New cell technology... 3 or 15 times today's energy density

May 31, 2017 | 16:34
Novel lithium cells
Novel lithium cells
Press releases from research institutions always offer tantalizing new technologies but you know there are still many hurdles along the way before the product will finally hit the shelves. There are of course research teams worldwide working on novel battery technologies because efficient energy storage systems will become increasingly important in the future. Currently on offer we have new cell technologies that promise energy density increase of 3 or 15 times that of conventional lithium cells…
Dendrites. source: Rice University

 At Rice University in the US, researchers are working on a lithium-metal cell whose capacity exceeds the current Li-Ion batteries by a factor of three. The special features of this cell technology are not only its improved capacity but also no dendrite growth in the cell. Dendrites are those pesky whiskers of lithium that grow in the cell over time and eventually cause short circuits. The trick here is to coat a material with a very high surface area of ​​carbon nanotubes with metallic lithium. The result is a safe battery with a capacity of 3.351 Ah / g. The prototype cell still retains 80% or the original capacity after 500 charge cycles.
The Li-Air cell. source: NIMS
The NIMS (National Institute for Materials Science) in Japan is currently researching lithium-air batteries. This technology potentially offers a capacity increase over conventional Lithium batteries of a factor of 15! Li-Air batteries have in principle a much higher energy density because a lot of electrode material is dispensed with. If the capacity achieved in the lab (30 mAh / cm²) were to be realized in a commercial product that would be sensational. Again, the electrode material has an enormous surface area thanks to ​​carbon nanotubes. Work is ongoing to produce real practical samples with high energy density and a system to filter impurities from the air.
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