Researchers Develop New Electrode Material to Make Lithium Batteries More Efficient

Electrode materials in batteries are the medium through which stored energy from the battery is transferred


Japanese researchers have developed a new electrode material that they claim will make lithium batteries cheaper, more stable, and capable of holding more charge for longer periods.

The team was led by Naoaki Yabuuchi, a professor at Yokohama National University. He explained that while researchers have previously managed to improve the charge-holding capacity of lithium batteries, they have not been able to improve the amount of charge the batteries can disperse in a useful way.

“Electrode materials with higher energy density are needed to advance lithium-ion batteries and to further develop electric vehicles,” Yabuuchi said. “Our paper demonstrates a new electrode material for this purpose.”

Electrode materials in batteries are the medium through which stored energy from the battery is transferred to the device being powered by it. The electrode material plays a large role in how efficiently the battery operates.

Previously, researchers found that lithium ions mixed with manganese, titanium, and oxygen ions worked well, but the exchange speed was too slow to be practical. Now, Yabuuchi and his team have developed a method that results in a more robust exchange of electrons and lithium ions, which also helps batteries hold and discharge power better while lasting longer.

Lithium-ion batteries are the most used batteries in electronic devices, electric vehicles, and stationary energy storage. They are usually smaller, lighter, and more compact compared to alternatives like lead-acid or nickel-based batteries.

The downsides of lithium-ion batteries are that they are delicate and need protection from being over-charged and discharged too far, which usually requires additional circuitry. This leads to them being more expensive to manufacture.

Also, due to their relatively more volatile nature, there is a risk of them catching fire or exploding. Because of this, transporting them is problematic, and airlines generally impose restrictions on them.

Another issue that these batteries age and degrade much faster than their counterparts. They can only withstand a limited number of charge and discharge cycles, after which their charge-holding capacity drops.

Previously, Mercom reported that researchers from the Skoltech Center for Energy Science and Technology designed a new cathode material based on titanium fluoride phosphate, which is stated to be stable and has achieved superior performance at high discharge currents.

Earlier, researchers at Penn State University claimed to have developed a lithium-ion battery that is safe and has power and can last up to one million miles. A team of researchers at the Penn State’s Battery and Energy Storage Technology Center developed the battery.