Cutting Edge News in Battery Technology

posted by Jack

Breakthrough-  “Quantum Glass Battery”

“Holy Grail” … “Jesus Battery” … what the heck is Matt McCall talking about when he says “Folks who get in on this breakthrough now, BEFORE it’s rolled out on mass scale, will have the chance to be a part of the single-largest legal creation of wealth of the last 25 years…”    Travis Johnson, Stock Gumshoe Online Magazine

If you haven’t heard about this solid state battery before, you’re in luck, this information could make you a fortune when the stock becomes available.   Jack

The following article is from ieee Spectrum, a professional magazine for electrical engineers:

Electric car purchases have been on the rise lately, posting an estimated 60 percent growth rate last year. They’re poised for rapid adoption by 2022, when EVs are projected to cost the same as internal combustion cars. However, these estimates all presume the incumbent lithium-ion battery remains the go-to EV power source. So, when researchers this week at the University of Texas at Austin unveiled a new, promising lithium- or sodium-glass battery technology, it threatened to accelerate even rosy projections for battery-powered cars.

“I think we have the possibility of doing what we’ve been trying to do for the last 20 years,” says John Goodenough, coinventor of the now ubiquitous lithium-ion battery and emeritus professor at the Cockrell School of Engineering at the University of Texas, Austin. “That is, to get an electric car that will be competitive in cost and convenience with the internal combustion engine.” Goodenough added that this new battery technology could also store intermittent solar and wind power on the electric grid.

Yet, the world has seen alleged game-changing battery breakthroughs come to naught before. In 2014, for instance, Japanese researchers offered up a cotton-based (!) new battery design that was touted as “energy dense, reliable, safe, and sustainable.” And if the cotton battery is still going to change the world, its promoters could certainly use a new wave of press and media releases, as an Internet search on their technology today produces links that are no more current than 2014-2015 vintage.

“As Wired magazine says, “This is the battery breakthrough that could change everything.”

So, on whose authority might one claim a glass battery could be any different?

For starters, Donald Sadoway’s.  Sadoway, a preeminent battery researcher and MIT materials science and engineering professor, says, “When John Goodenough makes an announcement, I pay attention. He’s tops in the field and really a fantastic scientist. So, his pronouncements are worth listening to.”

Goodenough himself says that when he first coinvented the lithium-ion battery in the 1980s, almost no one in the battery or consumer electronics industries took the innovation seriously. It was only Japanese labs and companies like Sony that first began to explore the world we all today inhabit—with lithium-ions powering nearly every portable device in the marketplace, as well as electric vehicles and even next-generation airliners.

In other words, who better than Goodenough to cocreate the technology that could one day supplant his mighty lithium-ion battery?

The new battery technology uses a form of glass, doped with reactive “alkali” metals like lithium or sodium, as the battery’s electrolyte (the medium between cathode and electrode that ions travel across when the battery charges and discharges). As outlined in a research paper and recent patent filing (of which Goodenough, 94, says more are forthcoming), the lithium- or sodium-doped glass electrolyte offers a new medium for novel battery chemistry and physics.

They find, for instance, that the lithium- or sodium-glass battery has three times the energy storage capacity of a comparable lithium-ion battery. But its electrolyte is neither flammable nor volatile, and it doesn’t appear to build up the spiky “dendrites” that have plagued lithium-ions as they charge and discharge repeatedly and can ultimately short out, causing battery fires. So, if the glass batteries can be scaled up commercially, which remains uncertain in this still-proof-of-concept-phase research, the frightening phenomenon of flaming or exploding laptops, smartphones, or EVs could be a thing of the past.

Moreover, says lithium-glass battery codeveloper Maria Helena Braga, a visiting research fellow at UT Austin and engineering professor at the University of Porto in Portugal, the glass battery charges in “minutes rather than hours.” This, she says, is because the lithium- or sodium-doped glass endows the battery with a far greater capacity to store energy in the electric field. So, the battery can, in this sense, behave a little more like a lightning-fast supercapacitor. (In technical terms, the battery’s glass electrolyte endows it with a higher so-called dielectric constant than the volatile organic liquid electrolyte in a lithium-ion battery.)

Moreover, Braga says, early tests of their technology suggest it’s also capable of perhaps thousands of charge-discharge cycles, and could perform well in both extremely cold and hot weather. (Initial estimates place its operating range between below -20º C and 60º C.) And if they can switch the battery’s ionic messenger atom from lithium to sodium, the researchers could even source the batteries more reliably and sustainably. Rather than turning to controversial mining operations in a few South American countries for lithium, they’d be able to source sodium in essentially limitless supply from the world’s seawater.

Sadoway says he’s eager to learn more about the technology as it continues to be developed. In particular, he’s paying attention not so much to how quickly the battery charges but how well it can retain its energy. “The issue is not can you do something at a high charge rate,” he says. “My big question is about capacity fade and service lifetime.”

But, Sadoway adds, perhaps the chief innovation behind Goodenough and Braga’s technology is the possibility that they’ve solved the flaming and exploding battery problem.

