John B. Goodenough

Despite being 94 years old, John B. Goodenough, a professor at The University of Texas at Austin who is known as the co-inventor of the lithium-ion battery, is still working hard. Together with researcher Maria Helena Braga, he developed a low-cost solid state battery that is not only safer than conventional lithium-ion batteries but also stores a lot more energy and can be charged much faster.

Apparently, the new battery has at least three times as much energy density when compared with lithium-ion batteries. It also features a faster rate of recharge, meaning that we can fully charge our smartphones or electric vehicles in minutes rather than hours. What’s more, it allows for a greater number of charging and discharging cycles, so the battery should last a lot longer.

It uses glass electrolytes instead of liquid electrolytes found in lithium-ion batteries. What this means is that the battery won’t form dendrites or “metal whiskers” if it’s charged too quickly, which are responsible for causing short circuits that can lead to explosions and fires. There are also a few other benefits, as the battery can operate at -20 degrees Celsius (-4 degrees Fahrenheit) and is made from earth-friendly materials.

Before you get too excited, please keep in mind that the battery is still in development, which means that it won’t be available anytime soon. Goodenough and his team are trying to speed up the process by looking to partner up with battery makers that might be able to help them launch the product on the market.