Member Spotlight – Chanyuan Liu

Chanyuan Liu

Chanyuan Liu, ECS member and Ph.D. student at the University of Maryland, is the lead author on the nanopore study.
Credit: University of Maryland

The Electrochemical Society’s Chanyuan Liu, along with a team of University of Maryland researchers, believe they have developed a structure that could bring about the ultimate miniaturization of energy storage components.

The tiny structure, known as the nanopore, includes all the components of a battery and can be fully charged in 12 minutes and recharged thousands of times.

This from University of Maryland:

The structure is called a nanopore: a tiny hole in a ceramic sheet that holds electrolyte to carry the electrical charge between nanotube electrodes at either end. The existing device is a test, but the bitsy battery performs well.

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New Coating to Make Batteries Safer

At left, a typical button battery; at right, a button battery coated with quantum tunneling composite (QTC).Credit: Bryan Laulicht/MIT

At left, a typical button battery; at right, a button battery coated with quantum tunneling composite (QTC).
Credit: Bryan Laulicht/MIT

We’ve heard a lot about innovation and improvements in the field of battery recently, but safety seems to have been put on the back-burner in lieu of creating a more powerful battery. This issue has now been addressed through funding from the National Institutes of Health in order to make technological breakthroughs in safety innovations for batteries.

According to the National Capital Poison Center, more than 3,500 people of all ages swallow button batteries every year in the United States. In order to combat the permanent injury that this could cause, researchers from MIT, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Massachusetts General Hospital have come together to create a coating that prevents batteries from conducing electricity after being swallowed – thereby causing no damage to the gastrointestinal tract.

Prior to this innovation, once a battery was swallowed, it would start to interact with the saliva and create an electric current. This current produces hydroxide, which causes damages to tissue. If not treated, this can cause serious injury within a few hours.

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The ECS Journal of Solid State Science and Technology (JSS) is one of the newest peer-reviewed journals from ECS launched in 2012.

The ECS Journal of Solid State Science and Technology (JSS) is one of the newest peer-reviewed journals from ECS launched in 2012.

Printing technologies in an atmospheric environment offer the potential for low-cost and materials-efficient alternatives for manufacturing electronics and energy devices such as luminescent displays, thin film transistors, sensors, thin film photovoltaics, fuel cells, capacitors, and batteries.

This focus issue will cover state-of-the-art efforts that address a variety of approaches to printable functional materials and devices.

Topics of interest include but are not limited to:

  • Printable functional materials: metals; organic conductors; organic and inorganic semiconductors; and more
  • Functional printed devices: RFID tags and antenna; thin film transistors; solar cells; and more
  • Advances in printing and conversion processes: ink chemistry; ink rheology; printing and drying process; and more
  • Advances in conventional and emerging printing techniques: inkjet printing; aerosol printing; flexographic printing; and more

Find out more!

Deadline for submission of manuscripts is November 30, 2014.

Please submit manuscripts here.

Norwegian entrepreneur, Jostein Eikeland, is finally unveiling the development his has been working on in secret for the past decade in hopes to jolt the world of energy storage.

Eikeland and his company Alevo plan to reveal a battery that will last longer and cost far less than the current rival technologies. To do this, they have developed a technology that is to store excess electricity generated by power plants.

This from Reuters:

The company has created what it calls GridBanks, which are shipping containers full of thousands of battery cells. Each container can deliver 2 megawatts of power, enough to power up to 1,300 homes for an hour. The batteries use lithium iron phosphate and graphite as active materials and an inorganic electrolyte – what Eikeland called the company’s “secret sauce” – that extends longevity and reduces the risk of burning. They can be charged and discharged over 40,000 times, the company said.

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This hybrid skate has strain gauges and wires leading from gauges to Wheatstone bridge boards.Credit: Institute of Physics Publishing

This hybrid skate has strain gauges and wires leading from gauges to Wheatstone bridge boards.
Credit: Institute of Physics Publishing

Although there may not be nearly as much physical contact as football or hockey, ice skating has been known to yield very serious injuries to its participants. During jumps, skaters can exert forces of more than six times their body weight. With training sessions consisting of 50 to 100 jumps each, it is easy to see how skating can take a toll on the body.

