The Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to a trio of pioneers of the lithium battery
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to a trio of pioneers of the modern lithium ion battery, which is revolutionizing everything from mobile phones to the future of the global car industry.
The prize went to M. Stanley Whittingham (77 year old), a British-American professor at the State University of New York at Binghamton; Japan’s Akira Yoshino (71), of Asahi Kasei Corporation and Meijo University; and German-born John Goodenough (97), professor at the University of Texas.
«Such batteries have revolutionized our lives since they first entered the market in 1991. They have laid the foundation of a wireless, fossil fuel-free society, and are of the greatest benefit to humankind» the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said.
This lightweight, rechargeable and powerful battery is now used in everything from mobile phones to laptops and electric vehicles. It can also store significant amounts of energy from solar and wind power, making possible a fossil fuel-free society the academy said.
Whittingham, first discovered in the 1970s it was possible to shuttle lithium atoms from one electrode to another at room temperature, facilitating recharge-ability. When the battery material - lithium - proved prone to catching fire, it took the work of Goodenough to make it into a usable device. Yoshino’s research on ensuring chemical stability crowned the current lithium ion battery.
Attempting to pack energy into an ever-smaller and rechargeable carrier has continued since then to reach into more and more industries.
The transportation sector is about to enter a new era thanks to batteries that are small and powerful enough to make electric vehicles practical, helping to clean up city centers and lower overall carbon emissions.