Battery Researchers Mystified by New Goodenough Paper on Solid State Battery (“It’s Kind of Like Cold Fusion”)

Thanks to readers who brought my attention to an interesting development in the world of battery research and development.

On February 28th, 2017, the University of Texas at Austin published a press release announcing that a team led by John Goodenough, professor in the Cockrell School of Engineering had made a breakthrough by developing “first all-solid-state battery cells that could lead to safer, faster-charging, longer-lasting rechargeable batteries for handheld mobile devices, electric cars and stationary energy storage.”

John Goodenough is a 94 year-old solid state physicist who is considered to be the one of the key researchers behind the development of the lithium-ion battery.

More from the press release:

“Today’s lithium-ion batteries use liquid electrolytes to transport the lithium ions between the anode (the negative side of the battery) and the cathode (the positive side of the battery). If a battery cell is charged too quickly, it can cause dendrites or “metal whiskers” to form and cross through the liquid electrolytes, causing a short circuit that can lead to explosions and fires. Instead of liquid electrolytes, the researchers rely on glass electrolytes that enable the use of an alkali-metal anode without the formation of dendrites.

“The use of an alkali-metal anode (lithium, sodium or potassium) — which isn’t possible with conventional batteries — increases the energy density of a cathode and delivers a long cycle life. In experiments, the researchers’ cells have demonstrated more than 1,200 cycles with low cell resistance.

“Additionally, because the solid-glass electrolytes can operate, or have high conductivity, at -20 degrees Celsius, this type of battery in a car could perform well in subzero degree weather. This is the first all-solid-state battery cell that can operate under 60 degree Celsius.”

The team published a paper, (lead author Maria Helena Braga) titled “Alternative strategy for a safe rechargeable battery” can be read in the journal Engineering and Environmental Science here.

There has been an interesting response among battery researcher to the published research. An article published on the Quarz website reports how some researchers are somewhat incredulous about what Goodenough’s paper reports. Here are some excerpts and comments:

“It’s what is not stated in the paper that has some of the battery community stumped. How is Goodenough’s new invention storing any energy at all? The known rules of physics state that, to derive energy, differing material must produce differing eletro-chemical reactions in the two opposing electrodes. That difference produces voltage, allowing energy to be stored. But Goodenough’s battery has pure metallic lithium or sodium on both sides. Therefore, the voltage should be zero, with no energy produced, battery researchers told Quartz . . .

“‘If anyone but Goodenough published this, I would be, well, it’s hard to find a polite word,’ Daniel Steingart, a professor at Princeton, told Quartz . . .

“He’s technically made a perpetual motion machine,” said Venkat Viswanathan, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania . . .

“’It’s kind of like cold fusion. Here is an experiment that is unbelievable,’said Dalhousie University’s Jeff Dahn, a leading researcher whose Canadian laboratory is on a contract with Tesla. ‘There could be a small possibility that it is right.'”

Daniel Steingart has written an essay in which he speculates that air might have somehow leaked into the battery, making this a lithium air battery, but this idea has been rejected by Braga, who has been responding to questions via email.

So it’s an interesting development. Battery technology had been notoriously hard to improve significantly, which has proven to be something of a holdup for more speedy deployment of electric vehicles and other applications where improved energy storage and energy density is needed. If this really is the major breakthrough the researchers claim, it could turn out to be very important.

  • I am an inventor who knows well the objections to rocking the boat. But it has been rocked and soon the world will know what the National Labs already know about my invention, the VAPER-ARC Reactor.

    Crystalline Quantum Oscillators: The Boson’s Mate in a Sea Of Fermions: Elemental Composition

    Timothy J.

    The VAPER-ARC Reactor doesn’t violate
    the laws of thermodynamics because according to the Pauli Exclusion
    Principle and Fermi-Dirac Statistics for fermions each electron formed
    in the electron orbital vacancy in the crystal lattice has a separate
    thermodynamic relationship with the quantum oscillating reservoir. The
    Fermi energy of the electron is an order of magnitude higher than the
    thermodynamic energy and doesn’t become equivalent until reaching the
    Fermi temperature which is two orders of magnitude higher than room
    temperature. The three quantum vortices in the valence band are
    associated with each of the three quasi-particle wave functions that
    comprise the composite fermion defined by these spinon, holon, and
    orbiton wave functions. The product is an electron to replace the
    previous electron at the most desired energy level within the quantum
    oscillator crystal lattice.