Now, researchers from Brigham Young University and Ithaca College are using sensor technology in existing blades to help discover how to prevent injury, as well as inform the design of a new and improved skating boot.

This from the Institute of Physics:

The strain gauges are attached directly to the stanchions where the blade connects to the boot, and when the stanchions deform due to the force induced by the ice skater, it causes the strain gauges to deform as well. Once deformed, the electrical resistance of the strain gauge changes—this change is measured by a device called a Wheatstone bridge, and a central control system is used to calculate the overall force that was imparted. The entire measuring device, including a battery, weighs 142 g and fits under the boot space of the blade so that none of the components makes contact with the ice.

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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 new solar battery stores power by "breathing" air to decompose and re-form lithium peroxide.Credit: Yiying Wu/Ohio State University

The new solar battery stores power by “breathing” air to decompose and re-form lithium peroxide.
Credit: Yiying Wu/Ohio State University

Is it a solar cell? Is it a rechargeable battery? Well, technically it’s both.

The scientists at Ohio State University have developed the world’s first solar battery that can recharge itself using light and air. The findings from the patent-pending device were published in the October 3, 2014 issue of the journal Nature Communications.

This from Ohio State University:

Key to the innovation is a mesh solar panel, which allows air to enter the battery, and a special process for transferring electrons between the solar panel and the battery electrode. Inside the device, light and oxygen enable different parts of the chemical reactions that charge the battery.

Read the full article here.

The university plans to license the solar battery to industry.

“The state of the art is to use a solar panel to capture the light, and then use a cheap battery to store the energy,” said Yiying Wu, professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Ohio State University. “We’ve integrated both functions into one device. Any time you can do that, you reduce cost.”

The device also tackles the issue of solar energy efficiency by eliminating the loss of electricity that normally occurs when electrons have to travel between a solar cell and an external battery. Where typically only 80 percent of electrons make it from the solar cell into the battery, the new solar battery saves nearly 100 percent of electrons.

Want to know more about what’s going on with solar batteries? Check out the latest research in ECS’s Digital Library and find out what our scientists think the future looks like.

Member Spotlight – Donald R. Sadoway

Donald R. Sadoway

Sadoway’s research seeks to establish the scientific underpinnings for technologies that make efficient use of energy and natural resources in an environmentally sound matter.
Credit: MIT

Donald R. Sadoway – a prominent member of The Electrochemical Society and electrochemist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge – has led a team of researchers at MIT to improve a proposed liquid battery system that could help make sources of renewable energy more viable and prove to be a competitor for conventional power plants.

This from MIT News:

Sadoway, the John F. Elliott Professor of Materials Chemistry, says the new formula allows the battery to work at a temperature more than 200 degrees Celsius lower than the previous formulation. In addition to the lower operating temperature, which should simplify the battery’s design and extend its working life, the new formulation will be less expensive to make, he says.

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The Birthplace of Electrochemistry

Volta Medal

Modern electrochemistry can be traced back over 200 years to the 18th century and the work of Alessandro Volta and his experiments with the electric pile.

The following is an article from the latest issue of Interface by ECS Executive Director, Roque J. Calvo.

The 17th International Meeting on Lithium Batteries (IMLB)* was held this past June in the beautiful and historic setting at Villa Erba along the shores of Lake Como, Italy. This international meeting has become an exceptional gathering where the world’s top battery research scientists present their work on electrochemical conversion and storage. The application of their research now powers our essential wireless devices so that they run longer, cleaner, and more efficiently. But the splendor of the location was not the only reason that IMLB was so exceptional this year; the meeting venue reconnected attendees to their roots. Lake Como is the birthplace of Alessandro Volta, the inventor of the first battery, which he called the electric pile, and the place where the science of electrochemistry began.

Modern electrochemistry can be traced back over 200 years to the 18th century and the work of Alessandro Volta and his experiments with the electric pile. While Volta hailed from Lake Como and was a trained physicist, many consider him to be the first great electrochemist. As a result of his vast scientific influence, the ECS Europe Section named an award after him and every two years they recognize a scientist with the prestigious Volta Medal (see photo). The medal depicts his electric pile, the first notable electrochemical storage device.

Read the rest.