MIT Researchers Create Better Lithium Batteries

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Lithium-ion batteries are everywhere these days. From cellphones to electric cars, they dominate the market for rechargeable devices. One of the main challenges faced by the electric vehicle industry is related to the energy density of electric car batteries.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) say they have found a way to improve the energy density of a type of battery known as lithium-air or lithium-oxygen. The promise is that it could pack several times more energy per pound than lithium-ion batteries that currently dominate the market.

Last year, researchers had demonstrated that lithium-air batteries showed improved efficiency with catalysts based on noble metal. Now they have found they can further improve it by creating carbon-fiber-based electrodes that are substantially more porous than other carbon electrodes.

This means they can store the solid oxidized lithium that fills the pores more efficiently as the battery discharges.

“We grow vertically aligned arrays of carbon nanofibers using a chemical vapor deposition process. These carpet-like arrays provide a highly conductive, low-density scaffold for energy storage,” explained Robert Mitchell, co-author of the paper. “We were able to create a novel carpet-like material – composed of more than 90 percent void space – that can be filled by the reactive material during battery operation,” said Yang Shao-Horn, a senior author of the paper.

Article by Antonio Pasolini, a Brazilian writer and video art curator based in London, UK. He holds a BA in journalism and an MA in film and television.

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Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.

1 Comment

  1. I just read this article and it’s really a good news if that’s true, the longer life of lithium battery will help many people and i can’t wait to see it how it’s gonna work for everyone. Nice info.

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