In his recent article in EES, John B. Goodenough gives his views on the challenges, limitations and future prospects of Li-ion battery technology – and how such technology can be used to promote a sustainable modern society.
Li-ion batteries have helped shape modern society by facilitating the wireless revolution; powering mobile phones, laptops and tablet-computers, as well as other portable electronic devices.
Advanced batteries are also helping facilitate the on-going green revolution, with technologies such as plug-in electric vehicles and grid-scale renewable energy storage heavily dependent on the performance of electrochemical energy storage systems.
In this interesting and informative article, John B. Goodenough gives a critical assessment of the current limitations of Li-ion technology, and highlights some developing strategies which may overcome these limitations.
He emphasises that, relative to current battery systems, improvements in terms of energy- and power-density, manufacturing cost, safety, and charging-time must be made before emerging green technologies, such as plug-in electric vehicles, can really take off.
He notes that significant improvements could be made in a number of key areas of Li-ion technology, including: (1) the development of alternative liquid electrolytes, with greater electrochemical stability windows; (2) replacing the liquid electrolyte altogether, with a stable, Li-ion conducting, solid-oxide material; (3) employing nanotechnology and conductive mesoporous structures to enhance the performance of the cathode; and (4) replacing the graphite anode with high capacity Li-alloy forming materials, such as silicon, encapsulated within conductive carbon or polymer matrixes.
The article ends by postulating the prospect of electrochemical energy storage systems beyond established Li-ion technology, discussing the merits and shortcomings of novel approaches such as the Li-Sulfur and Li-Air batteries, as well as solid oxide fuel cells. But will such advancements be Good-enough to overcome the challenges of a sustainable modern society? The question remains open.
By Aled Roberts
You can read the Opinion Article in EES by clicking on the link below:
Electrochemical energy storage in a sustainable modern society
John B. Goodenough
DOI: 10.1039/C3EE42613K, Opinion