17 February

Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2019 to the development of Li-ion batteries: from intercalation chemistry to a rechargeable world

Monday 17 February 2020, 12:00pm

Sala d'Actes Carles Miravitlles ICMAB, Campus UAB

ICMAB Seminar

By M. Rosa Palacín, ICMAB-CSIC Research Professor

Abstract: The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2019 was awarded jointly to John B. Goodenough, M. Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino for the development of lithium-ion batteries.

This technology is rooted in the study of intercalation chemistry in inorganic materials developed in the 70’s. The potential in electrochemical energy storage was soon harnessed and cell demonstrators were assembled by Stan Whittingham using TiS2 cathodes and lithium metal anodes. Later on, John Goodenough understood that oxides would enable higher voltages than sulfides and suggested the use of LiCoO2 instead, which is still employed in commercial batteries today. Finally, the picture would not be complete if the potential of carbonaceous anodes in organic liquid electrolytes had not been realized by Akira Yoshino.

Li-ion batteries powered the revolution in portable electronics and are paving the way to the advent of electrified transportation and large-scale storage to balance renewable sources contribution to the grid, in words of the Nobel Committee “they have created a rechargeable world”.

The battery research community involves today thousands of researchers all around the world, including chemists, physicists, materials scientists and engineers cooperating to push this technology forward to increase performance and sustainability and also unravel new battery chemistries beyond Li-ion.