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Nobel Prize in chemistry for Li-ion batteries

Nobel Prize in chemistry for Li-ion batteries

The Nobel Prize in chemistry 2019 reminds us of the importance of research in the field of batteries.

On October 9, the names of the 2019 co-laureates of the Nobel Prize in chemistry were unveiled. This year, the jury members have decided to recognize M. Stanley Whittingham, John B. Goodenough and Akira Yoshino for their pioneering works in the field of lithium-ion batteries.

Those light-weight, rechargeable and powerful batteries have already changed our way of living and will play a bigger role in the future with the development of electric mobility and stationary storage of renewable energies.

The history of research on Li-ion batteries began in the 70s because of the oil crisis. M. Stanley Whittingham works on developing fossil-fuel free energy technologies. He devises a first cathode, based on titanium disulfide, capable of intercalating lithium ions in the batteries. This phenomenon still allows the operation of our current Li-ion batteries.

Then, John B. Goodenough proposes to replace titanium disulfide by a new metallic oxide, the cobalt oxide. His works leads to batteries able to deliver a voltage of 4 volts. M. Stanley Whittingham‘s technology was limited to 2 volts.

Using those precedent researches, Akira Yoshino creates in 1985 the first commercially viable lithium-ion battery. He replaces the reactive lithium in the anode by carbon able to intercalate lithium ions.

This prestigious award, the Nobel, highlights the importance of research in the field of batteries while France and the European Union try to develop a new performing production chain.

The official press release is available here.