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High-Capacity Lithium-Ion Batteries Could Double Charge Capacity

Smartphone and automobile batteries could last two times longer than before. Credit goes to a Northwestern University research team that has found a way to stabilize a battery that increases charge capacity to a record high.

The proposed battery is based on a lithium-manganese-oxide cathode and has one of the “highest-ever reported capacities for all transition-metal-oxide-based electrodes.”

“It’s more than double the capacity of materials currently in your cell phone or laptop,” said Christopher Wolverton, the research lead. He is also a professor of Materials Science and Engineering in Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering.

He added, “This sort of high capacity would represent a large advancement to the goal of lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles.”

The reason behind the material’s high capacity is that it includes oxygen in the reaction process. Oxygen – along with the transition metal – increases the battery’s ability to store and use more lithium.

The research was supported as a part of the Center for Electrochemical Energy Science, an Energy Frontier Research Center funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, and Basic Energy Sciences.

To stabilize the battery, the team used high-throughput computations. They explored new ways to alloy the compound with other elements that could enhance the battery’s performance.

The computations showed that mixing chromium or vanadium with lithium manganese oxide produces stable compounds that can maintain high capacity. The research team will continue to test the theoretical compounds in the laboratory.

The battery is rechargeable and cheaper than traditional lithium-cobalt-oxide batteries. It has immense potential to be used in smartphone and electric vehicles to boost battery life.

The lower cost of the batteries could bring down the price of electric vehicles, which is currently a hindrance to their popularity.

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