Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2019 to the development of Li-ion batteries: from intercalation chemistry to a rechargeable world
by M. Rosa Palacín, ICMAB-CSIC Research Professor
Monday, 17 February 2020 @ 12 pm
ICMAB - Sala d'Actes Carles Miravitlles
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.
Prof. M. Rosa Palacín is an expert in battery materials research, involving both fundamental studies on synthesis-structure-property relationships and also more technological aspects. Her activity has covered both commercial technologies such as nickel and lithium based and also innovative chemistries such as sodium or multivalent systems.