Nobel Prize in Chemistry jointly awarded for work on lithium-ion batteries

John B. Goodenough, M. Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino have jointly won the 2019 award as recognition for their vital roles in developing the technology

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The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2019 has been jointly awarded to three scientists for their work on lithium-ion batteries.

John B. Goodenough, M. Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino have jointly won the award as recognition for their vital roles in developing the technology, which the organisation said has opened the door to lightweight, rechargeable and powerful energy storage solutions.

It also highlighted batteries’ fundamental role in the development and use of modern technologies such as mobile phones, laptops and electric vehicles, in addition to their potential to help humankind reach a fossil fuel-free society through storing significant amounts of energy from solar and wind power.

Stanley Whittingham initially discovered an extremely energy-rich material called titanium disulphide, which he used to create an innovative cathode in a lithium battery – following this, John Goodenough demonstrated the cathode would have even greater potential if it was made using a metal oxide instead of a metal sulphide, which helped lead to the development of more powerful batteries.

Using their work as a basis, Akira Yoshino ultimately created the first commercially-viable lithium-ion battery in 1985.

The Nobel Prize organisation said: “Lithium-ion batteries have revolutionised 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.”

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