A team of engineers led by 94-year-old John Goodenough, professor inside the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin and co-inventor in the custom lithium battery, has evolved the very first all-solid-state battery cells that could lead to safer, faster-charging, longer-lasting rechargeable batteries for handheld smart phones, electric cars and stationary energy storage.
Goodenough’s latest breakthrough, completed with Cockrell School senior research fellow Maria Helena Braga, can be a low-cost all-solid-state battery that may be noncombustible and possesses a long cycle life (battery) having a high volumetric energy density and fast rates of charge and discharge. The engineers describe their new technology in the recent paper published from the journal Energy & Environmental Science.
“Cost, safety, energy density, rates of charge and discharge and cycle life are crucial for battery-driven cars being more widely adopted. We feel our discovery solves many of the conditions that are inherent in today’s batteries,” Goodenough said.
They demonstrated that the new battery cells have at the very least three times as much energy density as today’s lithium-ion batteries. A battery cell’s energy density gives a power vehicle its driving range, so a greater energy density ensures that an automobile can drive more miles between charges. The UT Austin battery formulation also allows for a greater amount of charging and discharging cycles, which equates to longer-lasting batteries, and also a faster rate of recharge (minutes instead of hours).
Today’s lithium-ion batteries use liquid electrolytes to move the lithium ions involving the anode (the negative side from the battery) along with the cathode (the positive side of the battery). If energy storage companies is charged too quickly, there may be dendrites or “metal whiskers” to make and cross through the liquid electrolytes, resulting in a short circuit that can result in explosions and fires. Instead of liquid electrolytes, they depend on glass electrolytes which allow the use of an alkali-metal anode without the formation of dendrites.
The usage of an alkali-metal anode (lithium, sodium or potassium) – which isn’t possible with conventional batteries – boosts the energy density of a cathode and delivers 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 a car could perform well in subzero degree weather. This dexkpky82 the first all-solid-state battery cell that can operate under 60 degree Celsius.
Braga began developing solid-glass electrolytes with colleagues while she was at the University of Porto in Portugal. About 2 yrs ago, she began collaborating with Goodenough and researcher Andrew J. Murchison at UT Austin. Braga stated that Goodenough brought an understanding of your composition and properties in the solid-glass electrolytes that contributed to a new version of the electrolytes which is now patented from the UT Austin Office of Technology Commercialization.
The engineers’ glass electrolytes permit them to plate and strip alkali metals on the cathode along with the anode side without dendrites, which simplifies battery cell fabrication.
An additional advantage is the battery cells can be produced from earth-friendly materials.
“The glass electrolytes allow for the substitution of low-cost sodium for lithium. Sodium is taken from seawater which is easily available,” Braga said.
Goodenough and Braga are continuing to succeed their 26650 battery pack and they are working on several patents. For the short term, they hope to do business with battery makers to formulate and test their new materials in electric vehicles as well as storage devices.