VinFuture main award in 2023: Lithium-ion batteries were not well received

Lithium-ion batteries today are the foundational component that powers more than 15 billion mobile devices and 26 million electric vehicles globally.

However, before achieving this brilliant success, Professor Stanley Whittingham (one of the four winners of the 2023 VinFuture Main Award) and his colleagues went through a difficult journey, starting half a decade ago.

In 1974, in the laboratory, Professor. Stanley Whittingham and his colleagues created the first Lithium-ion battery model after a short period of research, opening a new era in the field of energy storage. It took a few more years for scientists to create larger battery models and a few more years to create Lithium-ion battery panels.

However, at that time, this product was not well received. GS. Stanley Whittingham recalls that when he and his colleagues were researching Lithium-ion batteries, battery research in general was not a topic of much interest. “Our product was born too early, ahead of its time, so it was not well received. It took 20-30 years for the product to be commercialized,” he said.

The famous professor said that he once stopped researching Lithium-ion batteries for 8-10 years. However, up to now, when Lithium-ion batteries have been accepted and become an extremely important product in today’s life, he is devoted to research. “I should have retired 20 years ago, but today I’m still sitting here because more and more devices use Lithium-ion batteries like electric cars,” the 80-year-old professor shared.

From his own story, Professor Stanley Whittingham advises scientists to research issues that interest and excite them, not to worry about money. Besides, you need to have a risk-tolerant mentality and not be too conservative.

Talking about the future, what the 80-year-old scientist cares about is battery sustainability and environmental sustainability. He hopes that in the future, battery production will generate less energy. In addition, countries can produce Lithium batteries themselves, instead of having to transport battery materials thousands of miles from one country to another.