When Professor Akira Yoshino was developing a new battery technology in his laboratory in the early 1980s, he didn’t think it would amount to much.
“At the time, we thought it mainly would be used in 8mm video cameras,” he laughs.
He was well off the mark. These days you are never more than a few feet away from a lithium-ion battery, as they power mobile phones and all sorts of other electronics, from toothbrushes to electric scooters.
In recognition of that success, Prof Yoshino was awarded the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
But despite improvements, even the most advanced lithium-ion batteries can only store a fraction of the energy of a similar weight of petrol or jet fuel.
And that is curbing ambitions for even smaller and lighter devices – and more ambitious projects like electric powered aviation.
Batteries need to make progress, admits Prof Yoshino, but thankfully, “there’s a lot of interesting approaches”.
And “the solid state battery, I think, is a promising one,” he says.
Solid state batteries can store 50% more energy than lithium-ion, says Douglas Campbell, chief executive of Solid Power, a Colorado university spin-off…Read More