Lithium-ion pioneers win Nobel Prize
The trio is credited with creating "a rechargeable world."
The 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded to three scientists for the development of lithium-ion batteries.
The trio includes John B Goodenough of The University of Texas at Austin, M Stanley Whittingham of Binghamton University, State University of New York, and Akira Yoshino of the Asahi Kasei Corporation and Meijo University in Japan.
Whittingham is credited with laying the foundation for the technology during the oil crisis in the 1970s. His research into superconductors led to the discovery of an innovative cathode in a lithium-ion battery, though the first battery was "too explosive to be viable."
Goodenough made a critical breakthrough in the following years after predicting that the cathode would have greater potential from a metal oxide, pairing cobalt oxide with lithium ions to achieve higher voltages necessary for more powerful batteries.
Finally, in 1985, Akira Yoshino took Goodenough's lab-developed cathode and created the first commercially viable lithium-ion battery. The technology has been vital in powering electronics without degrading after a short number of charge cycles.
"Lithium-ion batteries have revolutionized our lives since they first entered the market in 1991," the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences wrote. "They have laid the foundation of a wireless, fossil fuel-free society, and are of the greatest benefit to humankind."
Many other scientists are pursuing additional battery 'breakthroughs' that have struggled to transition from lab developments to mass production. Energy density remains a crux, as batteries are still too heavy to compete with fossil fuels in particularly weight-sensitive applications such as long-range aircraft propulsion.