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Increasing Charge Capacity of Lithium Batteries

Team of researchers based in Japan led by Naoaki Yabuuchi, professor at Yokohama National University, has developed a new electrode material to make lithium batteries cheaper and long-lasting with higher energy density.

Despite the promise of lithium batteries of many applications it tends to be prohibitively expensive. Results published by Professor Naoaki Yabuuchi and team in Materials Today demonstrated the use of a new electrode material with higher energy density.

According to Prof Yabuuchi, many have successfully improved the ability of the battery to hold a charge but have yet to improve the amount of charge the battery can disperse efficiently.

Within lithium batteries, electrode materials store the input of energy and discharge it to power the device it is connected to. The material of the electrode relies on the exchange of electrons and lithium ions which can significantly alter the effectiveness of battery operation.

In previous studies, researchers found that lithium ions mixed with manganese, titanium and oxygen ions provided an excellent input-output for electrons and lithium ions, but the exchange speed is too slow to use in practical battery applications

Prof Yabuuchi and his team then paired the usual chemical combination with a similar mixture of lithium, oxygen, manganese and titanium ions which can also be refined to a desired particle size. This will allow faster travel time even at room temperature.

These nano-sized electrodes comprised of manganese and titanium ions permitted a more robust exchange of electrons and lithium ions, producing a battery capable of holding and dispersing more charge; maintaining a longer life-span.

“Both titanium and manganese are abundant elements, meaning we can make cost-effective, without nickel and cobalt ions used for current electric vehicles, and high-performance electrode materials with them,” Yabuuchi said. “This finding contributes to the reduction of battery cost and an increase in the practical reality of such applications as electric vehicles and more.”

The team will be studying how to further improve the electrode reversibility through chemical compositions and particle size optimization.

“Now, we are collaborating with industry partners to utilize our electrode materials for practical applications,” Yabuuchi said. “Our study potentially leads to less dependence on fossil fuels and the development of a new energy society on the basis of renewable energy in the future, on the basis of ever-lasting, high-energy batteries.” [APBN]