A team of engineers led by 94-year-old John Goodenough, professor within the Cockrell School of Engineering with the University of Texas at Austin and co-inventor in the lithium battery pack, has created the first all-solid-state battery cells that can lead to safer, faster-charging, longer-lasting rechargeable batteries for handheld mobile phones, electric cars and stationary energy storage.
Goodenough’s latest breakthrough, completed with Cockrell School senior research fellow Maria Helena Braga, is actually a low-cost all-solid-state battery that may be noncombustible and possesses an extended cycle life (battery) by using a high volumetric energy density and fast rates of charge and discharge. The engineers describe their new technology inside 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 get more widely adopted. We know our discovery solves many of the problems that are inherent in today’s batteries,” Goodenough said.
The researchers demonstrated that the new battery cells have no less than 3 x as much energy density as today’s lithium-ion batteries. Battery power cell’s energy density gives an electric 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 permits a better variety of charging and discharging cycles, which equates to longer-lasting batteries, and also a faster rate of recharge (minutes as an alternative to hours).
Today’s lithium-ion batteries use liquid electrolytes to transport the lithium ions between the anode (the negative side from the battery) along with the cathode (the positive side of your battery). If energy battery is charged too quickly, you can get dendrites or “metal whiskers” to make and cross with the liquid electrolytes, resulting in a short circuit that can bring about explosions and fires. Instead of liquid electrolytes, the researchers rely on glass electrolytes that enable using an alkali-metal anode with no formation of dendrites.
The use of an alkali-metal anode (lithium, sodium or potassium) – which isn’t possible with conventional batteries – raises the energy density of your cathode and delivers a long cycle life. In experiments, the researchers’ cells have demonstrated more than 1,200 cycles with low cell resistance.
Additionally, because the solid-glass electrolytes can operate, or have high conductivity, at -20 degrees Celsius, this sort of battery in the vehicle could perform well in subzero degree weather. This dexkpky82 the initial all-solid-state battery cell that may operate under 60 degree Celsius.
Braga began developing solid-glass electrolytes with colleagues while she was at the University of Porto in Portugal. About two years ago, she began collaborating with Goodenough and researcher Andrew J. Murchison at UT Austin. Braga stated that Goodenough brought an understanding from the composition and properties in the solid-glass electrolytes that contributed to a new version in the electrolytes that may be now patented throughout the UT Austin Office of Technology Commercialization.
The engineers’ glass electrolytes allow them to plate and strip alkali metals on both the cathode along with the anode side without dendrites, which simplifies battery cell fabrication.
Another advantage would be that the battery cells can be done from earth-friendly materials.
“The glass electrolytes enable the substitution of low-cost sodium for lithium. Sodium is taken from seawater that is easily available,” Braga said.
Goodenough and Braga are continuing to advance their 18650 battery pack and are taking care of several patents. In 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.