A new glass battery developed by John Goodenough, one of the winners of the 2019 Nobel Prize for the invention of the lithium-ion battery, is moving into the commercialization stage of development with Canadian electric utility Hydro-Quebec.
The new glass battery was developed by Goodenough – who is 97 years old and still an active professor at the University of Texas – and Maria Helena Braga, professor of engineering at the University of Porto in Portugal. (The photograph above shows Prof. Goodenough receiving the National Medal of Science from fellow Nobel Laureate Barack Obama. Photo credit: University of Texas).
Professor Goodenough told the IEEE Spectrum (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) that “the lithium- or sodium-glass battery has three times the energy storage capacity of a comparable lithium-ion battery.” The paper he and his team published about the technology in 2018 claims “a charge/discharge cycle life of over 23,000 cycles” and Professor Braga has said it charges in “minutes rather than hours”. (For comparison, the claim for the million-mile Tesla battery making a lot of news is that it can go through 4,000 cycles while retaining 90% of its efficiency.)
Glass battery has solid-state electrolyte
The battery’s electrolyte – the material that enables electrical charge to flow between the positive and negative electrodes – is a glass doped with metals. Because it is solid it holds the promise of having higher energy density – storing more electricity in less weight.
Solid-state batteries are seen as the next big breakthrough in battery technology not only because of the lower weight/higher energy density but also because of the low risk of fire or explosion.