Researcher used microscopy to take an atomic-level look at a cubic garnet material called LLZO that could help enable higher-energy battery designs.Credit: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Researcher used microscopy to take an atomic-level look at a cubic garnet material called LLZO that could help enable higher-energy battery designs.
Credit: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

The quest for better batteries is an ongoing trend, and now the researchers from the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have yet another development to add.

During their research, the scientists found exceptional properties in a garnet material. They now believe that this could lead to the development of higher-energy battery designs.

This from ORNL:

The ORNL-led team used scanning transmission electron microscopy to take an atomic-level look at a cubic garnet material called LLZO. The researchers found the material to be highly stable in a range of aqueous environments, making the compound a promising component in new battery configurations.

Read the full article here.

While most researcher tend to use a pure lithium anode to improve a battery’s energy density, the ORNL scientists believe the LLZO would be an ideal separator material.

“Many novel batteries adopt these two features [lithium anode and aqueous electrolyte], but if you integrate both into a single battery, a problem arises because the water is very reactive when in direct contact with lithium metal,” said ORNL postdoctoral associate Cheng Ma, first author on the team’s study published in Angewandte Chemie. “The reaction is very violent, which is why you need a protective layer around the lithium.”

With developments such as these, which lead to higher-energy batteries – we begin to improve electrified transportation and electric grid energy storage applications. Due to the importance of higher-energy batteries, researchers tend to explore battery designs beyond the limits of lithium-ion technologies.

Read the full study here.

To find out more about battery and how it will revolutionize the future, check out what the ECS Battery Division is doing. Also, head over to the Digital Library to read the latest research (some is even open access!). While you’re there, don’t forget to sign up for e-Alerts so you can keep up-to-date with the fast-paced world of electrochemical and solid-state science.

Researchers at Nanyang Technological University have developed ultra-fast charging batteries that last 20 years.Credit: Nanyang Technological University

Researchers at Nanyang Technological University have developed ultra-fast charging batteries that last 20 years.
Credit: Nanyang Technological University

If you’re tired of spending more time charging your phone than actually using it, a team of researchers out of Singapore have some good news for you. The group from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) have developed an ultra-fast charging battery – so fast that it can be recharged up to 70 percent in only two minutes.

When comparing this new discovery to the already existing lithium-ion batteries, the new generation has a lifespan of over 20 years – approximately 10 times more than the current lithium-ion battery. Further, each of the existing li-ion’s cycles takes two to four hours to charge, which is significantly more than the new generation’s two minute charge time.

The development will be of particular benefit to the industry of electric vehicles, where people are often put off by the long recharge times and limited battery life. The researchers at NTU believe that drivers of electric vehicles could save tens of thousands on battery replacement costs and will be able to charge their cars in just ten minutes, all in thanks to the new ultra-fast charging battery.

This from NTU:

In the new NTU-developed battery, the traditional graphite used for the anode (negative pole) in lithium-ion batteries is replaced with a new gel material made from titanium dioxide. Titanium dioxide is an abundant, cheap and safe material found in soil. It is commonly used as a food additive or in sunscreen lotions to absorb harmful ultraviolet rays. Naturally found in spherical shape, the NTU team has found a way to transform the titanium dioxide into tiny nanotubes, which is a thousand times thinner than the diameter of a human hair. This speeds up the chemical reactions taking place in the new battery, allowing for super-fast charging.

Read the full article here.

If you’re interested in battery research, take a look at what our Battery Division has to offer.

You can also explore the vast amount of research ECS carries on the technological and scientific breakthroughs in the field of battery by browsing through our digital library or taking a look at this past issue of Interface.

The researchers at Virginia Tech have successfully demonstrated the concept of a sugar biobattery that can completely convert the chemical energy in sugar substrates into electricity. Credit: Virginia Tech University

The researchers at Virginia Tech have successfully demonstrated the concept of a sugar biobattery that can completely convert the chemical energy in sugar substrates into electricity.
Credit: Virginia Tech University

According to new studies, the future of energy storage and conversion may be something that’s sitting in your kitchen cupboard.

A new breakthrough out of Virginia Tech demonstrates that a sugar-powered biobattery has the potential to outperform the current lithium-ion batteries on many fronts.

