Lithium batteries made with asphalt could charge 10 to 20 times faster than the commercial lithium-ion batteries currently available.
The researchers developed anodes comprising porous carbon made from asphalt that show exceptional stability after more than 500 charge-discharge cycles.
A high-current density of 20 milliamps per square centimeter demonstrates the material’s promise for use in rapid charge and discharge devices that require high-power density.
“The capacity of these batteries is enormous, but what is equally remarkable is that we can bring them from zero charge to full charge in five minutes, rather than the typical two hours or more needed with other batteries,” says James Tour, the chair in chemistry and a professor of computer science and of materials science and nanoengineering at Rice University.
The Tour lab previously used a derivative of asphalt—specifically, untreated gilsonite, the same type used for the battery—to capture greenhouse gases from natural gas. This time, the researchers mixed asphalt with conductive graphene nanoribbons and coated the composite with lithium metal through electrochemical deposition.