Will the future’s super batteries be made of seawater?

Science Daily  January 23, 2020 For the Na-ion batteries to become an alternative to lithium-ion batteries, better electrode materials must be developed. An international team of researchers (Denmark, USA – MIT) investigated a new electrode material based on iron, manganese and phosphorus. They found that their charge–discharge transformation strains are significantly reduced by stabilization of a NazMnyFe1–yPO4 solid solution over a wide Na compositional range. This effect even leads to a complete continuous solid solution transformation covering the entire charge process, which shows that the effect of Mn substitution is a highly effective route for reducing intercalation strains even during […]

Supercharging tomorrow: Monash develops world’s most efficient lithium-sulfur battery

EurekAlert  January 3, 2020 Lithium-sulfur batteries can displace lithium-ion by delivering higher specific energy. Presently, however, the superior energy performance fades rapidly when the sulfur electrode is loaded to the required levels—5 to 10 mg cm−2— due to substantial volume change of lithiation/delithiation and the resultant stresses. An international team of researchers (Australia, Belgium, Germany) found an approach that places minimum amounts of a high-modulus binder between neighboring particles, leaving increased space for material expansion and ion diffusion. These expansion-tolerant electrodes with loadings up to 15 mg cm−2 yield high gravimetric (>1200 mA·hour g−1) and areal (19 mA·hour cm−2) capacities. […]

IBM Reveals “Staggering” New Battery Tech, Withholds Technical Details

IEEE Spectrum  December 19, 2019 IBM has developed a new battery for EVs, consumer devices, and electric grid storage that it says could be built from minerals and compounds found in seawater. The battery is also touted as being non-flammable and in initial lab tests, the battery demonstrated hundreds to thousands of cycles with 80 percent retention of its original capacity. According to the researchers they could develop a commercial product for limited applications (e.g. portable power tools) within one to two years. They believe the electrolyte chemistry can be tweaked enough to make it competitive as a grid energy […]

Scientists develop a lithium-ion battery that won’t catch fire

Phys.org  October 18, 2019 Current Li-ion batteries are susceptible to catastrophic fire and explosion incidents because they are built with flammable and combustible materials. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have built a new class of “water-in-salt” and “water-in-bisalt” electrolytes—referred to as WiS and WiBS, respectively—that, when incorporated in a polymer matrix, reduces water activity and elevates the battery’s energy capabilities and life cycle while ridding it of the flammable, toxic, and highly reactive solvents present in current Li-ion batteries. It expands the electrochemical stability window to 4.1 V, dramatically improves cycle life in full cells with lithium titanate anodes compared […]

How a new class of startups are working to solve the grid storage puzzle

MIT Technology Review  October 10, 2019 To be as cheap, reliable, and flexible as natural gas, such a battery system would have to cost less than $10 per kilowatt-hour. Today’s best grid batteries, large lithium-ion systems, cost hundreds of dollars per kilowatt-hour (precise estimates vary). A US based company is working to hit that target by what seems to be using a sulfur-based solution as the anolyte. Sulfur is extremely cheap and can store a lot of energy. They are exploring the possibility of bidirectional power plants. Long duration storage is another approach taken by some companies. Thermal methods are […]

New electrolyte stops rapid performance decline of next-generation lithium battery

Science Daily  October 10, 2019 Lithium-ion battery electrolytes currently contain a solvent mixture, with a dissolved lithium salt and often more than three organic additives. Researchers at Argonne National Laboratory have developed a unique electrolyte with a small amount of a second salt containing any one of several doubly or triply charged metal cations (Mg2+, Ca2+, Zn2+, or Al3+) they call MESA (mixed-salt electrolytes for silicon anodes). MESA gives silicon anodes increased surface and bulk stabilities, improving long-term cycling and calendar life. During charging, the metal cation additions in electrolyte solution migrate into the silicon-based anode along with the lithium […]

First fully rechargeable carbon dioxide battery with carbon neutrality

Science Daily  September 26, 2019 Traditionally, when a lithium-carbon dioxide battery discharges, it produces lithium carbonate and carbon. The lithium carbonate recycles during the charge phase, but the carbon blocks the active sites of the catalyst preventing carbon dioxide diffusion, and triggers electrolyte decomposition in a charged state. A team of researchers in the US (University of Illinois, Perdue University, Argonne National Laboratory) used molybdenum disulfide as a cathode catalyst combined with a hybrid electrolyte to help incorporate carbon in the cycling process. The combination of materials produces a single multi-component composite of products rather than separate products, making recycling more […]

Novel electrodes enhance battery capacity

Nanowerk  June 27, 2019 A team of researchers in the US (SUNY Binghamton, Clarkson University) has developed a new synthesis technique to produce electrode sheets made from nanostructured selenium. The new positive electrodes have the electrical and mechanical properties needed for use in rechargeable batteries. The sheet is mechanically self-supporting, potentially eliminating the need for a cathode current collector entirely, further reducing battery volume…read more. TECHNICAL ARTICLE 

New organic flow battery brings decomposing molecules back to life

Eurekalert  May 28, 2019 Researchers at Harvard University found that the organic anthraquinone molecules that powered their ground-breaking organic aqueous flow battery were slowly decomposing over time, reducing the long-term usefulness of the battery. They figured out the mechanism of decomposition and devised a way to mitigate it. In an experiment the mitigation technique recovered 70 percent of the lost capacity. According to the team the decomposition and rebirth mechanisms are likely to be relevant for all anthraquinones, and anthraquinones have been the best-recognized and most promising organic molecules for flow batteries…read more. TECHNICAL ARTICLE 

Creating high-capacity long-life batteries

Science Daily May 16, 2019 Lithium- and sodium-rich layered transition-metal oxides have large capacity because of additional oxygen-redox reactions. However, they exhibit structural degradation such as cation migration, layer exfoliation or cracks upon deep charge. An international team of researchers (Japan, Spain, France) has demonstrated a self-repairing phenomenon of stacking faults upon desodiation from an oxygen-redox layered oxide Na2RuO3. The phase transformations upon charging A2MO3 can be dominated by three-dimensional Coulombic attractive interactions driven by the existence of ordered alkali-metal vacancies, leading to counterintuitive self-repairing of stacking faults. The vacancy in lithium-/sodium-rich layered transition-metal oxides is shown to play an […]