1) Practical electric cars.
2) Practical and scalable (both directions) and geographically independent grid storage.
3) High performance cellphones and smartphones.
4) Practical laptops and tablets.
5) Other wearable smart devices (smartwatches, portable VR/AR, fitness trackers, etc)
6) Medical devices (insulin pumps, CPAP, wearable artificial kidneys, portable oxygen generators, portable artificial heart, etc)
7) Electric trucks.
8) Electric aircraft (low range now, will soon be 1000km range, eventually will get long range and full size using more advanced chemistries like lithium sulfur, lithium anode, or even lithium air in a few decades).
9) Battery electric trains (including things like Hyperloop or Loop people movers).
10) Battery electric ships.
12) Various personal mobility devices like e-scooters, those funny hoverboard things, e-bikes, etc.
13) Lightweight spacecraft energy storage.
14) Aerial Drones. Both the ubiquitous quadcopter/DJI types and the more advanced winged flight delivery drones like Zipline is using to revolutionize high speed medical product delivery in places like infrastructure-hobbled Africa or rural India and may eventually become commonplace in the rest of the world for more products.
15) Greatly enhanced submarine propulsion, especially for underwater drones. (I have a feeling we're just scratching the surface with this one.)
16) Robotic prosthetics/assistance devices.
17) Animal or humanoid robotics like Boston Dynamics.
18) Ground based delivery drones.
19) Other ground-based drones like more compact robotic vacuums, those silly robotic trashcans, etc.
20) Secondary power sources, like for hybrid cars or APUs for aircraft or launch vehicles (such as SpaceX's Starship).
It's actually remarkable how big of an impact lithium ion batteries have already had. In some cases, it's just significantly extending the performance and convenience of things already marginally viable using lead acid or NiMH batteries, and in others it's truly enabling. And we're just getting started.
I truly believe the impact of the rechargeable lithium chemistry battery in the 21st Century will be just as great or greater than the internal combustion was for the 20th century.
So this prize is well-earned.
Apart from the obvious (e-bikes), there are also electronic gear shifters and even lights. Lights used to be dynamo powered (and go out when not moving). Now, $5 devices will provide more light than what we previously had available, and are more reliable.
There are probably other, less conspicuous applications that we are missing and taking for granted.
Credit for that really belongs to LEDs. Dynamo lights sucked because the bulbs were 1/10 as efficient as modern ones. Standard alkaline batteries are quite sufficient for bike lights.
Humans will then always be more power efficient than any AI and will be able to live in space and on other planets far more easily.
Wait, wait, I've heard this one before. The Matrix, right??
Additionally, it can be extracted from seawater at a price that isn't insane, most affordably through desalination discharge brine. So in that sense, it could actually improve water usage by helping offset the cost of desalination.
So a huge net positive compared to our current system and with a pathway to eliminate the negative impact entirely.
I was wondering about the recycling aspects of Lithium.
According to Wikipedia, it's not a thing (yet?), because mining lithium is 5x cheaper than recycling. But they're working on it...
And there's a simple solution, here: have companies (including foreign, via tariffs) pay for the fully burdened cost of the environmental damage they're inflicting. That'll end virtually all fossil fuel usage and enable recycling and/or exclusively low-impact mining techniques.
Border adjustments, not tariffs.
But also, the brine is simply pumped. It's liquid.
- whale oil made nighttime lighting possible
- the steam engine/tractor/etc and other labor saving devices eliminated slavery
- mining coal saved the world from deforestation
- drilling for oil reduced environmental damage and loss of life from coal mining
- natural gas has reduced oil consumption
- lithium batteries have replaced consumables as portable energyn
...are things getting better or not?
- whales - there are less whales now.
- coal mining - green house gasses
- oil drilling - oil spills and green house gasses
- natural gas - release of methane gas from LNG fracking
- lithium - who knows yet. but probably green house gasses and pollution from manufacture.
I have no clue how lithium mining + solar panels, etc vs fossil fuels compare environmentally though. But they are at least lowering fossil fuel usage.
Even if it existed, the PR backlash of "Exxon steals Nobel Prize from scientist" would probably prevent its enforcement.
 Six percent!!!
"Goodenough" is also a surname I have never heard in my life and it is as odd as I expected it to be.
I have a feeling that the name is a variant of the much more common "Goodnow", but can't remember where I got that notion.
the number of people in the US Census with that surname.
Last name became a necessity when governments introduced personal taxation(the Poll Tax).
