A team of engineers led by 94-year-old John Goodenough, professor in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin and co-inventor from the lithium battery pack, has continued to evolve the initial all-solid-state battery cells that could 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 has an extended cycle life (battery life) having a high volumetric energy density and fast rates of charge and discharge. The engineers describe their new technology inside a recent paper published in the journal Energy & Environmental Science.
“Cost, safety, energy density, rates of charge and discharge and cycle life are crucial for battery-driven cars to be more widely adopted. We know our discovery solves most of the things that are built into today’s batteries,” Goodenough said.
They demonstrated that their new battery cells have a minimum of 3 times all the energy density as today’s lithium-ion batteries. A battery cell’s energy density gives an electric vehicle its driving range, so an increased energy density means that a vehicle can drive more miles between charges. The UT Austin battery formulation also permits a larger number of charging and discharging cycles, which equates to longer-lasting batteries, together with 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 of the battery) and the cathode (the positive side from the battery). If energy storage companies is charged too rapidly, 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. As an alternative to liquid electrolytes, the researchers rely on glass electrolytes which allow using an alkali-metal anode minus the formation of dendrites.
The use 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 a lot 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 a vehicle could work well in subzero degree weather. This dexkpky82 the very first all-solid-state battery cell that may operate under 60 degree Celsius.
Braga began developing solid-glass electrolytes with colleagues while she was with the University of Porto in Portugal. About two years ago, she began collaborating with Goodenough and researcher Andrew J. Murchison at UT Austin. Braga claimed that Goodenough brought an understanding of the composition and properties in the solid-glass electrolytes that resulted in a whole new version from the electrolytes which is now patented with the UT Austin Office of Technology Commercialization.
The engineers’ glass electrolytes allow them to plate and strip alkali metals on the cathode along with the anode side without dendrites, which simplifies battery cell fabrication.
Another benefit is the battery cells can be made from earth-friendly materials.
“The glass electrolytes provide for the substitution of low-cost sodium for lithium. Sodium is obtained from seawater that is certainly accessible,” Braga said.
Goodenough and Braga are continuing to succeed their 18650 battery pack and so are taking care of 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.