This article is supported by brilliant org. Imagine you’re, a merchant and the ancient Parthian Empire, and you got your hand full of stuff. You got like a jar full of vinegar. You got a copper tube. You got an iron rod, some other things and you need a free hand.
So you’d, like paint the iron rod inside of the copper tube put both of them inside the jar of vinegar, grab your stuff and then head out to make some deliveries and at one of the stops, you put your jug up on the Counter and while you’re haggling with the customer, you pick a hand on top of the jug and you feel a little a little tingle well shock there.
What was that that scenario, or something very close to it, was probably the origin of the Baghdad battery? I’ll talked about that before on this channel, but the baghdad battery is one of the most mysterious archaeological finds of all time.
We actually don’t even know exactly when and where it was found. Only that it wound up in the possession of german archaeologists will hem k neg sometime in the 1930s he claimed it was found near the site of the ancient city of KU boot rajaiah in modern-day iraq and yeah.
It was basically a jug that had on the inside of it a copper tube and an iron rod that was very deteriorated at that point, and the inside of the jug had an acidic resin in it in Kanaks remise that this was some kind of primitive ancient Battery because all the elements were there, just a quick battery 101 just so we’re all on the same page.
Here, a battery is basically three components: an anode, a cathode and an electrolyte of some kind. The electrolyte chemically transports positive ions from the anode to the cathode, which frees up electrons the electrons then travel through an external circuit which creates electricity that powers your devices.
This is where I’m obligated to acknowledge that, yes, in some batteries, the anode and the cathode are flipped in terms of charges. I know that, because only about a thousand of you told me in the last article I made about batteries, so there you go.
Are you happy? Congratulations. You know what one more thing you sons a bit so that’s, how batteries work and that’s exactly what was in the Baghdad battery apparently now, of course, this has sparked all kinds of crazy theories about ancient aliens and time Travelers and Atlantis to try to explain how people in the year 300 AD would have access to this kind of advanced technology now slightly less crazy is the idea that they may have used these batteries to do some kind of electroplating by stringing several of these together, Which they would have to string many of these together, because, according to Mythbusters recreated one of these things, they only got one or two votes out of it.
The thing was: if that was the case, you would have found dozens, maybe hundreds of these things out there being used and that isn’t the case, so that’s. Pretty unlikely most likely is that this was used in some kind of religious ritual, because those one or two volts will be just enough to create a little bit of a tingle.
You know just a little bit of a sensation that’s, unexplainable weird, maybe mystical or maybe it was just a novelty thing like they just put this together and they found out that made this weird feeling and they just became something of a toy.
Whatever they used it for these ancient tinkerer stumbled on a technology that wouldn’t be rediscovered again for 1,400 years with the Leyden jar in 1745. This was about the time that they started to discover this whole electricity thing you know.
Ben Franklin is kite, and all that and the Leyden jar was the first time they were able to actually store this kind of energy. About a hundred years later, we actually started using this electricity in our factories and our communications and whatnot, and this led to the first commercially available battery a led, sulfuric acid battery.
In 1859. It was invented by French physicist, gaston plent a and it kicked off a whole new era of battery technology. Many of you may know that some of the very first cars out there were actually electric cars that were run off of this battery.
The next era probably belongs to Thomas Edison and his popularizing of the iron nickel battery, which became the gold standard after 1908 and from there engineers would continue to iterate on the battery increasing the energy density with different types of cathodes and a nose different electrolytes.
Over time, but the next big game-changer was the lithium ion battery that was invented in 1978. This made cell phones possible laptops, digital cameras and basically, whatever you’re watching this on the lithium ion battery, has arguably made our entire way of life possible, but we may be on the verge of a new breakthrough, one that might make an entirely New way of life possible with a new game-changer brought to you by the same guy, who created the last one.
Madam month or so ago, the Nobel Prize for chemistry was announced and it went to a trio of researchers whose combined work made. The lithium-ion battery possible, and one of those guys was John, be good enough.
Who became the oldest recipient of the award at 97 years old by the way quick plug? I did talk about this on the hour. Ludacris future podcast in case you don’t, know what that is at the podcasts that I do with bin sullens and Tim Dodd, and it’s kind of the place where I talk about breaking news stories and stuff that & # 39, s not really something I can do very well on this channel, but I do it there.
