M. Stanley Whittingham, Binghamton University, The State University of New York
Solid State Ionics—The Key to the Discovery and Domination of Lithium Batteries for Portable Energy Storage Leading to a Multi-Billion Dollar Industry
The David Turnbull Lectureship Award recognizes the career contribution of a scientist to fundamental understanding of the science of materials through experimental and/or theoretical research, as exemplified by David Turnbull.
"for fundamental contributions to solid state ionics including the discovery of the key role of intercalation mechanisms, and the development and commercialization of rechargeable Li-ion batteries”
In 1967, a revolution began in solid-state electrochemistry when Ford Motor Company announced the high ionic mobility of sodium ions in beta alumina, a very non-stoichiometric material. To measure the ionic conductivity of these materials, mixed ion and electron-conducting electrodes were required such as Lix
. The concept of non-stoichiometry was not a part of the battery community’s language; Dalton’s Law still prevailed. The use of such mixed conductors that were fast ion conductors led to the recognition that intercalation reactions themselves could be used to store energy. ExxonMobil Corporation and MoliEnergy briefly commercialized Lix
. It was not until an intercalation anode, C6
Li, was combined with LiCoO2
that a commercially viable battery was available. Such batteries now dominate portable energy storage and are even entering MWh size grid storage. However, Li cells only store 11–25% of their theoretical capacity. We need to “close this gap,” and explore again the use of solid electrolytes that would enable the use of pure lithium anodes.