A research team from Australia’s Deakin University has successfully developed a new type of solid-electrolyte solution that addresses the safety concerns of the existing lithium batteries for mobile phones, notebook PCs, and electric cars.
The new solution is made with a specially designed solid polymer material that is weakly bonded to the lithium ion to replace the volatile liquid solvents of the existing battery cells. Aside from the traditional lithium batteries, the new battery technology can also be applied to the coin cell batteries of smart watches and pouch cell batteries.
The new technology is currently applicable to the anodes of lithium batteries, which are known to use graphite anodes. Graphite anodes have traditionally been an unstable material, as they have a tendency to react with air and water and would release lithium ions during the charging and discharging process. The leaking of the lithium ions would lead to the formation of dendrites on the surface of the electrode and jeopardize the overall safety and stability of the lithium battery. Although scientists have tried to substitute lithium anode for graphite anode, the results are still being confined in the laboratory.
The new battery technology, if proven successful, will have a significant impact on the performances and safety of lithium batteries. With the help of the new technology, a lithium battery’s overall energy density could increase to as high as 500 Wh/kg; This will make it easier for the battery developers to manufacture high-performing lithium batteries with lower cost and lighter weight.
The results of the team's study and findings can be found in the latest issue of “Joule Journal.”
(Collaborative media: TechNews, photo courtesy of Flickr/massmatt CC BY 2.0)