Energy

New battery material claimed to offer radical boost in capacity

New battery material claimed t...
Scientists have created battery anodes made of a carbon-silicon composite, as opposed to the traditional graphite
Scientists have created battery anodes made of a carbon-silicon composite, as opposed to the traditional graphite
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Scientists have created battery anodes made of a carbon-silicon composite, as opposed to the traditional graphite
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Scientists have created battery anodes made of a carbon-silicon composite, as opposed to the traditional graphite

Electric vehicle batteries have improved considerably in recent years, but their limited ability to store energy still keeps many people from giving up their gas-burning cars. That may be about to change, though, as a new anode material is said to offer a whopping four-fold increase in capacity.

Batteries incorporate two electrodes – an anode and a cathode – which ions travel between through an electrolyte. Among other things, the capacity of a battery is affected by the amount of electrons that are able to build up in the anode.

Typically, those anodes are made of graphite. According to scientists at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST), silicon offers 10 times the energy storage capacity of graphite, but it has one major disadvantage as an anode material – it swells up during the charge/discharge cycle, causing its surface to crack and its capacity to thus drop drastically.

Attempts have been made to produce stabilized silicon anodes, but the cost and complexity of the techniques involved have generally made them commercially unviable. That's where KIST's new technology is claimed to come in.

Dr. Hun-Gi Jung and colleagues started by dissolving sweet potato-derived starch in water, dissolving silicon in corn-derived oil, and then mixing and heating the two solutions. What resulted was a carbon-silicon composite material, in which tiny carbon spheres kept the silicon from swelling.

When tested, anodes made from the composite were reportedly found to have four times the storage capacity as similar graphite anodes, yet they also remained stable over 500 charge/discharge cycles. Additionally, batteries utilizing the new anodes could be charged to 80 percent their full capacity in just five minutes.

"The simple processes we adopted and the composites with excellent properties that we developed are highly likely to be commercialized and mass-produced," says Jung. "The composites could be applied to lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles and energy storage systems."

The research is described in a paper that was recently published in the journal Nano Letters.

Source: National Research Council of Science & Technology via EurekAlert

13 comments
Madlyb
Years of promises from researchers around the world and yet. here we are, still using the same basic materials from 15 years ago.

I know researchers have to show progress to continue to get funding, but I think we should start measuring them against whether their work makes it into the commercial products.
VincentWolf
Imagine your new Tesla model Y having 1100 miles of range, your new Tesla model S having 1600 miles of range and your new Tesla cyber truck tri motor having 2,000 miles of range. Thats possible with this battery tech.
christopher
So many better-batteries: I think there must be a severe lack of skills in the commercialisation departments of all these research places!
Frank Lowney
I fear that, as the battery technology improves and becomes more stable and with much faster charging thus enabling much longer distance vehicular travel, the giant oil conglomerates will do their level best to stifle progression.
uday pasricha
Shows clearly that car manufacturers must collaborate to standardize removal modular sizes of batteries. They shouod stay away from battery technology and today's oil companies need to invest their hidden billions into battery manufacturing and retain their position as fuel suppliers. Different technologies within storage will evolve & could replace by hydrogen. Oil companies should stay in the fuels business and if the full ownership of cost of battery is removed from EV, then this will make the EV extremely competitive without need for much subsidy.
Mzungu_Mkubwa
500 charge-discharge cycles is not enough. What is the degradation rate observed? Such a short article with bold promises and anecdotal evidence. Here we go again! 🙄
Signguy
Blah blah blah; let's see it in the REAL world environment.
That's if the oil company's don't come against it.
Bob Munck
"500 charge-discharge cycles" means several hundred-thousand miles for an electric car. Sounds quite sufficient. Recharging a phone every 2-3 days for 500 cycles also sounds like plenty for the usual lifetime of phones these days. I do worry about the large number of "breakthrough!" announcements we hear, but that could be seen as good news about the amount of research in battery technology being done.
1stClassOPP
Why are the companies that claim al those battery capacity breakthroughs not collaborating to introduce the real world to a better battery? It does seem every week some new tech is bragged about, but nothing brought to, or presented to the public. I’m getting older, and would love to see some of these ideas come to market before I die.
warren52nz
Sounds promising. Li-Po batteries from ~6 years ago are already pretty impressive.