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Goodenough perspective on Li-ion batteries; in transportation, PHEVs for the near-term, longer term requires new electrochemical strategies

Dr. John Goodenough at the University of Texas at Austin and colleague Kyu-Sung Park have written a perspective paper on Li-ion batteries (LIBs), published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. Dr. Goodenough invented lithium cobalt oxide cathode materials while at Oxford University; his technology was used in the first commercial Li-ion battery, launched by Sony in 1991. More recently, at the University of Texas, Austin, Dr. Goodenough patented a new class of iron phosphate materials. (Earlier post.)

The paper covers the basics of the electrochemistry of LIBs and the development of new materials and electrolytes in the search for higher capacities; it also addresses the challenge of energy storage in transportation applications with the target of displacing the internal combustion engine.

Achieving—or approaching—that outcome will require new strategies such as using electrode hosts with two-electron redox centers; replacing the cathode hosts by materials that undergo displacement reactions (e.g. sulfur) by liquid cathodes that may contain flow-through redox molecules, or by catalysts for air cathodes; and developing a Li+ solid electrolyte separator membrane that allows an organic and aqueous liquid electrolyte on the anode and cathode sides, respectively, the authors said. “Opportunities exist for the chemist to bring together oxide and polymer or graphene chemistry in imaginative morphologies.

...a LIB using solid rechargeable electrodes is capable of a long cycle life at acceptable rates of charge/discharge, but the energy density of individual cells, even with a 4 V cell, makes difficult the manufacture of a cost-competitive battery of sufficient energy density to displace the internal combustion engine of an automobile with long driving range between rapid and convenient liquid-fuel refills.

A first step will be plug-in hybrids [PHEVs] used for daily commuting. This interim solution would offer a distributed store of electrical energy that can spread the cost of storing off-peak power in a rechargeable battery. Stationary storage of electrical energy from alternative energy sources (wind, solar, nuclear) calls for larger capacities than can be realized with an oxide-host cathode, but the energy density requirement of a mobile battery is relaxed. However, cost is a constraint that has made difficult even replacement of lead-acid batteries with the 2 V Li[Li1/3Ti5/3]O4/LiFePO4 cell. These challenges are calling for consideration of alternative strategies for storage of electrical energy in an electrochemical cell.

...Realization of this situation has led to consideration of either multiple-electron redox couples and/or multivalent working ions such as Mg2+ in place of Li+. This shift of emphasis leads inevitably to the electrolyte, catalysts, and organic multiple-electron redox centers. We have emphasized here the potential of a Li+ electrolyte membrane separating two different liquid electrolytes, a material that will require a composite of a polymer and an inorganic Li+ electrolyte. We have not commented on efforts to introduce 3D current collectors that enable thicker electrodes and flow-through liquid cathodes, an effort that has particular relevance for electrochemical capacitors of higher energy density. We have also not commented on efforts to develop a Na-ion battery to eliminate vulnerability to sources of lithium and to lower material costs. This effort is more challenging because the larger Na+ ion is adequately mobile only in framework oxides with a larger interstitial volume than is available in a close-packed oxide-ion array.

—Goodenough and Park


  • John B. Goodenough and Kyu-Sung Park (2013) The Li-Ion Rechargeable Battery: A Perspective. Journal of the American Chemical Society doi: 10.1021/ja3091438



"A first step will be plug-in hybrids [PHEVs] used for daily commuting."

PHEVs are key. Making the first 20-40 miles of every trip gas-free eliminates most gasoline use(and saves the price of a few McDs value meal selections).

“Considering all factors (price, reliability, comfort, enjoyment, etc.), would you get this car if you had it to do all over again?”

A resounding 93 percent of Volt owners said “definitely yes..”

IF Volt follows the full 18% Leaf price reduction(to $28,800), the new Volt MSRP would be $32,796.

With $7,500 tax credit, Leaf: $21,300 Volt: $25,296

The above prices are ~$5,000 to 9,000 LESS than the average new car sold($30,800) in the US.

The PHEVs(include the $29,995 after a federal tax credit C-Max Energi) also have the longevity of two power trains.


Dr Goodenough certainly knows a lot more about batteries and the research required to replace ICEs than we do. Improved lower cost HEVs and PHEVs are and will be the preferred interim solutions, at least until 2018/2022 or whenever super-caps, batteries and or FCs become more competitive.