SUNY at Binghamton however is an outlier. Congrats to SUNY.
Does this mean that the next breakthrough is hiding in plain sight, waiting for someone to put the perfect cocktail of raw materials together? I have no bg in chemistry, but the thought of being part of making a next-level battery sounds very exciting.
https://www.nature.com/articles/35096534 also arXiv here (https://arxiv.org/abs/cond-mat/0110592)
The big problem with renewable energy is that generally it's not available on demand.
In theory, with large-scale cooperative government support, nuclear can happen. We can develop the next generation of nuclear infrastructure and have safe and affordable generation. Without that, nuclear is an un-economic pipe-dream that gets more expensive as renewable generation gets more affordable.
Realistically, with over-provisioning, grid upgrades, and modest lithium battery storage, renewables can and will scale.
Not just in theory, France did exactly that and did it successfully. They're paying half the cost of electricity as Germany while emitting less than half as much carbon. South Korea has also made large gains in nuclear power. US nuclear power would have been considerably more cost effective if plants weren't closed before the end of their planned lifecycle - the "nuclear plants are expensive, let's close them" meme is self fulfilling.
> Realistically, with over-provisioning, grid upgrades, and modest lithium battery storage, renewables can and will scale.
Places like California and Germany have attempted this. They have both realized that efficient storage remains a fantasy and use gas plants to provide energy when intermittent sources do not produce power. Most renewable energy projects are, in reality, combined cycle gas plants supplemented by renewables. This is good, because combined cycle gas plants are much cleaner than the coal plants they are replacing. But they still emit carbon and in Europe's case creates dependency on Russia for energy.
Annual real power  generated by gas plants in CAISO reached its all time high in 2014 at 11707 MW. In 2014 generation from renewables was only 5418 MW. Renewables have increased and gas has declined every year since. The crossover first happened in 2017 when gas power dipped to 7396 MW and renewables rose to 9671 MW. For 2019, gas is down to 6835 MW (to date) and renewables are up to 10507 MW (also to date).
Sorry that I don't have a quick citation for these numbers, but the raw data is here:
I've downloaded all the daily *.txt files and cobbled together big CSVs from them to track these sorts of statistics.
 Annual real power meaning number of megawatt hours generated in the year divided by number of hours in the year; this implicitly accounts for differing capacity factors.
Solar and wind add up to 25.5% of generation, as compared to over 40% natural gas. Add hydro and geothermal and renewables rise to 43%, still far from the 100:70 renewable to gas ratio you claimed. But hydroelectric and geothermal are geographically limited, the plan is still to build more solar and wind, with gas plants for use when demand exceeds the renewables' production.
Add those renewable sources together and you get 46.2%, more (but only slightly more) than natural gas. It looks like the chart-maker's data source is the Energy Information Administration. The greater dominance of renewables that I found may be because I'm just tracking the CAISO grid. The EIA would have data covering Southern California as well.
Successfully.. Maybe! The cost of electricity we pay include the planned cost for the end of life (dismantling the plants, etc), are the planned costs realistic?
That's a BIG assumption, I think that the new nuclear plant (EPR) is 4 times over budget and 8-year late and we have never dismantled a real big nuclear plant..
Am I missing something?
If you want to get pedantic, there is a finite amount of fissile material. But the same applies to solar power: there's a finite amount of hydrogen in the sun. Entropy dictates that energy is finite, thus there's no such thing as a truly renewable energy source.
There are a variety of lithium battery technologies, so it's important to recognize that there are differences, and that the state-of-the-art does change with some frequency. But, if nothing else, the metal inputs to battery production can be smelted and recovered, and Lithium is plentiful.
"Good" recycling of batteries would involve recovering the electrode materials directly and easily 'refreshing' them. This would make batteries very sustainable. Work on developing this process for various chemistries is ongoing, but not yet ready. Research and development of recycling-friendly chemistries and production is just beginning. https://cen.acs.org/materials/energy-storage/time-serious-re...
The batteries themselves will be getting much more durable. A JES article was recently published that made quite a few headlines as a 'million mile' car battery, but it's not hype. http://jes.ecsdl.org/content/166/13/A3031 This is extant technology (indeed, at least 3 years old) that's proving to be exceptionally durable. This gives batteries at least two decades of nearly-full capacity, with the potential to last much longer with useful capacity.
We're not there yet, but there's no physical or chemical reason that Lithium battery technology can't be sustainable.
Johnny B. Goodenough