Three scientists who invented and revolutionized the Lithium ion battery have won the 2019 Nobel Prize for Chemistry.
Stanley Whittingham, John B Goodenough, and Akira Yoshino will all share the prize equally. Whittingham developed the first functional Li-ion battery in the early 70s; Goodenough doubled its potential; Yoshino eliminated the use of pure lithium from the battery, thereby making it much safer for use.
“This rechargeable battery laid the foundation of wireless electronics such as mobile phones and laptops… It also makes a fossil fuel-free world possible, as it is used for everything from powering electric cars to storing energy from renewable sources,” says the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in a media statement.
There’s no doubt that Lithium-ion batteries are a potential game-changer for the renewable energy industry – they’re convenient to both carry around and use; lithium has a high energy density, which means that it can be used in devices with higher power capacities; and they’re low on maintenance, unlike nickel-cadmium cells, which require discharge to prevent memory effect.
Of course, they have their own setbacks as well, being more expensive than nickel-cadmium cells; they require protection against high temperatures and overcharging; can suffer from ageing; and there is the danger of it exploding due to high temperatures during transport.
But India’s main problem is that we don’t have very much lithium at all.