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THE HISTORY OF LITHIUM BATTERIES

  • Nov 4, 2020
  • 2540 views
Source: 
Nigerian Tribune

Lithium-ion batteries were created in 1970, when there was an oil crisis. They had to make a rechargeable battery that would replace oil. A team of scientists started working but they were not aware that they would make a lithium-ion battery. Stanley Whittingham, who then worked for Exxon mobile, started working on a battery that would charge quickly. He made a battery, but in the first test, there was a fire because he made a battery using lithium and titanium. A short circuit occurred and a fire broke out. After a failed attempt to make the battery safe to use, he gave up the experiment.

John B. Goodenough

Stanley Whittingham's work was continued in 1980 by John B. Goodenough, an engineer at the University of Texas at Austin. Instead of lithium and titanium, he made a combination of lithium cobalt oxide and, surprisingly, doubled the battery power and capacity while making it safer to use.

Akira Yoshino

After a few years, another engineer and scientist decided to try to improve and upgrade the lithium battery. His name is Akira Yoshino and he then worked at Meijo University in Nagoya, Japan. Instead of lithium as an anode, he used petroleum coke and made a battery that is even safer and has even more capacity. It was actually the first prototype of a lithium-ion battery.

Electron Microscopy And Spectrometry

Were it not for these three discoveries, we wouldn't have lithium-ion batteries as they currently are. These batteries power our precious mobile phones, kitchen and home wireless devices, power tools, laptops, electric vehicles such as scooters, bicycles, motorcycles and cars.

Fortunately, research and development of the lithium-ion battery didn't stop. It was necessary to make such a battery even safer to use and increase its energy capacity.

Thanks to electron microscopy and spectrometry, the scientists were able to create 2D and 3D images with which they could study the battery that was made so far and improve it in terms of quality, capacity, safety and even work in all weather conditions. Scientists from UC San Diego added silicone to the anode battery to keep the battery running at low and high temperatures, primarily for use in electric cars.

Nobel Prize

Three scientists: Stanley Whittingham, John B. Goodenough and Akira Yoshino, were nominated in 2019 for the Nobel Prize. Were it not for them, we wouldn't have lithium-ion batteries in almost all devices and appliances. Of course, there were many other scientists who worked on lithium-ion batteries, but these three scientists contributed to the creation of the lithium-ion battery the most.

Lithium-ion batteries are still being improved today to keep pace with advances in technology but also to preserve the environment.

Lithium-Ion Batteries Today

We have 5 types of lithium-ion batteries and 4 shapes. The types are Lithium-Cobalt Oxide batteries (used for mobile phones, cameras and laptops), Lithium-Thitanate batteries (used for electric cars, bikes, scooters, motors), Lithium-Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide batteries (used for electric cars, bikes, scooters, motors, but for electric trains as well), Lithium-Manganese Oxide batteries (mostly used in hybrid cars) and Lithium-Iron Phosphate batteries (used for power tools, household appliances and medical equipment). Each battery has its application because it differs not only in the materials from which they are made but also from the capacity of the battery itself.

The forms of lithium-ion batteries that we currently have are small cylindrical, large cylindrical, pouch (flat) and prismatic. Flat batteries are the most widely used and are found in mobile phones, tablets and laptops.

Lithium-ion batteries have many advantages, but limitations as well, so we can safely say that big breakthroughs are coming our way in the near future regarding new battery technology.

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