The effort of researchers to improve the unfavorable performance of the battery


The effort of researchers to improve the unfavorable performance of the battery

The effort of researchers to improve the unfavorable performance of the battery

Better battery means better products. Good batteries last longer in your smartphone and last longer, making them great for long trips without the stress of running out of battery. Batteries are also a more efficient source of storage for large structures such as data centers. But battery technology advances at a slow pace, which of course has its own reasons; Chemical processes as well as commercialization issues of new battery designs are very difficult. Improving battery performance is considered a very difficult task even for the most skilled companies.

But despite all the problems, no one stops trying to improve the situation. In recent years, researchers and technologists have presented new methods regarding the ingredients of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, which can be used to improve the state of battery density and, more importantly, increase battery security. Certainly, such technologies will not enter the market soon; But when we look at our gadgets running out of battery at the end of the day, we wish that batteries would finally get better in the future.

Battery Basics

Battery technology is so complex that even The most skilled people feel they must have a PhD in chemistry to understand it. So here we try to deal with it in a general way. Most portable electrical appliances use lithium-ion batteries. These batteries consist of an anode, a cathode, an isolator, electrolyte, positive current and negative current. Anode and cathode are the terminals of the battery. Energy is generated and stored when lithium ions – carried by the electrolyte – move between the two terminals of the battery.

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Lithium ion is still one of the lightest and most effective components of batteries; But because of its high physical energy density, there are limits to the amount of charge it can hold. Such a phenomenon can sometimes be dangerous: if there is a problem with the separator and the electrodes come into contact with each other, the battery starts to heat up and the liquid electrolytes are also highly flammable. Getting hot and then being flammable can cause batteries to explode. Partha Mukherjee, who researched energy storage and conversion at Purdue University, says:

The failure of electric cars and Samsung phones was due to these thermal problems.

In the picture, you can see the lithium-ion battery of an electric car. The growing popularity of electric vehicles is driving advances in battery technology

Silicon Anode

Graphite anode materials are used in lithium-ion batteries. But ultra-fine silicon particles can be a great substitute for graphite, and at least one tech company believes that will be the case for next year’s batteries.

Jane Berdychowski, CEO of Silla Nanotechnology and a former employee of Tesla, says about the future of nano-silicon batteries:

A silicon atom can hold about 20 times more lithium than an atom. slow carbon storage; So by using silicon to store lithium in the battery, less silicon will be needed and as a result the volume of materials inside the battery will be smaller. 2019, it will release its first battery. Berdychowski expects the company’s battery life to improve by 20 percent compared to traditional lithium-ion batteries. It has been formed for this problem, which includes Argonne, Sandia and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories. According to Berdychowski and Gleb Yoshin (one of the founders of Sila and its chief technology officer), their research is different from others; Because they have solved the problem of expansion. Silicone tends to expand and can destroy the battery every time it is charged. Being aware of this fact, the technology of Sila company provides more space to the microscopic particles of silicon so that there is no problem for the battery in case of expansion.

Using such a solution seems very simple; But Berdychowski has a different opinion:

It took 7 years to do such a thing, and without exaggeration, we carried out such an operation about 30,000 times in our laboratory in order to create a way to create such a structure.

Berdychowski says that the implementation of such methods in the laboratory is considered a success when by improving the conditions in one part, the conditions in other parts do not worsen; Because this kind of thing usually happens in laboratories.

Lithium metal

Batteries made of metal They are made of lithium and immediately attracted attention. This type of battery was first released in the late 1980s by Molly Energy; But a large number of them caught fire, leading to a general recall of all batteries on the market. But according to Mukherjee et al., lithium metal batteries have made significant changes in the last 5 years. The new design of these batteries uses lithium metal for the negative anode part of the battery instead of graphite, which makes the battery hold more charge.

The interest in keeping more energy in the battery increased due to the growth of electric cars.ARPA-E In a paper published in Nature last December:

The current lithium-ion material platform is unlikely to meet the goals related to weight, energy, density and meet the cost of the US Department of Energy’s electric vehicle package by 2022. Also, making a battery with lithium metal electrodes can increase its energy density by 50%.

Last week researchers from Yale University published an article in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published details of a new way to work with lithium metal electrodes showed According to Hailing Wang, the leader of the research, this method tries to use 80 to 90 percent of the lithium in the battery. Before the batteries were assembled, the researchers embedded a glass fiber separator in the lithium nitrate compound. When the battery is working, the gradual release of lithium nitrate and its decomposition improves the performance of the lithium metal electrodes. But the biggest problem with lithium metal is that it generates a lot of heat in the battery. Wang and his team were able to prove the effectiveness of this combination (lithium metal with protective additives) in a laboratory environment. Of course, using such a method in the real world is different. Weng said:

We did our work on a small scale and the situation was under our control, so there was no problem with security. Our progress has been good; But more efforts should be made to supply the battery to the market.

Solid state battery

Solid state

People specializing in batteries sometimes use the term solid state instead of lithium metal use; Because both expressions are used for different parts of the battery and the overall structure of the batteries at the same time. Solid state batteries such as lithium metal have attracted a lot of attention in recent years; Because they can be used in electric cars. A solid state battery with some type of ceramic or glass can be used instead of the battery electrodes and liquid electrolyte or both. Since a solid material replaces the flammable material, the battery can withstand higher temperatures and, as a result, its capacity increases.

One Woburn company has taken a different approach. This company replaces liquid electrolyte with ionic materials along with an ion-conducting polymer or plastic. This compound is fire resistant.

Mike Zimmerman, CEO of Unique Materials, says:

People work on different anodes and cathodes; While the main obstacle to battery progress is the electrolyte, which we plan to improve in the future.

According to Zimmerman, ceramics and glass can be brittle and cause outgassing when exposed. be exposed to moisture; Therefore, they cannot be a suitable solution for solid batteries. According to one of Unique Materials’ main investors, the company is trying to combine the best features of low-cost alkaline batteries with the electricity and rechargeable nature of lithium-ion, which, if successful, could even create a new smart grid for its technology. /p>

Of course, such a development is not going to enter the battery market soon. Last year, Toyota admitted that it had encountered problems in the development of solid-state batteries. Then it was the turn of the Senior Vice President of Research and Engineering of Nissan to comment in April. According to him, the development of solid-state batteries is practically at zero stage.

Of course, another move by Unique Materials brought another advantage to his company. According to the company’s statement, they do not intend to undertake the production and manufacturing of batteries, but will only license their technology to existing battery manufacturers. For most innovators and innovators in the field of batteries, even if they can solve the problems related to the materials, chemistry and safety of batteries, it is still really difficult to build a battery factory; Unless you are someone like Elon Musk and the big company Tesla at your disposal.

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