Wednesday, March 15, 2017

It’s never too late to be successful

When is it too late for success? 94-year-old John B. Goodenough made the news this week for creating a breakthrough battery that stores triple the energy and is safer than lithium-ion batteries.

Photo: Cockrell School of Engineering

John also happens to be the inventor of lithium-ion batteries, which he invented when he was 57 years old - 37 years ago. Today, lithium-ion batteries power all our smart phones, tablets and laptops - as well as electric cars.

His new battery invention will dwarf his first invention, as it will power our future solar powered and electric vehicles, homes and industries. It makes the current lithium-ion technology redundant (including Elon Musk’s brand new $5 billion lithium-ion battery gigafactory).

How do the new batteries work? They’re made of glass electrolytes, which are solid instead of the liquid electrolytes in lithium-ion batteries. They will allow electric cars to go three times the distance, and recharge in minutes instead of hours. They’re also far safer as they won’t explode, and they can operate in sub-zero temperatures with no danger of freezing.

At 94 years old, John still works as a Professor at the University of Texas, and he isn’t finished yet.

John believes humanity has a 30 year window to come up wth an even more powerful “super battery” to take us entirely off fossil fuels, before the environmental damage we are creating becomes irreversible and says:
"I want to solve this problem before my chips are in… I still have time to go.”

Goodenough began his career at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Lincoln Laboratory in 1952 where he laid the groundwork for the first random-access memory (RAM) of the digital computer. After leaving MIT, he became professor and head of the Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory at the University of Oxford. During this time, Goodenough made the lithium-ion discovery.

So if you’re ever thinking it’s too late to be successful, just remember John B. Goodenough.

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