Energy

Experimental microsphere anodes triple capacity of lithium batteries

Experimental microsphere anode...
Evgeny Kolesnikov and a team of material scientists at Russia's National University of Science and Technology MISIS have developed a promising new anode material for lithium batteries
Evgeny Kolesnikov and a team of material scientists at Russia's National University of Science and Technology MISIS have developed a promising new anode material for lithium batteries
View 1 Image
Evgeny Kolesnikov and a team of material scientists at Russia's National University of Science and Technology MISIS have developed a promising new anode material for lithium batteries
1/1
Evgeny Kolesnikov and a team of material scientists at Russia's National University of Science and Technology MISIS have developed a promising new anode material for lithium batteries

Through experimentation with a newly created type of material, scientists in Russia have landed on a battery design with a number of promising performance benefits, in particular an ability to offer triple the capacity of today's solutions. The breakthrough comes from replacing the material used for one of the battery's electrodes with hollowed out nanospheres that enable the device to not only hold more charge, but remain stable over an impressive period of time.

Lithium-ion batteries power everything from smartphones to laptops to electric vehicles, and all do so by using graphite as the anode – the device's negative electrode. The anode is a key point of focus for scientists looking to improve battery performance.

For researchers at Russia's National University of Science and Technology (MISIS), that meant exploring replacements for graphite anodes that might offer greater efficiency. Through a technique called ultrasonic spray pyrolysis, where ions of special metals are turned into a fog through ultrasound and the water is then evaporated at high temperatures, the team was able to create microscopic spheres with a hollowed out, porous structure that seemed to fit the bill.

These were integrated into lithium batteries as the anode and put to the test, where the team observed a number of performance benefits. The novel material not only afforded the battery several times the capacity of conventional lithium ion batteries, but the hollowed out nature of the anode was well retained over 1,000 charging cycles. This worked to buffer the volume changes that take place during charging, helping the battery remain stable over an impressively long lifespan.

"Porous nanostructured microspheres (with the composition Cu0.4Zn0.6Fe2O4), that we have extracted, used as anode material provide three times higher capacity than the batteries existing on market," says study author Evgeny Kolesnikov. "Besides, it allows for an increase in the number of charge-discharge cycles by five times compared to other promising alternatives to graphite. This improvement is achieved due to a synergistic effect with a combination of a special nanostructure and the composition of used elements."

As always with this type of research, translating these promising experimental results in a controlled laboratory setting into a battery that can power your smartphone for three days is far from a straightforward undertaking. But such high capacity and excellent cycling stability are very desirable attributes when it comes to next-generation batteries, so the research opens up yet another promising avenue for scientists in the field to explore.

The research was published in the Journal of Alloys and Compounds.

Source: National University of Science and Technology via TechXplore

11 comments
11 comments
CAVUMark
"Another promising avenue"... fantastic. Deja Vu all over again.
Hopeful
I suppose it's good news but the thing that ultimately turns out to be missing from all these battery breakthrough announcements is the batteries.
Nobody
With all these dozens of lithium battery break throughs, soon I will just have to change the hearing aid battery that powers my flying electric car. Hopefully, they will come in a twelve pack. "Star Trek" was right, dilithium crystals will power the future. Where's that article about warp drive?
Username
This publication should contact every one they've featured in a battery breakthrough article and organise a meeting so they can hash out a best solution and get it into production.
Dan_of_Reason
I agree with the pessimism regarding yet another development but no new product. They need advice from industry experts to assess scalability or if it is too expensive for commerialization. I've studied the huge gap between the lab and the market (academia and manufacturing). I wonder if any of the automakers would fund the commercial product. 3x would be a pretty big deal.
Karmudjun
Thanks Nick, pretty good synopsis strong on "improvements by a factor of x", and otherwise non-specific.

The relevant information of how much testing must occur prior to scaling up into production is not addressed. There are numerous issues with scale when manufacturing processes are so controlled in the lab, but at scale, results are sometimes quite different.

Keep on informing us of the innovative research - there is no such thing as irrelevant improvements or breakthroughs in Science, only in popular consumption of science.
guzmanchinky
These breakthroughs are the small steps needed to get to battery technology that will move the planet. Just because they don't all create superbatteries in a flash doesn't mean this research isn't important and helps other researchers move forward.
toni24
The least the article could have done is give the actual energy density and power density instead of the ambiguous "several times more power"
Signguy
Why do they continue to use a rare element that is expensive for batteries? Find a better element.
ljaques
I want some of those 437kWh hearing aid batteries Nobody was talking about. What a powerwall!