How Lithium-Ion Batteries Enabled Smart Phones and a Wireless Revolution

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The story of the lithium-ion battery isn’t that of a breakthrough technology.  Instead, it is a story of incremental improvements in performance, safety, and cost that made lithium-ion batteries just good enough to power a new generation of wireless technology.

FACTOID:  SONY INTRODUCED THE FIRST LITHIUM-ION BATTERY IN 1991. 

Lithium makes up only a small fraction of the mass of a lithium-ion battery.  Cobalt, nickel, aluminum, and graphite are just as important.  

FACTOID: LITHIUM-ION BATTERIES STORE 3X AS MUCH ENERGY AND DELIVER 3X THE VOLTAGE OF EARLIER RECHARGEABLE TECHNOLOGIES.  

The incremental gains in the performance of lithium-ion batteries, however, were multiplied many times over by the extraordinary pace of innovation in consumer electronics.  

FACTOID: BECAUSE LITHIUM-ION BATTERIES RELY ON A FLAMMABLE ELECTROLYTE, MANAGING THE RISK OF FIRE HAS BEEN A MAJOR ENGINEERING CHALLENGE.  

These advances enabled a new culture of mobility that revolved around portable devices that are always on and always connected.

What does Charged say about how lithium-ion batteries made the smartphone revolution possible and at what cost? 
Read the beginning of chapter three below…

 

Additional sources about lithium-ion batteries and the wireless revolution:

The Nobel Prize, "The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2019

Roberts, "A Primer on Lithium-Ion Batteries," Volts

Argonne National Laboratory, Index of Lithium-ion Battery Research

Benchmark Mineral Intelligence

The Guardian, "Will Green Technology Kill Chile's Deserts" [video]

Earthworks, "Atacama, Chile"

International Rights Advocates, Lawsuit over child labor and cobalt extraction in DRC

Berdichevsky and Yushin, Future of Energy Storage,” Sila Technologies (2020)

Wikipedia, "Lithium-Ion Battery"