Lithium-ion may no longer be Goodenough after battery breakthrough

94-year old John Goodenough is showing the industry youth isn’t everything as The University of Texas makes a solid step forward for battery efficiency.

Goodenough, a professor in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin and also the co-inventor of the lithium-ion battery, has now lead a team which has developed the first all-solid-state battery cells. The breakthrough could lead to faster charging as well as longer-lasting rechargeable batteries for a variety of different uses including mobile devices, autonomous vehicles and IoT devices.

“Cost, safety, energy density, rates of charge and discharge and cycle life are critical for battery-driven cars to be more widely adopted,” Goodenough said on the university’s blog. “We believe our discovery solves many of the problems that are inherent in today’s batteries.”

On the techie side, the battery developed by Goodenough and his team claim to have three times as much energy density as today’s lithium-ion batteries. This increases the amount of energy which can be stored and well as reducing the charging time, with the team claiming it can be reduced to minutes as opposed to hours. For a more in-depth explanation, we would like to refer you to the screen grab below:

Battery Explanation

It’s a pain point which has been felt all over the world for the last couple of years as smartphones become more powerful and connected. The rise of portable charges is a direct result of frustration from consumers who have found themselves unable to stare at the small glowing screen on a night out and have had to resort to conversations (shock horror). Goodenough’s breakthrough means millennials around the world will never have to introduce themselves to anyone ever again.

That said, it does answer provide a solution to major stumbling blocks of IoT or electric vehicles for instance. How useful is a car which runs out of juice (though you could argue nothing is more environmentally friendly than a car which doesn’t move), or an IoT device in the middle of the Atlantic which needs its batteries changed frequently. It’s a breakthrough which the industry has been yearning for, and it would appear the first steps have been made.

Should the progress prove to be commercially viable, it could also answer another problem we are facing in the UK; what do we do with the iconic red phone boxes? How about a charging room where 50p gets 30 seconds of buzz to add 25% charge to your battery?

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