If you’re interested, I’ll, put a link up there. I’ll. Put a link down. The description definitely go check. It out, okay into the shameless plug, getting back to the subject at hand. There are two types of people in this world.
People who hear the name John, be good enough and then say wait. What John be good enough? Are you kidding that’s? His name that’s, his real name, John, be good enough, and people who hear the name John be good enough and say dude legend, because it’s, really not too much hyperbole.
To argue that John, be good enough is almost single-handedly responsible for our entire way of life today and the 1980s good enough used the research done by M stainle winning him on battering materials and realized that lithium cobaltite oxides could be used as a lightweight high energy Density cathode, basically doubling the capacity of lithium ion batteries.
This discovery is basically what popularized the lithium ion battery and made it what it is today, good enough. Actually, hasn’t seen a dime from this. He signed away all the rights of the UK’s, Atomic Energy Research, Establishment or err, and then I let Sony commercialize the battery and the British state took licensing fees from all the battery manufacturers until the patent ran out in 2002.
Oh just a quick little sign note: he was 56 years old when he did this work on lithium-ion batteries. What did he do before this? He invented Ram yeah like Ram like the RAM in your computer, random access memory.
The thing that makes your computer work. He was on the team that actually invented that seriously lead gent now for most people, inventing two different world changing technologies and being showered with every single prestigious science award Under the Sun would be enough.
That’s for most people, but that’s, not good enough. John Goodenough is still working at his lab at the University of Texas at Austin and at 97 years old. He and his team might be on the verge of a new breakthrough in battery technology.
Solid-State batteries now, like I, was saying before batteries work by passing, ions from a cathode to an anode and it’s, usually done through an electrolyte that’s, usually a liquid or a gel of some kind.
But one of the biggest problems with lithium ion batteries, especially if you charge it too fast, is that it can form dendrites little crystalline structures that build up on the anodes that can eventually grow into the cathode, which can lead to things like this, and this every Improvement on lithium-ion batteries over the years has been about increasing the energy density while cutting down on dendrites, and the fact of the matter is, as our energy storage solutions get bigger for v’s for homes for commercial applications.
We’re gon na be charging more energy more fast, and these dendrites are gon na become even more of a problem. So the breakthrough solid glass electrolytes. It was actually formulated by a good-enough protege, Maria Helena Braga and together they worked to perfect the prototype and good enough heaped praise on baragas work with uncharacteristically emotional sentiment.
She brought to me a remarkable glass she had prepared. Not only does her glass transport at room temperature, alkali cations, almost as fast as a liquid electrolyte, but it also contains a high dielectric, constant indicative of the presence of electric dipoles’.
Now, what it means, amongst other things, is that this solid electrolyte wouldn’t form dendrites and would provide a longer-lasting safer operating battery, but that’s, not good enough. Another advantage is that these battery cells can be made with earth friendly materials.
Having glass electrolytes means you can use low-cost sodium instead of lithium, sodium can be taken out of the ocean which covers you know. Three-Quarters of the world. Also, solid state makes manufacturing easier and cheaper and more commercially viable, but that’s, not good enough.
These new batteries would also last twice as long, if not longer than regular batteries in the lab good notes, battery lasted 1,200, recycle charges and had the same amount of battery degradation as a normally themed ion battery has after 500 charges, but guess what that’s still not good enough; they would also be able to work at insane temperatures everything from negative twenty degrees Celsius up to sixty degrees Celsius in lab tests.
But of course the big question here is storage. All that stuff is great, but it means nothing if it doesn’t hold as much energy as previous batteries did well. This is where things finally start to get good enough, because, according to their tests, these batteries hold 2.
2 to five times as much energy as traditional lithium ion batteries. This means a model. 3 could get up to 700 miles per charge and that’s. On the low end, a thousand miles is easily within the range of possibility, a lighter, more durable, cheaper to produce more environmentally friendly battery that doubles.
The range of gas cars would be the end of the internal combustion engine full. Stop there’s, be a game-changer for the energy grid, with smaller, easier to produce utility level battery storage systems.
