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History of the Lithium-Ion Battery

The Lithium-Ion battery has its beginnings in the 1970’s, when British chemist M. Stanley Whittingham proposed creating an energy-storage device using lithium cells. The first lithium batteries used lithium and titanium sulfide metals which was impractical because of titanium suflide’s expensive production costs (titanium sulfide metals cost around $1,000 back in the ‘70s), not to mention its toxic by products when exposed to hydrogen sulfide compounds.

Throughout most of the 70s and 80s, various scientists and engineers pioneered and perfected the lithium battery. In 1979, scientists John Goodenough, Ned A. Godshall, and Koichi Mizushima, in separate attempts, created and perfected the Lithium Cobalt Dioxide, or LiCoO2. This battery paved the way for newer rechargeable batteries that became the basis for the development of the Lithium-Ion battery in 1985, when Akira Yoshino assembled a prototype battery that used both lithium ions and lithium cobalt dioxide as the battery’s electrodes.

By 1991, Japanese companies Asahi Kasei and Sony started mass-producing the lithium-ion battery and applying it to many of their electronic products, with more scientists and engineers perfecting the technology throughout the 90s and up to today. In 2019, scientists Stanley Whittingham, Akira Yoshino, and John Goodenough were co-awarded the Nobel Prize for chemistry, specifically for their work in the development of Li-Ion batteries.

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