Stockholm: Three scientists have been awarded the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the development of lithium-ion batteries, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced on Wednesday.
The prestigious award will be shared by John B. Goodenough of the University of Texas at Austin, M. Stanley Whittingham of Binghamton University and Akira Yoshino of Meijo University. The recipients will get equal shares of the 9 million Swedish kronor cash award.
According to a press release here, the three scientists “created a rechargeable world”.
“This lightweight, rechargeable and powerful battery is now used in everything from mobile phones to laptops and electric vehicles,” said the press release.
According to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Whittingham, born in the UK in 1941, worked on developing methods that could lead to fossil fuel-free energy technologies.
“The foundation of the lithium-ion battery was laid during the oil crisis in the 1970s…He started to research superconductors and discovered an extremely energy-rich material, which he used to create an innovative cathode in a lithium battery,” the press release stated.
Whereas, Goodenough, born in 1922 in Germany’s Jena, predicted that the cathode would have even greater potential if it was made using a metal oxide instead of a metal sulphide.
The 97-year-old is the oldest-ever Nobel laureate.
“After a systematic search, in 1980 he demonstrated that cobalt oxide with intercalated lithium ions can produce as much as four volts. This was an important breakthrough and would lead to much more powerful batteries,” it said.
With Goodenough’s cathode as a basis, Akira Yoshino, born in 1948 in Suita, Japan, created the first commercially viable lithium-ion battery in 1985.
“Rather than using reactive lithium in the anode, he used petroleum coke, a carbon material that, like the cathode’s cobalt oxide, can intercalate lithium ions,” the release noted.
“The result was a lightweight, hard-wearing battery that could be charged hundreds of times before its performance deteriorated.”
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry is awarded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and is one of the five Nobel Prizes that were established by the will of Alfred Nobel.