Chemistry Nobel: Awarded To Scientists for developing lithium-ion batteries
“The 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry will be awarded to John D Goodenough, M. Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino for the development of lithium-ion batteries,” the Nobel Committee said on Wednesday.
Lithium-ion batteries have revolutionised our lives and are used in everything from mobile phones to laptops and electric vehicles. Through their work, this year’s Chemistry Laureates have laid the foundation of a wireless, fossil fuel-free society, the Nobel Committee said in a statement.
In the early 1970s, Dr. Whittingham, awarded this year’s Chemistry Prize, used lithium’s enormous drive to release its outer electron when he developed the first functional lithium battery. Dr. Goodenough doubled the lithium battery’s potential, creating the right conditions for a vastly more powerful and useful battery.
Dr. Yoshino succeeded in eliminating pure lithium from the battery, instead basing it wholly on lithium ions, which are safer than pure lithium. This made the battery workable in practice.
The result was a lightweight, hardwearing battery that could be charged hundreds of times before its performance deteriorated. The advantage of lithium-ion batteries is that they are not based upon chemical reactions that break down the electrodes, but upon lithium ions flowing back and forth between the anode and cathode.
Lithium-ion batteries have revolutionised our lives since they first entered the market in 1991. Today, lithium batteries are used everywhere from mobile phones to electric vehicles, and also to store significant amounts of energy from solar and wind power, making possible a fossil fuel-free society.