy density gives an electric powered vehicle its driving range, so a greater energy density ensures that a car can drive more miles between charges. The UT Austin battery formulation also provides for a greater variety of charging and discharging cycles, which equates to longer-lasting batteries, as well as a faster rate of recharge (minutes as an alternative to hours).
Today’s lithium-ion batteries use liquid electrolytes to transport the lithium ions involving the anode (the negative side of the battery) and the cathode (the positive side of the battery). If energy battery is charged too quickly, it can cause dendrites or “metal whiskers” to create and cross with the liquid electrolytes, resulting in a short circuit that can result in explosions and fires. As an alternative to liquid electrolytes, they depend on glass electrolytes which allow using an alkali-metal anode without having the formation of dendrites.
The application of an alkali-metal anode (lithium, sodium or potassium) – which isn’t possible with conventional batteries – improves the energy density of a cathode and offers a long cycle life. In experiments, the researchers’ cells have demonstrated more than 1,200 cycles with low cell resistance.
Additionally, for the reason that solid-glass electrolytes can operate, or have high conductivity, at -20 degrees Celsius, this particular battery in the vehicle could work well in subzero degree weather. This dexkpky82 the initial all-solid-state battery cell that could operate under 60 degree Celsius.
Braga began developing solid-glass electrolytes with colleagues while she was on the University of Porto in Portugal. About 2 years ago, she began collaborating with Goodenough and researcher Andrew J. Murchison at UT Austin. Braga claimed that Goodenough brought a preliminary understanding of the composition and properties in the solid-glass electrolytes that contributed to a brand new version of your electrolytes that may be now patented from the UT Austin Office of Technology Commercialization.
The engineers’ glass electrolytes allow them to plate and strip alkali metals for both the cathode and the anode side without dendrites, which simplifies battery cell fabrication.
Another advantage is that the battery cells can be produced from earth-friendly materials.
“The glass electrolytes provide for the substitution of low-cost sodium for lithium. Sodium is taken from seawater that is accessible,” Braga said.
Goodenough and Braga are continuing to succeed their 18500 battery and therefore are focusing on several patents. For the short term, they hope to work with battery makers to build up and test their new materials in electric vehicles and energy storage devices.