Sunday, Nov 27, 2022

Storing The Change

Cheaper and better batteries are set to revolutionise the concept of energy storage. Here is the tech spark that triggered the illuminating possibility of clean energy.

Storing The Change Photograph by Getty Images

A Brief History Of The Lithium Ion Battery

  • 1980 John B Goodenough and Koichi Mizushima develop lithium cobalt oxide as a new cathode material for high energy density batteries
  • 1991 Sony brings out the world’s first commercial lithium-ion battery. The li-ion is smaller than a nickel-metal hydride battery, but has higher capacity.
  • 1994 Motorola’s MicroTAC Elite becomes first mobile phone to use a li-ion battery
  • 2006 Sony announces worldwide recall of its li-ion batteries, following reports of over­-heating and fires
  • 2008 Tesla Roadster became the first serial production all-electric car to use li-ion batteries
  • 2017 Tesla announces it will build a 100-MW energy storage facility in South Australia­—the largest such project in the world, billed to power over 30,000 homes


When Chetan Maini rolled out Reva, India’s first electric car, in 2001, he used 250-kg lead-­acid batteries that ran for about 80 km and took eight hours to charge. Today, the best lithium ion (li-ion) batteries, he says, could take you, for the same weight of batteries, roughly 600 km, last five times longer and charge in less than an hour. “It’s still going to cost a lot more, of course, and yet it’s no small transition. And it’s been getting better every year,” says Bangalore-based Maini. Better, because the cost of li-ion batteries has come down almost eight per cent every year, on an average, in the past 15 years.