Post 2020 will see a progressive accelerated switch towards electrified vehicles of all size and shape. Probably BEVs for cars and FCs for larger vehicles (long range trucks, buses etc).

A progressive but more aggressive malus-bonus international program could help to accelerate the transition.


we should pay these scientists 5$/hour to play playstation games alone at home, so we can save billions of dollars in taxes each years. These breaktrhrus come from out of space and not from earth and nobody want cheap energy on earth because they sleep deeply with slow music inside them.


"A D"...also know as "gorr" to those of us who have seen your posts for years,

Sigh. You've been doing so well for many months. You've even asked some legitimate questions. And now this?

Seriously, I've joked before about it but I was kidding. Now that I see the complete difference in your postings over time I think you really must be on meds and need to adjust them again because you're regressing terribly.


A D may not even be a single person.  It might be a sock-puppet ID used to manipulate public opinion, with different people posting under it at different times.

There's proof that sock-puppetry is in active use in this thread at FuturePundit.


I hope they can resolve at least the battery problems of the boeing 787 at least then.


I think AD are two different people. Back on topic, Tesla has unlimited mileage on their leases, they would make good carpool commuter cars.


"A D may not even be a single person. "

There could not be two of them - the universe is not big enough.

"It might be a sock-puppet ID used to manipulate public opinion."

There are no sock-puppets that inept.


"The above prices [alleged for the Volt] are ~$5,000 to 9,000 LESS than the average new car sold($30,800) in the US."

Yes, but the Volt has less room inside than 99% of the new cars sold in the US.


"A resounding 93 percent of Volt owners said 'definitely yes'..”

Get a grip.
Would you pole Hummer owners and take their word as gospel?


@TT, the Volt is a subcompact by "room inside"(passenger volume), as is the Focus:

Polling owners of a three years unproduced GM vehicle is more your gospel.

"Get a grip"


In a 2007 article on cathode materials John wrote the following in the first paragraph.

"About 35 years ago, the price of oil jumped from $8 per barrel to $32 per barrel. This first energy crisis alerted everyone to the need for energy conservation and alternative energy technologies. However, the development of cost-competitive alternative technologies proved to be difficult, so the oil and automotive cartels were able soon to lull the politicians into complacency. Nevertheless, the scientific community was alerted, and with
limited funding slow but steady progress has been made on several fronts."

Unfortunately not much has changed. Our politicians are still complacent. We saved the auto cartel from failure and oil profits are at an all time high. When your big and you have money you can buy washingtons help. The rest of us, not so much. Sure, they say they work for us, they pretend like they want to change things, but then they always make sure nothing works. For instance, this administration pretended like it supported the battery industry, yet after some minor struggles, as one would expect from a burgeoning industry they now threaten their own projects with failure because the GOPers are concerned. The one thing the GOP has always had correct about the democrats is when they describe them as weak, because weak is what they are.


By the way, the Leaf is now less than $25K after rebate, the smart EV is $25K and you still get the rebate, and CODA has lowered their price to $25K. $25K is the break even point for some EV owners. Now, for the correct commuter you no longer have to even invoke the the environmental issues as a reason for buying an EV. You can now do it simply because your cheap, like me. The Leaf for my commute will cost me less to own and operate overall than an equivolent 4 cylinder 5 speed compact car (which is what I have driven for decades). All that environmental stuff, and all that I hate oil companies stuff, and all that I hate terrorist nations stuff (and Rush and his bosses), that's just extra. Yeah, us cheap people are going to save the nation!


B4...there are many more reasons why pollution from coal NG/SG fired power plants, ICEVs (and many other sources) and ill effects from junk food, drugs, pesticides, and many other modern profit making industrial products should be duly considered and better managed. The total negative effects on our DNA and reproductive elements (sperm counts and quality) are progressively making humans less adapted (intelligent) and less capable of reproducing healthy specifies. (ref: 'Cell' Journal article).

Many people claim that the on-going DNA and brain progressive degeneration may be one of the reason for the increased popularity of right wing and extreme right wing political parties.

In other words, have we produced 10,001 industrial products that will eventually have so many negative effects (on our DNA, immune system, environment etc) that we may no longer have the ability to notice the difference nor to react properly?


Don't get too excited by the CODA price drop, it's a going out of business sale.

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