Wednesday, June 28, 2023

The Guy Who Invented The Lithium-Ion Battery Died On Sunday But He Had Another Idea

From IEEE Spectrum, June 26:

Goodenough’s Glass Battery Keeps Getting Better?
A prototype solid-state battery based on lithium and glass faces controversy over claims that its capacity increases over time

UPDATED 26 JUNE 2023: According to the University of Texas at Austin and The New York Times, John Bannister Goodenough died yesterday at an assisted-living facility in Austin at the age of 100. (He passed away a month shy of his 101st birthday.) The centenarian Nobel Laureate had for decades earned accolades and recognition in his field as one of the inventors of the now-ubiquitous lithium-ion battery. At the time of the following interview (and indeed at the time of a previous Spectruminterview with the legendary engineer in 2017), his latest work was still being unveiled concerning a glass-based electrolyte that might make great strides in lithium ions’ problems of both energy density limitations and thermal runaway problems. To this day, the conclusions of these papers are broadly considered—as witness an investigation this year by a Japanese team this year into the reaction mechanisms in the glass battery’s chemistry alongside a critical investigation of, among other technologies, the new Goodenough battery (often associated with Goodenough’s co-author Maria Helena Braga of the University of Porto in Portugal) in the journal Nature Communications in January. IEEE Spectrum extends its condolences to Dr. Goodenough’s family, friends, and his many colleagues, acolytes, graduate students, and admirers around the world.
IEEE Spectrum

Story from 30 May 2019 follows:

Is there such a thing as a battery whose capacity to store energy increases with age? One respected team of researchers say they have developed just such a technology. Controversy surrounds their claims, however, in part because thermodynamics might seem to demand that a battery only deteriorates over many charge-discharge cycles.

The researchers have a response for that critique and continue to publish peer-reviewed papers about this work. If such claims came from almost any other lab, they might be ignored and shunned by the broader community of battery researchers, the same way physicists turn their noses up at anything that smacks of a perpetual motion machine.

But this lab belongs to one of the most celebrated battery pioneers today—and one of the inventors of the lithium-ion battery itself. John Goodenough, who at 96 continues to research and publish like scientists one-third his age, last year joined with three co-authors in publishing a paper that grabbed headlines. (Spectrum had profiled him and his battery technology the year before, following an initial announcement about his group’s new glass battery.)

Goodenough and collaborators claimed they’d developed a non-flammable lithium battery (whose electrolyte was based on a glass powder) that had twice the energy density of traditional lithium-ion batteries. They also published a graph that showed an increase in capacity over more than 300 charge-discharge cycles. (This increase, however, pales in comparison to the cell’s at least 23,000-cycle lifespan.)....


Our 2019 post on the glass battery (note similarity in headlines. here at Climateer Investing we recycle!):

As the President of his University said:

“John’s legacy as a brilliant scientist is immeasurable —
his discoveries improved the lives of billions of people around the world,”