The Future Of Lithium Batteries, According To Their Co-Inventor

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Nearly all your devices run on lithium batteries. They have revolutionised the way we use, manufacture and charge our devices. Here's a Nobel Prizewinner on his part in their invention – and their future.

British-born scientist M. Stanley Whittingham, of Binghamton University, was one of three scientists who won the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their work developing lithium-ion batteries.

Maybe you know exactly what a lithium-ion battery is but even if you don’t, chances are you’re carrying one right now. They’re the batteries used to power mobile phones, laptops and even electric cars.

When it comes to energy storage, they’re vastly more powerful than conventional batteries and you can recharge them many more times.

Their widespread use is driving global demand for the metal lithium – demand that Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese this week said Australia should do more to meet.

The University of Queensland’s Mark Blaskovich, who trained in chemistry and penned this article about Whittingham’s selection for the chemistry Nobel Prize, sat down with the award-winner this week.

They discussed what the future of battery science may hold and how we might address some of the environmental and fire risks around lithium-ion batteries.

He began by asking M. Stanley Whittingham how lithium batteries differ from conventional, lead-acid batteries, like the kind you might find in your car.

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Additional credits

Recording and production assistance by Thea Blaskovich

Kindergarten by Unkle Ho, from Elefant Traks.

Announcement of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2019

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Sunanda Creagh, Head of Digital Storytelling, The Conversation

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.


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