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 of the lithium battery pack, has continued to evolve the very 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 is noncombustible and has an extended cycle life (battery life) with a high volumetric energy density and fast rates of charge and discharge. The engineers describe their new technology within a recent paper published within 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 many of the problems that are built into today’s batteries,” Goodenough said.
The researchers demonstrated that the new battery cells have at the very least 3 x all the energy density as today’s lithium-ion batteries. Battery power cell’s energy density gives an electric vehicle its driving range, so a higher energy density ensures that a car can drive more miles between charges. The UT Austin battery formulation also provides for a better quantity of charging and discharging cycles, which equates to longer-lasting batteries, and also a faster rate of recharge (minutes rather than hours).
Today’s lithium-ion batteries use liquid electrolytes to move the lithium ions involving the anode (the negative side of your battery) along with the cathode (the positive side from the battery). If lithium battery storage is charged too quickly, it can cause dendrites or “metal whiskers” to make and cross throughout the liquid electrolytes, resulting in a short circuit that can cause explosions and fires. Instead of liquid electrolytes, the researchers depend upon glass electrolytes that enable the use of an alkali-metal anode with no formation of dendrites.
The application of an alkali-metal anode (lithium, sodium or potassium) – which isn’t possible with conventional batteries – boosts the energy density of your cathode and offers a long cycle life. In experiments, the researchers’ cells have demonstrated greater 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 particular battery in a car could perform 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 two years ago, she began collaborating with Goodenough and researcher Andrew J. Murchison at UT Austin. Braga mentioned that Goodenough brought an awareness from the composition and properties in the solid-glass electrolytes that resulted in a fresh version of the electrolytes which is now patented with the UT Austin Office of Technology Commercialization.
The engineers’ glass electrolytes let them plate and strip alkali metals on the cathode and the anode side without dendrites, which simplifies battery cell fabrication.
Another advantage is 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 extracted from seawater which is widely accessible,” Braga said.
Goodenough and Braga are continuing to succeed their 18500 battery and therefore are working on several patents. In the short term, they hope to work alongside battery makers to develop and test their new materials in electric vehicles as well as storage devices.