Analysts predict more efficient power conversion in lithium-ion battery devices
Analysts say a new lithium-ionic battery could double the amount of power it can convert to electrical power.
The finding, published in Nature Materials, could be key to unlocking new battery technologies that promise more efficient energy production.
Lithium-ion batteries, also known as lithium-sulfur batteries, can store energy for longer and use less energy.
But for the most part they’re still not efficient enough to power the latest and greatest smartphones.
They also need more power to power computers, electric vehicles and power factories, and have a lower efficiency than other battery materials.
“This is a huge breakthrough in the world of battery technology,” said Mark Gough, a professor of materials science and engineering at the University of Toronto who led the research.
Gough led the team of researchers who found that by using an electron-doped graphene material, they could convert up to 30 percent more energy than conventional lithium-metal batteries, a process called de-ionization.
The new material also contains an electron, which is the basic building block for all the electrons in modern batteries.
Goug and his team have been working with researchers from Stanford University, the University in Chile, and others to improve lithium-Ion batteries.
Lith-Ions are the least-expensive form of a battery, but they have a lot of drawbacks.
They can’t be charged quickly enough to go fast enough to produce power.
They’re also difficult to produce, which makes them a poor candidate for batteries because of their high cost.
The team found that the new de-ionicized graphene was able to convert up 30 percent of the energy in a standard lithium-based battery into electricity.
“We think this is a big step forward,” said Michael W. Smith, an assistant professor of chemical engineering at Stanford and co-author of the Nature paper.
The researchers’ approach was to create a new metal alloy, a “sulfide-based” metal that is also used in some batteries, called an anode.
This new metal, called graphene, can conduct electricity.
And unlike the traditional lithium-iron, which uses iron as an anodes, this new metal has two electrons in it instead of one.
These electrons are attracted to each other in the graphene and convert the energy into electricity that can be stored.
“There is some question whether this material can be used to produce energy for a future electric vehicle,” Smith said.
The graphene-based material was first proposed as a way to convert lithium into electricity in 2008 by Stanford’s James R. Gebhart, who also is a co-first author on the paper.
He suggested that it could be a promising new battery material that could be used for energy storage.
But Gebhard’s research focused on the development of a material that is chemically identical to a metal that can store electricity, and he did not include this new alloy in his paper.
“I was really disappointed,” Gebart said.
“Graphene was a great idea, but it was a very ambitious and difficult material.”
That was a mistake, Gebarts group realized.
The group took advantage of an electron defect in the material’s anode that allows electrons to pass through.
“The defect was not a major issue when we first tried to make graphene,” Smith explained.
But when the researchers started to investigate its properties, they discovered that there was a huge difference between the defect and a metal.
It turns out that a defect has a very small amount of electrons and is a very common feature of all the other metal-containing materials in the lab.
The defect can also become a big problem when the material is exposed to high levels of radiation, which can lead to chemical changes in the anode and in the electrode material itself.
This makes it difficult to see how graphene could be an efficient energy storage material, Smith said, and it is also not a perfect solution.
“If the defect were an issue, it would have to be a major flaw in the battery to make it usable,” he said.
To find out if this defect is a problem, Gough and his colleagues turned to a process that they call the “catalyst electron,” which converts the defects to useful materials.
The catalyst is a microscopic device that generates electrons from a chemical reaction between two metal ions.
Gays are attracted by electrons because they have the same number of protons and neutrons as the protons in an atom of lithium, but the electrons do not have the charge.
This allows electrons from the catalyst to attract electrons from metal ions in the device.
This reaction is very efficient, but there are several defects in graphene that make it difficult for the catalyst electrons to make much of a difference.
“So, what we wanted to do was look for these defects and see if we could find ways to improve the catalyst electron,” Smith noted.
To do this, Gays team created a process for synthesizing a new electron