“Addressing the [battery] safety issue is, I think, a giant step forward,” he says. “People have been talking about solid-state electrolytes for 20 years. But I can’t point to a commercial product yet…. If he can give us an electrolyte that is devoid of these flammable, organic solvents, that’s salutary in my opinion.”

Elon Musk has hinted that Tesla may be the first recipient of a solid state, glass battery. This makes sense because Tesla’s future depends on break-thru battery technology.  Here’s what Musk had to say to about it, “There are some breakthroughs that I think are achievable. They’re confidential, so I can’t talk about them on this call, but there’s one particular avenue that I am confident could be made to work that would be the most significant breakthrough in a while. But again, you’ve got to make it work in the lab. It doesn’t yet work in the lab now, but it’s promising in the lab.”

If Goodenough, Braga, and collaborators can ramp up their technology, there would clearly be plenty of upsides. Goodenough says the team’s anode and electrolyte are more or less ready for prime time. But they’re still figuring out if and how they can make a cathode that will bring the promise of their technology to the commercial marketplace.

“The next step is to verify that the cathode problem is solved,” Goodenough says. “And when we do [that] we can scale up to large-scale cells. So far, we’ve made jelly-roll cells, and it looks like they’re working fairly well. So I’m fairly optimistic we’ll get there. But the development is going to be with the battery manufacturers.

I don’t want to do development. I don’t want to be going into business. I’m 94. I don’t need the money.”  Goodenough means it too.  He gave away the profits from his last development, the random access memory for computers, otherwise known as RAM.


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11 Responses to Cutting Edge News in Battery Technology

  1. cherokee jack says:

    A card-carrying, paranoid conspiracy theorist would say that if this battery is the real thing, it can never be produced. Big Oil will find a way to detour it into oblivion.
    Not me. My mental health and rational thought are as robust as before the leaded well-water incident. I’m quite confident our elected representatives would see that this battery would get into full production the second it’s ready. In spite of any enticements or pressure from Big Oil.

    • Post Scripts says:

      CJ, this would spell the doom of big oil and that could mean whole host of economic problems and a sudden shift in wealth. It’s mind boggling to even think about all the issues that could happen should this battery be as advertised.

      IF… and I am capitalizing that… IF this battery gets into manufacture it will be everything we’ve ever dreamed of and a nightmare to the oil industry. Cheap, long lasting, clean and abundant energy. No exotic metals, no toxic waste, just low cost sodium, no combustion or explosion problems, super fast charge rate, greatly extended range of electric cars, it scares me to think, this sounds too good to be true. My cynical side says there must be a catch somewhere. Tesla is remaining extremely quiet about their lab results and rightly so, their stock would go through the roof overnight once the news got out.

  2. Pie Guevara says:

    As a side note…

    So many people believe that electric battery powered vehicles are some sort of panacea for energy costs and “green” issues like atmospheric carbon reduction and a general reduction of pollution.

    Few people ever ask where is the true energy/green advantage using electric automobiles. They just assume there is some sort of a magical advantage.

    Leaving solar panels out of mix for the moment and assuming that most electric cars are going to be charged through the existing electric power grid simply ask…

    Where does the electricity to charge exotic heavy metal storage batteries come from and what is the energy cost to deliver it?

    Well, it will come from a power plant and then be distributed through a lossy power distribution system to vehicle charge points that add a further loss converting AC to DC.

    So, if the electricity comes from fossil fuel plants ask yourself — Which is more energy efficient and green clean? Supplying electricity by burning fuel at a remote power plant to charge batteries or delivering fuel directly to and burning it in an internal combustion engine vehicle?

    What is the comparative energy/green trail? Is there an advantage to mining, refining, delivering fossil fuels to be burned at a remote electric power plant in order to deliver electricity at a further energy loss in transmission to charge batteries at yet more of an energy loss over delivering the fuel directly to an internal combustion engine to be consumed?

    Think about it. Engineering types, do a few rough calculations.

    Then think about disposal of the millions or billions of automobile batteries and the heavy metals and other materials they are made of when they come to a natural end of life and no longer hold a charge.

  3. Joe says:

    They’re poised for rapid adoption by 2022, when EVs are projected to cost the same as internal combustion cars.

    Not trying to be rude but that’s ridiculous.

    Where’s all the electricity going to come from and how’s it going to get to all those vehicles?

    Plus there’s no way our existing grid could handle that load and just think of the millions of charging stations that would be needed.

    There’s no way the infrastructure will be upgraded and built out by 2022 for rapid adaption. In reality it will be at least a couple of decades before the majority of vehicles on the road are EC.

  4. Joe says:

    This story reminds me of a show on Fox decades ago called “Beyond Tomorrow.” They had all sorts of whiz bang technologies built into wonderful products and even showed working prototypes that appeared to verify their claims. I can’t recall a single product that panned out.

  5. Joe says:

    So far, we’ve made jelly-roll cells, and it looks like they’re working fairly well.

    Well, if it doesn’t work out at least we can have pastries…I can just here AOC and Pocahontas now, “Let them eat jelly-roll cells.”

  6. RHT447 says:

    Off topic, but need to share.

    “The California DMV Is Making $50M a Year Selling Drivers’ Personal Information”

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