Development boosts lithium-ion battery power by 8-fold

Development boosts lithium-ion battery power by 8-fold

Summary: Researchers at Berkeley have developed a new kind of anode polymer can absorb eight times the lithium of current designs.

TOPICS: Hardware

Lithium-ion batteries are the most common type of rechargeable battery. They are found in laptops, smartphones, and increasingly, in electric cars and smart grids.

Although there are many advantages to lithium ion batteries--they maintain full capacity even after a partial recharge and are considered to be more environmentally safe than other battery technologies--their storage capacity can be improved.

A team of scientists at Berkeley Lab have designed a new kind of anode that can absorb eight times the lithium of current designs, and has maintained its greatly increased energy capacity after over a year of testing and many hundreds of charge-discharge cycles.

“Most of today’s lithium-ion batteries have anodes made of graphite, which is electrically conducting and expands only modestly when housing the ions between its graphene layers. Silicon can store 10 times more – it has by far the highest capacity among lithium-ion storage materials – but it swells to more than three times its volume when fully charged, ” said Gao Liu of Berkeley Lab’s Environmental Energy Technologies Division (EETD).

The swelling quickly breaks the electrical contacts in the anode, so the researchers concentrated on finding other ways to use silicon while maintaining anode conductivity. Through a combination of synthesis, spectroscopy and simulation, the team tailored a polymer that conducts electricity and binds closely to lithium-storing silicon particles, even as they expand to more than three times their volume during charging and then shrink again during discharge.

The new anodes are made from low-cost materials, compatible with standard lithium-battery manufacturing technologies.

The research team reports its findings in Advanced Materials, now available online.

Source: Berkeley Lab News Center

Topic: Hardware

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  • So what does this mean for us average people?

    Does this mean that the battery will last longer, or does it mean it will be stronger ... be able to power more things? Or does it mean that the average size of a battery will now become smaller?

    It's an interesting article, but while it answers one question, it makes me ask several other ...

  • RE: Development boosts lithium-ion battery power by 8-fold

    So, basically this is allowing the same battery technology to do more. Sweet!

    I personally wonder what this means for the Electric Car, do we finally see 6 to 8 hours on a single charge? If we do, how do we get Solar Tech to catch up?
  • RE: Development boosts lithium-ion battery power by 8-fold

    I think that we need to do a little "back of an envelope" math here. If this battery expands by three times when charged then it will have to be (when uncharged) one third of the size of the equivalent conventional Li-ion battery in the given battery space in the given device. This means that you will *not* get 8 times the charge capacity in that battery space of that given volume - you will get 8/3 = 2.7 times the charge capacity. However, having said that it would still be wonderful. A tablet capable of 20 or so hours on the 720p loop test anyone?
    • RE: Development boosts lithium-ion battery power by 8-fold

      @FrederickLeeson I think what they were saying is the battery would physically break down when pushed beyond the 3x mark but this new Polymer allows it to considerably higher capacity.
  • RE: Development boosts lithium-ion battery power by 8-fold

    Great article, but doesn't really answer or explain anything. I have read multiple articles about battery breakthroughs but all a very far off or are not practical for today.

    The questions i have from reading this is-
    Is this about its capacity or size?
    How far away and probability or it hitting consumers?

    I would love more battery life in my laptop, as it is now its permanently plugged into a power source.
  • RE: Development boosts lithium-ion battery power by 8-fold

    Well, it seems good.