Briefing

Creators of lithium-ion battery win Nobel Prize in chemistry

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The US$909,000 prize will be split equally between John B. Goodenough, Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino, who expanded on each other’s work through the 1970s and ‘80s to design the battery. Goodenough—97 years old, and still doing research at the University of Texas—is the oldest-ever Nobel laureate. (BBC)

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Talking point: Lithium-ion batteries power the vast majority of the world’s mobile devices, and they’re increasingly coming to the fore as key components in a fossil-fuel free future. From powering electric vehicles to storing energy at solar and wind farms, battery technology is a priority for researchers working on renewable energy. While improving batteries involves making them cheaper, more efficient and capable of storing more renewable energy, there are also social challenges to tackle. Most cobalt, a key component of lithium-ion batteries, is produced in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where the use of child labour is widespread.