    The valence band inside single crystal
    Aluminum-Nitride piezoelectric chips act as quantum condensers providing
    the ideal boundary conditions to stimulate wave-function resonance of
    the quasi-particles that comprise electrons: the holon, spinon and
    orbiton. The valence band in the crystal lattice structure releases the
    existing free electron when stress is applied. A free electron reappears
    in the crystal lattice structure when the pressure is released and the
    crystal retakes its original shape. The question remains, how does the
    release of pressure on the crystal replace the released electron in its
    crystal lattice structure. Immediately after the electron vacates the
    valence orbital another uncondensed electron condenses from the harmonic
    resonance of the three wave functions represented by the three
    remaining quantum vortices.

    You could also imagine water dripping
    slowly from a vertically suspended chilled sponge on a humid day. There
    is water in the sponge and it is flowing slowly towards the bottom due
    to gravity, viscosity, and the Bernoulli and the Coanda effects. The
    water isn’t visible until it hits a critical point where it gathers due
    to gravity and cohesion at the corner of the sponge (Condenser ) and the
    forces of gravity and cohesion form a drop that shears from the rest of
    the water and the sponge and is now its own thermodynamic system with
    mass and energy. Leaving the sponge in a new state of non-equilibrium, a
    quantum vacuum driving the precipitation of an electron from the sea of
    fermions in the quantum field.

    In the VAPER-ARC Reactor the
    oscillating gas stimulates the bulk modulus of the piezoelectric
    crystal. The Crystal will compress and expand sympathetically as the
    frequency and pressure vary in the gas. Each cycle of vibration the
    crystal emits free electrons from the bonds in the lattice. Each cycle
    of vibration after the electron is pushed out of the lattice there is a
    negative quantum pressure localized within the orbital for that
    electron. The release of localized deformation allows the crystal
    lattice to go back to normal maximizing the negative quantum pressure.
    Like a catalyst often provides context and construct to make a process
    more efficient these quantum oscillators have the natural resonant
    frequencies conducive to harnessing the wave functions of the
    quasi-particles that make electrons .

    Again, the valence bands of the
    aluminum-nitride crystal are the breeding grounds for electrons.
    Electrons are condensed matter formed by the superposition of the three
    quasi-particles that make up electrons; the holon that presents charge,
    the spinon that presents spin and the orbiton that presents path. As
    pressure fluctuations in the gas stimulate pressure fluctuations in the
    crystal there is a collective excitation of bosons within the crystal as
    the waves propagate forcing free electrons (fermions) out of the
    crystal creating a negative quantum pressure attracting the fermions
    necessary to make another electron in the valence band. This is
    semi-conductor electrons and holes science & technology taken to a
    new level of power.

    Current nuclear fusion work relates to
    using much larger composite fermions like Deuterium and Helium to
    generate electricity by generating heat that generates steam to drive
    turbines that generate electricity. By understanding the actual process
    of piezoelectricity we may have discovered solid state cold fusion at
    much lower energy levels. Current theory states that electrons are
    elemental fermions, a class of leptons that follow the Pauli Exclusion
    Principle. Even though electrons are half integer spin “elemental”
    fermions with negative charge, they can be precipitated by compositing
    their three quasi-particle wave functions in a quantum oscillator
    crystal lattice to mass produce electrons which by definition have
    individual thermodynamic relationships with the quantum reservoir but
    retain the spin, charge, and orbit of the previously produced electrons.

    Again, the VAPER-ARC Reactor’s 6th
    Order non-linear passively-mechanically amplified high amplitude sound
    waves are stimulating the bulk modulus of the crystals that act as
    quantum energy condensers and pumps providing a supply of electrons for
    the useful lifetime of the crystals (4% loss of energy conversion
    efficiency every 10 years). The high frequency high voltage static
    electric discharge is then conditioned through multi-phased coupled
    inductors and transformers for immediate use or storage. Large sensor
    based systems experience line noise and electron drift that can set up
    resonance and harmonic currents. We have designed a system that
    capitalizes on these phenomenon instead of mitigating them. We are
    “fusing” the fermion wave-functions of an electron into an electron in
    the quantum wells of the aluminum-nitride crystals that are driven and
    pumped by the passively mechanically amplified acoustic waves.

    This is mass manufacture of electrons
    analogous to injection molding in macroscopic manufacturing. Many
    questions remain: first, is the hysteresis of the set of three quantum
    vortices the “mold” dictating the spin, charge, and path of subsequent
    electrons? Second, can these manufactured electrons become entangled
    with others in a super-lattice and change signs and spin? What does that
    look like? Three, can we make adaptive heterogeneous complex
    crystalline mono-block systems with power generation, heat management
    and logic structures? The answers to these questions represent the
    beginning of a new era in understanding ourselves, the energy we use and
    the cosmos to which we belong.

