Batteries that can be assembled in ambient air

February 01, 2021

The honor of the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry went to those who developed lithium-ion rechargeable batteries. These batteries have become an essential energy source for electronic devices ranging from small IT devices to electric vehicles. Tesla, a leading U.S. automaker, recently emphasized the need to establish an innovative production system and reduce battery cost. The price of batteries accounts for a large portion of electric vehicles and cost reduction is vital to popularizing them.

A joint research team, led by Professor Soojin Park and Ph.D. candidate Hye Bin Son of POSTECH's Department of Chemistry with Professor Seungmin Yoo of Ulsan College, has successfully developed a multi-functional separator which allows the batteries to function even when the pouch cell is assembled in ambient air. These findings were introduced in the latest online edition of Energy Storage Materials.

Since the electrolyte inside the battery reacts with moisture to cause deterioration, lithium-ion batteries are typically assembled in a dry room which maintains less than 1% humidity levels. However, maintaining a dry room is rather costly.

To solve this issue, studies have been conducted to suppress impurities - such as moisture or hydrofluoric acid - by injecting additives into the electrolytes. But these can cause unwanted side reactions during the battery operation. In fact, when batteries are activated at a high temperature (50? or higher), even a small bit of moisture causes faster performance deterioration. Therefore, there is a need for a material capable of trapping moisture and impurities in the battery without adverse electrochemical reactions to the additives.

To this, the joint research team introduced functional materials that can trap impurities on the surface of the separator to increase thermal stability and improve battery performance. This multi-functional separator demonstrated excellent heat resistance (shrinkage within 10% after 30 minutes of storage at 140?. Conventional separator had 50% shrinkage) and further showed improved electrochemical performance at the high temperature of 55? (79% of the initial capacity maintained after 100 charging cycles).

Additionally, the researchers confirmed the effectiveness of the functional material in the electrolyte in the impurity-filled environment. The silane compound on the surface of the synthesized functional ceramic traps moisture and maintains the ceramic structure well, but the general ceramic material was corroded by the acidified electrolyte. Moreover, through this research, the team confirmed that this multi-functional separator produced in the ambient air this time exhibits superior lifespan than the conventional separators, confirming that it provides stable performance beyond the role of a simple separator.

"This newly developed multi-functional separator shows great stability and excellent electrochemical performance at high energy density," remarked Professor Soojin Park who has long been studying battery separators through various approaches. "With this first successful case of fabricating batteries in ambient air, it is expected to play a big role in reducing battery cost."
-end-
This research was conducted with the support from the National Research Foundation of Korea grant funded by the Korean government (2020 M2D8A2093081, 2018R1C1B6004908).

Pohang University of Science & Technology (POSTECH)

Related Batteries Articles from Brightsurf:

New research says Sodium-ion batteries are a valid alternative to Lithium-ion batteries
A team of scientists including WMG at the University of Warwick combined their knowledge and expertise to assess the current status of the Na-ion technology from materials to cell development, offering a realistic comparison of the key performance indicators for NBs and LIBs.

Fast calculation dials in better batteries
A simpler and more efficient way to predict the performance of batteries will lead to better batteries, according to Rice University engineers.

Building the batteries of cells
A new study, led by Dr. Ruchika Anand and Prof.

Researchers create a roadmap to better multivalent batteries
Lithium-ion batteries power everything from mobile phones to laptop computers and electric vehicles, but demand is growing for less expensive and more readily available alternatives.

New NiMH batteries perform better when made from recycled old NiMH batteries
A new method for recycling old batteries can provide better performing and cheaper rechargeable hydride batteries (NiMH) as shown in a new study by researchers at Stockholm University.

Seeing 'under the hood' in batteries
A high-sensitivity X-ray technique at Berkeley Lab is attracting a growing group of scientists because it provides a deep, precise dive into battery chemistry.

Better, safer batteries
For the first time, researchers who explore the physical and chemical properties of electrical energy storage have found a new way to improve lithium-ion batteries.

New catalyst provides boost to next-generation EV batteries
A recent study, affiliated with South Korea's Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) has introduced a new composite catalyst that could efficiently enhance the charg-discharge performances when applied to metal-air batteries (MABs).

New lithium batteries from used cell phones
Research from the University of Cordoba (Spain) and San Luis University (Argentina) was able to reuse graphite from cell phones to manufacture environmentally friendly batteries.

Safe potassium-ion batteries
Australian scientists have developed a nonflammable electrolyte for potassium and potassium-ion batteries, for applications in next-generation energy-storage systems beyond lithium technology.

Read More: Batteries News and Batteries Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.