How Lithium-Ion Batteries Enabled Smart Phones and a Wireless Revolution
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
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
Wikipedia, "Lithium-Ion Battery"