    The direct link to your VSL is this I
    think: If the universe is expanding as light slows down forcing the
    quantum vacuum to shed energy in the form of condensed matter that is
    expanding away from itself, is there a predicted local quantum pressure
    that could explain the rate of mass manufacture of electrons in large
    mono-crystalline piezoelectric chips. In essence, could my machine
    present the needed verifiable quantitative measurements of quantum
    energy being condensed to support the VSL?

    I just watched your documentary
    “Einstein’s Biggest Blunder” and I realized that by generating such vast
    localized power that we would indeed be bending space-time while
    increasing the energy density at high frequencies. The higher energy
    density in the direction of motion and the lower energy density behind
    the vehicle would necessarily alter the local speed of light with
    reference to the warp bubble and space-time itself, but what about
    inside the warp bubble? Are we fundamentally turning a vehicle into a
    massive high energy fermion and quantum tunneling through space-time?

    If so, is gravity really the driving
    force behind cosmological movement or is the electric universe and VSL
    responsible? Is mass a quantum illusion and gravity an artifact of
    temporal interaction? Does the Higgs Field endow Time instead of Mass?
    Is condensed matter physics barking up the wrong tree?

  • sam
  • Zephir

    The research of batteries, renewables and another substitutes of actual energy sources just delays their streamlined research and dilutes the research capacity for it. If you want get married, just date a women instead of cat or dog, if you want to have cold fusion just start to work on it. It’s as simple as it is.

    • Current nuclear fusion work relates to
      using much larger composite fermions like Deuterium and Helium to
      generate electricity by generating heat that generates steam to drive
      turbines that generate electricity. By understanding the actual process
      of piezoelectricity we may have discovered solid state cold fusion at
      much lower energy levels. Current theory states that electrons are
      elemental fermions, a class of leptons that follow the Pauli Exclusion
      Principle. Even though electrons are half integer spin “elemental”
      fermions with negative charge, they can be precipitated by compositing
      their three quasi-particle wave functions in a quantum oscillator
      crystal lattice to mass produce electrons which by definition have
      individual thermodynamic relationships with the quantum reservoir but
      retain the spin, charge, and orbit of the previously produced electrons.

  • Zephir

    The research of batteries isn’t “kind of cold fusion” – but it actually competes the cold fusion, i.e. the concept of production of energy at place. The production of energy on demand would eliminate the need of grid and the need of batteries instead.

  • Veblin
  • Alan DeAngelis

    The Mpemba effect was discovered by a teenager.

    • Hhiram

      Reread my post. We don’t dismiss extraordinary claims based on lack of authority, we simply require that they be supported with extraordinary evidence.

  • sam
  • theBuckWheat

    I chafe when insiders say that they only believe this because of the reputation of the author and that were it anyone else the concept would be dismissed almost out of hand and then with impolite language. They are telling me that the who is more important than the what. That is not science that is politics and cronyism. The device in the paper will either be reproducible by a third party or it will not.

    • cashmemorz

      Scientifically oriented people are still people, not walking dispassionate science machines. That is why nepotism exists and why reputation matters. If a person has done similarly, even if not as spectacular as claimed in the point of this thread, then future expectations are based on past performance. Reputation. If that is never taken into account then anything anyone does is considered in purely logical manner. We, people can be logical but, also trusting but still check out what is being trusted. Remember that is exactly why cold fusion, AKA LENR, has had a hard time vis a vis mainstream science.

      • sam

        Hi Cashmemorz
        I was wondering if you think it
        would be worthwhile to try and
        get an Ontario University to assist Bob Grenyer and MFMP.
        Or would they be reputation
        worriers as well.
        I think they would have nothing
        to lose and maybe lots to gain.

        From a fellow Ontarian

        • cashmemorz

          Worth a try. Myself am out of touch with U of T. So I wouldn’t be able to do much from a cold start. it would take some digging around to get someone to just talk about LENR. Something to consider. If I get to understand how that community looks on things a little out of left field then I might do something further. The first thing I will do is talk to a few professionals that I personally know in other fields just to get a general feel of how others look on things like LENR and go from there. An interesting challenge. Anything might happen. Maybe something even positive. If so I will be back here.

          One point that may get this going is by broaching the subject about what I have noticed what the premier, Kathleen Wynn has managed to force Ontarians into long term, 30 years forced payment of electrical bills by mortgaging the cost of monthly increases over those next 30 years. This would or will force Ontarians to pay into the power grid even if one wanted to go with LENR instead. That would make LENR an extra cost on top of old grid power. That might get someone interested in talking.

