Innovation

From phones to Tesla cars, lithium-ion batteries come of age

Since Lithium is the lightest metal, using lithium ions made batteries lighter.

New Delhi: Be it smartphones, notebooks or electric cars, lithium-ion batteries have revolutionized our world, laying the foundation for a wireless, fossil fuel-free society, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said on Wednesday while awarding the 2019 Nobel prize in Chemistry to John Goodenough, Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino.

The Li-ion technology is currently the best performing technology for energy storage based on batteries. Li-ion batteries are used in small electronics (smartphones, laptops etc) and are also the best options for electric cars.

In the 1970s as the world stared at oil crisis, Whittingham from Binghamton University in the US, American professor and solid-state physicist Goodenough (currently at the University of Texas at Austin) and Japanese chemist Yoshino advanced the development in the field through the 1980s.

Since Lithium is the lightest metal, using lithium ions made batteries lighter.

Today, the race is on among the stakeholders to find a battery that can let users enjoy time on their devices without worrying about the charge.

Researchers from the University of Alberta recently developed a new battery technology that could provide 10 times more charge capacity compared to the lithium-ion power packs.

Going forward, smartphones will sport graphene batteries that charge swiftly, and will mark a quantum leap from the fast charging technologies and the current default of lithium-ion batteries.

When it comes to electric cars, Elon Musk-run Tesla has achieved great deal of efficacy in this field and is now aiming to create a lithium-ion battery that can run a car or an electric truck for over 16 lakh kms.

For more than a decade, Tesla engineers have been obsessed with making the world’s most efficient electric vehicles.

As a result, Tesla vehicles already travel farther on a single charge than any other production EV on the market.

Tesla’s choice of cylindrical cells sets it apart from other EV players. The company also uses a liquid-cooled thermal management system to manage battery temperatures whereas other automakers take a more economical air-cooling approach.

By adjusting the temperature of the battery pack, Tesla is able to ensure that cells are operating in their most efficient and optimal states, thereby maximizing battery longevity as well as performance.

It has been argued that lithium will be one of the main objects of geopolitical competition in a world running on renewable energy and dependent on batteries.

Research has also been under way in the area of non-flammable electrolytes as a pathway to increased safety based on the flammability and volatility of the organic solvents used in the typical electrolyte.

–IANS

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