Carbon Nanotube Electrodes Boost Power in Lithium Batteries, Study Says

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Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology say they have developed a positive electrode made of carbon nanotubes that enables lithium-ion batteries to deliver ten times more power than a conventional battery.

If produced on an industrial scale, these carbon nanotube electrodes could significantly extend the range of electric vehicles, the MIT scientists say.

Reporting in the journal, Nature Nanotechnology, the MIT researchers write that the secret to their technology is that their carbon nanotubes contain a very high surface area for storing and reacting with lithium.

Lithium-ion batteries are charged and discharged when lithium ions move from one electrode to the other, so using carbon nanotubes with high surface area greatly increases a battery’s total storage capacity and the speed with which ions move from one electrode to another.

The MIT researchers, which have licensed their technology to an undisclosed battery company, are experimenting with different methods — such as misting — of applying the carbon nanotube solution to a substrate that will enable the electrodes to be used in mass production of batteries.

Article appearing courtesy Yale Environment 360

photo: ghutchis

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Yale Environment 360 is an online magazine offering opinion, analysis, reporting and debate on global environmental issues. We feature original articles by scientists, journalists, environmentalists, academics, policy makers, and business people, as well as multimedia content and a daily digest of major environmental news. Yale Environment 360 is published by the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and Yale University. We are funded in part by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The opinions and views expressed in Yale Environment 360 are those of the authors and not of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies or of Yale University.

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