Cheaper, safer, and longer-lasting batteries are coming, hopefully, soon.
A team of engineers, led by 94-year-old professor in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin, is working on a new breakthrough project for solid-state batteries. The leader of the project is John Goodenough, a famous engineer and co-inventor of the lithium-ion batteries used by most of the electric vehicles these days.
According to preliminary details, the new batteries will have at least three times as much energy density as today’s lithium-ion batteries. Interestingly, the newly invented cells can be manufactured from glass and operate at a lower temperature than lithium-ion batteries.
Additionally, thanks to the alkali-metal-anode in the construction, the batteries could be charged significantly faster than the lithium-ion equivalent, without the danger of damaging dendrites forming, which can cause short circuits. Also, thanks to their high conductivity, the new batteries are able to operate well in cold weather, up to -76 degrees Fahrenheit (-60 degrees Celsius). One of the other advantages of the solid-state batteries is the longer life with more than 1,200 cycles with low cell resistance performed as a test.
“Cost, safety, energy density, rates of charge and discharge and cycle life are critical for battery-driven cars to be more widely adopted. We believe our discovery solves many of the problems that are inherent in today’s batteries,” Goodenough announced.
At this point, it’s not clear at what stage the development of the batteries are and whether they will be ready for mass production soon. Currently, Goodenough and his team are working to advance their battery-related research and to receive several patents. In the short term, the next step is a real-life test of the batteries in electric vehicles and energy storage devices.