  • we want LENR Fusione Fredda

    Labelling is always so obtuse and underestimating; sometimes, those who label are finally resized by the labelled.
    After 27 years, I hope now is finally the time for ‘cold fusionists’!!

  • Jonnyb

    What we need is Rossi to employ Dr Thatlldo and get the stuff out

  • Glen

    Could Ni2Na02 be the secret sauce?

  • Rene

    Goodenough’s new battery is well described in the abstract to his paper. No magic need apply. It’s similar to a redox reaction where the same material can have different energy levels to create ionic movement and uses alkaline anode/cathodes with a glass electrolyte to stop dendritic formation which eventually shorts out a standard LiOn battery:

    The advent of a Li+ or Na+ glass electrolyte with a cation conductivity σi > 10−2 S cm−1 at 25 °C and a motional enthalpy ΔHm = 0.06 eV that is wet by a metallic lithium or sodium anode is used to develop a new strategy for an all-solid-state, rechargeable, metal-plating battery. During discharge, a cell plates the metal of an anode of high-energy Fermi level such as lithium or sodium onto a cathode current collector with a low-energy Fermi level; the voltage of the cell may be determined by a cathode redox center having an energy between the Fermi levels of the anode and that of the cathode current collector. This strategy is demonstrated with a solid electrolyte that not only is wet by the metallic anode, but also has a dielectric constant capable of creating a large electric-double-layer capacitance at the two electrode/electrolyte interfaces. The result is a safe, low-cost, lithium or sodium rechargeable battery of high energy density and long cycle life.

    I find the careful design and tuning of a lithium battery awe inspiring. It takes precise formulation to make LiON+ reactions vs anemic reactions:

    • Gerard McEk

      Thanks Rene! I like your explanation much more than the LENR juce, which is unlikely.

    • theBuckWheat

      Conventional automobile batteries use lead plates for both anode and cathode. Charging causes the positive plate to be coated with lead dioxide, but it is still a lead plate.

  • Pekka Janhunen

    Good-enough for government work.

  • simon gray

    Goodenough is a heralded name in the royal navy too. Maybe an aristocratic english family name? On the thrust of the article I guess ‘kind of like cold fusion’ merely meant ‘kind of like that impossible thing, the best example of which is cold fusion’ – unfortunately!

  • William D. Fleming

    Here’s an insightful article about Goodenough the man.

    • bachcole

      I’ve seen you around. I knew that I knew you. (:->) We think alike, as in, better than everyone else. (:->)

      Seriously, if someone takes their thoughts too seriously, they don’t think very well. You seem to take your thoughts lightly, and because of that you can work through and around them and see other people’s viewpoints better. I like that.

      • William D. Fleming

        Nice to know there’s a kindred spirit out there. Thanks for your encouragement!

        • WernerM

          William,. I finally have to comment about your photo that comes up with your posts. At the small scale of my phone, my first thought is of the Quaker Oats man from the oatmeal box. 😁 The white background behind your head and the brown above makes me chuckle every time.

          • William D. Fleming

            I’m so happy to be able to provide amusement.:-) I was lying in bed and the white is a pillow. The brown is a heart-pine headboard I made from salvaged lumber. I eat generic oatmeal but when I’m at the grocery store I’ll take note.

            Now I wanna see what you look like.

            • Matt Werner

              William, the top of my head resembles a cue ball so most pictures come out over exposed😁. I tried using my Google account to login. Doesn’t look like it’s going to pull in the picture. You are not missing much…

    • bachcole

      Goodenough seems like a most admirable person. Not many eggheads have such a good heart.

      • William D. Fleming

        For a dyslexic kid and poor student who had an unhappy childhood, I’d say he’s turned out well! Very inspirational IMO.

  • Ophelia Rump

    I wish these experts were educated enough in the appreciation of how obviously narrow and rigid they they have become when they say things like “‘If anyone but Goodenough published this, I would be, well, it’s hard to find a polite word,’

    In other words a thousand brilliant discoveries and their discoverers may get the old heave ho out the door, Only the anointed need apply, but even the anointed need to be ready for the stink eye.

    That is not science, it is zealotry in the defense of inertia.

  • Andreas Moraitis

    A ten times higher energy density might allow the use of sodium in standard batteries. Since sodium is about 3.3 times heavier than lithium (the molar masses compared), the possible energy density is correspondingly lower. Nevertheless, the proposed technology could allow Na batteries that are still significantly better than today’s Li batteries. That would solve another problem since Na is both more abundant and cheaper than Li.