John B. Goodenough, an emeritus professor at the Cockrell School of Engineering at the University of Texas, Austin, pioneered the lithium-ion battery technology that is now the industry standard, and now the 94-year-old is ready to push the envelope on battery innovation again. Goodenough along with senior research fellow Maria Helena Braga, lead a team of researchers who have developed a low-cost all-solid-state battery that is safer and more efficient than existing lithium-ion technology.
The new battery uses a sodium- or lithium-coated glass electrolyte that has triple the storage capacity of a lithium ion battery. It also charges in minutes instead of hours and operates in both frigid and hot weather (from -20 to 60 degrees centigrade). Early tests suggest the battery is capable of at least 1,200 charge-discharge cycles, significantly more charging cycles than a comparable lithium-ion battery, and best of all, the glass-based electrolyte will not form the dendrites that plague lithium-ion battery technology. The dendrites accumulate as part of the standard charging and recharging cycle and eventually cause a short circuit that often results in a smoldering or burning battery.