A rapid-charging and non-flammable battery developed in part by 2019 Nobel Prize winner John Goodenough has been licensed for development by the Canadian electric utility Hydro-Quebec. The utility says it hopes to have the technology ready for one or more commercial partners in two years. Hydro-Quebec, according to Karim Zaghib, general director of the utility’s Center of Excellence in Transportation Electrification and Energy Storage, has been commercializing patents with Goodenough’s parent institution, the University of Texas at Austin, for the past 25 years.
As Spectrum reported in 2017, Goodenough and Maria Helena Braga, professor of engineering at the University of Porto in Portugal, developed a solid-state lithium rechargeable that used a glass doped with alkali metals as the battery’s electrolyte. (The electrolyte is the material between cathode and anode and is often a liquid in today’s batteries, which typically means it’s also flammable and potentially vulnerable to battery fires.) Braga said her and Goodenough’s battery is high capacity, charges in “minutes rather than hours,” performs well in both hot and cold weather, and that its solid-state electrolyte is not flammable. Hydro-Quebec’s Gen 3 battery “can be glass or ceramic, but it is not a [lithium] polymer,” Zaghib said of the Goodenough/Braga battery’s electrolyte. “So with Daimler (which is also working with Hydro-Quebec to develop a second-gen lithium solid-state battery), it’s an organic compound, and with John Goodenough, it’s an inorganic compound. The inorganic compound has higher ionic conductivity compared to the polymer.”
“That means the ions shuttle back and forth more readily between cathode and anode, which could potentially improve a battery’s capacity, charging speed, or other performance metrics,” adds IEEE Spectrum.
We interviewed John B. Goodenough soon after his solid-state battery was announced. You can read his responses to your questions here.