Not only is the energy density of the sugar-powered battery significantly higher than that of the lithium-ion battery, but the sugar battery is also less costly than the li-ion, refillable, environmentally friendly, and nonflammable.

This from LiveScience:

This nature-inspired biobattery is a type of enzymatic fuel cell (EFC) — an electrobiochemical device that converts chemical energy from fuels such as starch and glycogen into electricity. While EFCs operate under the same general principles as traditional fuel cells, they use enzymes instead of noble-metal catalysts to oxidize their fuel. Enzymes allow for the use of more-complex fuels (such as glucose), and these more-complex fuels are what give EFCs their superior energy density.

Read the full article here.

The scientists hope to increase the power density, extend the lifetime, and reduce the cost of electrode materials in order for this energy-dense sugar biobattery to become the technology of the future.

Find the full findings in this issue of Nature Communications.

Learn more about this topic by reading a recently published open access article via ECS’s Digital Library.

Lithium or Magnesium?

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Join the ECS LinkedIn group.

This from our LinkedIn group:

Recently some researchers move to Mg batteries. Pellion Tech in its white paper claims double energy density both in volumetric and gravimetric for Mg batteries.

I am confused since it seems that the discharge voltage should be at least 3V and no cell have been reported working experimentally at such potential yet (Maybe I did not find).

Moreover, the safety issues will not come for Mg batteries with magnesium anodes? and for Mg-ion batteries, the energy density would be competitive with current Li-ion batteries?

Does the main opportunity for Mg batteries lie in their cathodes same as Lithium batteries?

Leave comments here.

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$25,000, 300-Mile EV Battery

Standford Engineering

“We’re now looking for higher and higher energy density batteries, and graphite [anodes] can’t do that anymore,” said Yi Cui, a professor of material science and engineering and leader of the research team.

This from Scientific American:

A team of Stanford University researchers, including former Energy Secretary Steven Chu, believes it has achieved the “holy grail” of lithium battery design: an anode of pure lithium that could boost the range of an electric car to 300 miles.

Lithium-ion batteries are one of the most common types of rechargeable batteries on the market today. But most of the batteries—found in technologies like smartphones and electric cars—use an anode made of graphite or silicon.

Read the article.

Here’s the paper, Interconnected Hollow Carbon Nanospheres for Stable Lithium Metal Anodes, in Nature.

The Stanford researchers are using nanospheres, a protective layer of tiny carbon domes that protect the anode. Read research about nanospheres in the ECS Digital Library.

Sand-base lithium ion batteries

Researchers have developed a lithium ion battery made of sand that outperforms the current standard by three times. Credit: UC Riverside.

Annie Goedkoop, Director of Publications for ECS ran across this story in Phys.org.

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering have created a lithium ion battery that outperforms the current industry standard by three times. The key material: sand. Yes, sand.

“This is the holy grail – a low cost, non-toxic, environmentally friendly way to produce high performance lithium ion battery anodes,” said Zachary Favors, a graduate student working with Cengiz and Mihri Ozkan, both engineering professors at UC Riverside.

Read the rest.

Quick shout out to Zachary Favors, the graduate student working on this, ECS has great membership deals and benefits for students!

See the 15 latest articles (more being added all the time) in the Journal of The Electrochemical Society that cover batteries and energy storage.

Superelastic battery

One of the goals of this blog is to share some of the content we swap with each other in the office and with members around the world. And we are not just talking sharing information that we are publishing. It’s anything we find interesting.

Here’s a perfect case, Logan, who’s an editorial assistant here, emailed me this article from ChemistryWorld about a super stretchy battery with a video:

Lithium ion batteries that can be stretched by 600% have been unveiled by scientists in China. In the future, the fibre shaped batteries could be woven into textiles to satisfy the ever-growing requirement for wearable devices.

Huisheng Peng and colleagues at Fudan University made the superelastic batteries by winding two carbon nanotubes–lithium oxide composites yarns, which served as the positive and negative electrodes, onto an elastomer substrate and covering this with a layer of gel electrolyte. The batteries owe their stable electrochemical performance under stretching to the twisted structure of the fibre electrodes and the stretchability of the substrate and gel electrolyte, with the latter also acting as an anchor. When the batteries were stretched, the spring-like structure of the two electrodes was maintained.

Read the rest. The paper is free to access until July 23, 2014.

Look for more on the subject in the ESC Digital Library.

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