A single pack, the size of a shipping container could power an entire neighborhood and prevent blackouts going the other direction. Size-Wise. Our phones and our laptops could work for days without needing to be recharged, but when you get even smaller, things get even more interesting.
Wearables like smartwatches, have become more robust and even more game-changing. Smart glasses, with augmented reality might become a lot more available with stylish designs. That people would actually want to wear, but maybe most important is the impact this could have on medical devices.
One of the biggest hurdles for medical devices is keeping them small and lightweight so that people can go out and live their lives from vetro surface patches to monitor vital signs. Your stimulators to fight Parkinson’s.
Even drug delivery patches giving long-term medications to patients, especially the elderly, prosthetic limbs, will be lighter and more capable and exoskeletons could be streamlined, allowing differently abled people to walk while not having to be encumbered by large heavy batteries and lighter more rugged.
Battery-Powered devices would be a huge help to first responders who work in extreme conditions, not to mention the wide temperature range of these things. Working would make them perfect for space exploration.
The capabilities are seemingly endless. We’re gon na start to truly see some science fiction stuff become reality. Some of the companies working on this include Alika, who are working on medical devices like I mentioned a minute ago, but they’re, also working on aerospace applications, meaning maybe just maybe electric airplanes, maybe solid power works, is innovating in the low Earth orbit.
Satellites to perform mission-critical tasks for research and military applications. Toyota is supposedly working on a solid-state battery tech and it’s. Rumored they’ll, be making a big announcement to coincide with the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Tesla, of course, is racing to innovate on their batteries of the purchase of high bar systems and Maxwell technologies in 2019.
In fact, our friend ghali Russell over at hi / change is speculating that possibly Tesla is working with good enough and his team to bring solid-state batteries. Tesla’s. Now there’s, no proof of this whatsoever.
It’s. All speculation at this point, but he lays out his case in a article that I’ll link up here. It’s worth checking out now. All this is super exciting, but of course it has to be said. Success in the lab does not necessarily equal success in the marketplace.
It’s. One thing to make a handful of prototypes in the lab: it’s, another thing to make millions and millions of them in the you know, supply chains that go along with that in real life. Plus there are many people who are skeptical of good enough claims, as they should be.
There have been a lot of too-good-to-be-true battery announcements that have occurred out there that never really turned out to be anything, but there is one difference in this case. That is worth mentioning in the other cases they weren & # 39.
T john be good enough, and this totally freaking is those other fly-by-night g bronies were not people who had played a part in one of the biggest game changers in technology over the last 50 years. John, be good enough did twice.
You want credibility because that’s, how you get credibility now, like all new technologies, there’s, gon na be a gestation period with solid-state batteries, as they get proven out in the lab and in the real world before they actually make It out into the marketplace and then to our devices and then to our cars, Sony first release lithium.
I powered devices in 1991, a full 13 years after it was first developed in a lab, but battery technology is starting to become the next big gold rush with everybody clamoring to be at the forefront of the next big breakthrough.
This means billions and billions, and billions of dollars are pouring into this, because the company that comes out on top is gon na, be one of the most powerful companies in the world and while it may take a while to hit the market, the adoption for new Technologies is accelerating all the time, so I’m predicting maybe sometime around 2025 there’s, one that starts to take over no.
No. What do you think agree or disagree in the comments? And last but not least, I hope you’ll join me in cheering on John, be good enough and Helena Braga and their entire team as they work to change the world.
Once again, I don’t want man in his greed to exploit the resources of Earth to turn what should be a garden into a desert and, as I am fond of saying, good show old chap now. One thing I didn’t. Even really touch on here is how these batteries could help store energy from renewable sources, which is kind of one of their best use cases I can’t, believe it didn & # 39.
T really talk about that regardless. If you want to learn more about renewable energy, one of the best places to go is the solar energy course. I’m brilliant dog org. This course walks you through pretty much everything you could want to know about solar energy from how photons are created in the Sun, to how they travel to earth, how we can use that to create electricity and more.
This is an all, encompassing course. That will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about solar energy, but we’re afraid to ask which, by the way, why are you so free to ask just ask me – and this is just one of the always growing list of courses on Brilliant that can teach you by walking you through puzzles and games and allowing you to figure out the solutions on your own, basically teaching you how to think like a scientist and apply that thinking to the rest of your life.
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