Solid Glass Electrolytes Could Save Electric Car Batteries
The secret to the team’s research is moving away from the usual liquid-filled lithium-ion batteries. Instead, Goodenough and senior research fellow Maria Helena Braga use solid glass electrolytes — chemical structures that allow an electric current to pass between a positive to a negative electrode, releasing energy to a device — rather than ones suspended in a liquid.
This is huge news for any device that uses a lithium-ion battery, but the problems of liquid-state storage cells have been writ large in electric cars.
One of the biggest limitations of lithium-ion batteries is that they can short circuit and catch on fire if too much electricity passes through them at once (it creates tiny “metal whiskers” called dendrites that creep through the liquid and short the thing out).