Nav: Home

Next-gen batteries possible with new engineering approach

November 14, 2018

Dramatically longer-lasting, faster-charging and safer lithium metal batteries may be possible, according to Penn State research, recently published in Nature Energy.

The researchers developed a three-dimensional, cross-linked polymer sponge that attaches to the metal plating of a battery anode.

"This project aims to develop the next generation of metal batteries," said Donghai Wang, professor of mechanical engineering and the principal investigator of the project. "Lithium metal has been tried in batteries for decades, but there are some fundamental issues that inhibit their advancement."

Under additional strain, like in the fast-charging methods desired in electrical vehicles, lithium ion (Li) batteries are vulnerable to dendritic growth -- needle-like formations that can reduce cycle life and potentially cause safety issues -- including fires or explosions.

"Our approach was to use a polymer on the interface of Li metal," Wang explained. The material acts as a porous sponge that not only promotes ion transfer, but also inhibits deterioration.

"This allowed the metal plating to be free of dendrites, even at low temperatures and fast charge conditions," he said.

Wang, who is an affiliated faculty member at the Penn State Institutes of Energy and the Environment, also belongs to the Battery Energy and Storage Technology Center, a leading research institute in energy storage.

A critical component of both IEE and the BEST Center's mission, this project brought together researchers from different disciplines within the University.

"The collaboration in this cohort really helped drive this paper forward," Wang explained. "It allowed us to examine the different aspects of this problem, from materials science, chemical engineering, chemistry, and mechanical engineering perspectives."

In this collaborative work, Long-Qing Chen's group in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering conducted modeling work to understand the improvement of Li metal anodes.

The practical applications of this work could enable more powerful and stable metal battery technologies integral to everyday life, according to the researchers.

"In an electric vehicle, it could increase the range of a drive before needing a charge by hundreds of miles," said Wang. "It could also give smartphones a longer battery life."

Looking to the future, the team will explore the practical applications in a large-format battery cell to demonstrate its advantages and feasibility.

Wang said, "We want to push these technologies forward. With this work, I'm positive we can double the life cycle of these Li metal batteries."
-end-
Penn State researchers Guoxing Li and Qingquan Huang, postdoctoral fellows in mechanical engineering; Zhe Liu, graduate student in materials science and engineering; Yue Gao, graduate student in chemistry; Michael Regula, graduate student in chemical engineering; and Daiwei Wang graduate student in mechanical engineering, also contributed to the project.

The U.S Department of Energy funded this research.

EDITORS: Dr. Wang may be reached at 814-863-1287 or at dwang@psu.edu">dwang@psu.edu

Penn State

Related Batteries Articles:

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.
Will the future's super batteries be made of seawater?
The race is on to develop even more efficient and rechargable batteries for the future.
Less may be more in next-gen batteries
Rice University engineers build full lithium-ion batteries with silicon anodes and an alumina layer to protect cathodes from degrading.
More Batteries News and Batteries Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Debbie Millman: Designing Our Lives
From prehistoric cave art to today's social media feeds, to design is to be human. This hour, designer Debbie Millman guides us through a world made and remade–and helps us design our own paths.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#574 State of the Heart
This week we focus on heart disease, heart failure, what blood pressure is and why it's bad when it's high. Host Rachelle Saunders talks with physician, clinical researcher, and writer Haider Warraich about his book "State of the Heart: Exploring the History, Science, and Future of Cardiac Disease" and the ails of our hearts.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Insomnia Line
Coronasomnia is a not-so-surprising side-effect of the global pandemic. More and more of us are having trouble falling asleep. We wanted to find a way to get inside that nighttime world, to see why people are awake and what they are thinking about. So what'd Radiolab decide to do?  Open up the phone lines and talk to you. We created an insomnia hotline and on this week's experimental episode, we stayed up all night, taking hundreds of calls, spilling secrets, and at long last, watching the sunrise peek through.   This episode was produced by Lulu Miller with Rachael Cusick, Tracie Hunte, Tobin Low, Sarah Qari, Molly Webster, Pat Walters, Shima Oliaee, and Jonny Moens. Want more Radiolab in your life? Sign up for our newsletter! We share our latest favorites: articles, tv shows, funny Youtube videos, chocolate chip cookie recipes, and more. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.