John Goodenough develops rapid-charge battery made of glass

Design is safer, holds more energy, is extracted from seawater.

At 94 years old, inventor, professor and physicist John Goodenough is still inventing new solutions for battery storage. Back in 1980, Goodenough and his team reached a scientific breakthrough that made lithium-ion batteries possible, and now, decades later, Goodenough has developed the first all-solid-state battery cells.

Goodenough says the new cells have three times as much energy density as lithium-ion battery cells, and they are safer.

One of the interesting things about the newly invented cells is that they can be manufactured from glass. The cells would function at a lower temperature than lithium-ion batteries, and they can be manufactured out of sodium, which is commonly available, and can be extracted from sea water. Conventional batteries aren't able to use an alkali-metal-anode such as sodium.

Thanks to the alkali-metal-anode, the batteries could be charged more rapidly than lithium-ion cells, without the danger of damaging dendrites forming, which can cause short circuits and fires – especially troubling regarding the fast-charging of electric vehicles. And thanks to their high conductivity, the batteries would function well in subzero weather, even in -60 degrees Celsius or -76 F.

This would mean a "a safe, low-cost all-solid-state cell with a huge capacity giving a large energy density and a long cycle life suitable for powering an all-electric road vehicle or for storing electric power from wind or solar energy," as Bloomberg quotes the researchers. Goodenough's team is working on several patents, hoping to work with battery makers to develop and test their new materials in electric vehicles and energy storage devices, says the University of Texas. The battery project has attracted attention from industry bigwigs such as Google's Eric Schmidt.

Related video:

Share This Photo X