New Material Will Triple The Storage Capacity Of Lithium-Ion Batteries

Posted: Jun 20 2018, 3:39am CDT | by , in Latest Science News


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New Material Will Triple The Storage Capacity Of Lithium-Ion Batteries
Credit: NATURE

Scientists Synthesized a new Cathode Material that will Increase the Storage Capacity of Batteries.

Smartphones, laptops, notebooks, electric vehicles and other electronic gadgets are all powered using lithium-ion batteries and battery life of these devices has always limited our use of these gadgets.

The limited storage capacity of batteries has also been a bottleneck for grid level power storage. If the storage capacity of batteries is increased it will further promote the use of renewable energy such as solar and wind energy. And this can only be achieved by increasing the power density of batteries.

A joint team of scientists from the University of Maryland (UMD), U.S. Army Research Lab and the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) have been working hard to improve the storage capacity of lithium-ion batteries.

And now, they have succeeded in doing so by synthesizing a new cathode material that nearly triples the storage capacity of lithium-ion batteries.

“Lithium-ion batteries consist of an anode and a cathode,” said Xiulin Fan, a scientist at UMD and one of the lead authors of the paper. “Compared to the large capacity of the commercial graphite anodes used in lithium-ion batteries, the capacity of the cathodes is far more limited. Cathode materials are always the bottleneck for further improving the energy density of lithium-ion batteries.”

The new cathode material is an altered form of iron trifluoride (FeF3); it is also a cheaper solution because iron and fluoride are abundantly present on our planet.

“The materials normally used in lithium-ion batteries are based on intercalation chemistry,” said Enyuan Hu, a chemist at Brookhaven and one of the lead authors of the paper. “This type of chemical reaction is very efficient; however, it only transfers a single electron, so the cathode capacity is limited. Some compounds like FeF3 are capable of transferring multiple electrons through a more complex reaction mechanism, called a conversion reaction.”

Earlier attempts of using normal iron trifluoride in cathodes did not bring good results; the scientists found that normal FeF3 Cathodes suffered from slow reaction rate, poor cycling life, and low energy efficiency. To eliminate these issues the scientists used chemical substitution and added oxygen and cobalt to the normal FeF3 nanorods.

“When lithium ions are inserted into FeF3, the material is converted to iron and lithium fluoride,” said Sooyeon Hwang, a co-author of the paper and a scientist at Brookhaven’s Center for Functional Nanomaterials (CFN). “However, the reaction is not fully reversible. After substituting with cobalt and oxygen, the main framework of the cathode material is better maintained and the reaction becomes more reversible.”

To study the behavior of the new material the team used very advanced microscopic and imaging technologies, to do so the team carried out multiple experiments at the labs of CFL and NSLS-II.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/2" rel="author">Luigi Lugmayr</a>
Manfred "Luigi" Lugmayr () is the founding Chief Editor of I4U News and brings over 25 years experience in the technology field to the ever evolving and exciting world of gadgets, tech and online shopping. He started I4U News back in 2000 and evolved it into vibrant technology news and tech and toy shopping hub.
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