UT Austin Professor to donate $ 500,000 to scientific work conducted by Portuguese researcher

John Goodenough and Maria Helena Braga (Photo credit: DR)

The donation will support the work carried out by Maria Helena Braga towards a new generation of solid batteries.

Known around the world for his pioneering work that led to the invention of the rechargeable lithium-ion battery, Professor John Goodenough from The University of Austin at Texas (UT Austin)will donate $ 500,000 to the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto (FEUP), in order to support the work carried out by the team of Maria Helena Braga, researcher and professor at FEUP, who has become notorious for the creation of a novel generation of solid batteries presenting high energy density and an extended life cycle.

In 2015 Helena Braga’s scientific work, published in several high impact journals and underpinning several patents, caught the attention of Goodenough who invited her to collaborate with his research group at The University of Austin at Texas. Throughout the world, the academic community has followed with particular interest the accomplishments of Braga’s team. The possibility of a lightweight, less polluting battery, capable of multiplying the capacity of traditional lithium ion batteries meant a breakthrough in the way energy could be stored and a disruptive innovation to the electric-vehicle market.

John Goodenough decided to donate significant funds to the team to support further research and increase the international research community’s awareness to the work that is being conducted. Helena Braga says this donation “represents an honor and, at the same time, the renewed responsibility to do better work every day, with the possibility of acquiring equipment and financing students that will enable us to achieve this goal” (source: Notícias UP).

John Goodenough and Helena Braga are working on a solution in which the electrolyte works as a type of glass. This allows for increased energy density, safety and longevity, and the ability to withstand both load and discharge heating and drastically reduce costs, size and weight. Lithium batteries offer a number of advantages for various fields of application. Advancements in battery technology involve the articulation with other scientific areas, such as Advanced Computing (simulation techniques) or Nanotechnology (nano materials), which may contribute to significant improvements in performance, safety, cost and life cycle of batteries.

Awarded the National Medal of Science by President Barack Obama, John Bannister Goodenough is considered the father of lithium-ion batteries. He was behind the identification and development of the critical materials that provided the high-energy density needed to power portable electronics. Today, batteries incorporating Goodenough’s cathode materials are used worldwide for mobile phones, power tools, laptops, tablets and other wireless devices, as well as electric and hybrid vehicles.

John Goodenough works at The University of Austin at Texas, serving as the Virginia H. Cockrell Centennial Chair of Engineering in the Cockrell School of Engineering.