HOUSTON, USA – Rice University researchers have discovered a new technique that improves the capacity, the life and reduces cost of rechargeable lithium batteries.
The findings of the project were advised in Nature’s Scientific Reports by a team that is led by RICE engineer Sibani Lisa Biswal and research scientist Madhuri Thakur.
The scientists reported on the creation of a silicon-based anode (negative electrode of a battery) with an achievement of 600 charge-discharge cycles at 1 000 milliamp hours per gram (mAh/g). At present, graphite-based anodes offer only about one-third of the silicon-based anode, that is, 350 mAh/g.
Although silicon can accommodate about 10 times more lithium ions than graphite, it increases in volume by more than three times when it is lithiated. Furthermore, the element breaks down when the process is repeated a number of times.
To overcome the issue, researchers crushed porous silicon film into a powder form, which gives silicon more space to expand, and is easily adaptable by battery manufacturers.
This silicon-based material is said to be very cost effective, simple to synthesize, and gives out high-energy-capacity over a large number of cycles.