Re-energizing the lithium-ion battery

Re-Energizing the  Lithium-Ion Battery
Lithium ions (not explicitly shown) are surrounded by an average of 4.5 molecules of propylene carbonate, a model for the liquid electrolyte used in batteries. Scientists created this model using fundamental electronic structure calculations to interpret experimentally measured x-ray absorption spectra. Credit: Smith et al. Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 16, 23568-23575 (2014). Published by the PCCP Owner Societies.

High costs, slow recharging rates, and limited lifetimes restrict the utility of lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles, storing electricity from wind or solar power, and other applications. Scientists are resolving these deficiencies; however, few have focused on a key interaction that influences battery behavior—how the lithium ions move from one electrode to the other. Researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California-Berkeley have taken up the challenge. Using experiments and theoretical calculations, they showed that the lithium ion's journey involves more intimate contact with the electrolyte molecules than previously thought.

These findings suggest that computational models need to be refined to account for the higher number of electrolyte molecules surrounding the (its solvation structure) when representing the lithium ion-electrolyte interaction. The improved modeling of the lithium ion solvation structure could allow lithium-ion batteries to take on new applications.

In recent years, lithium-ion batteries have saturated the electronics market due to their widespread use in cell phones, laptop computers, and tablets. As they comprise such a crucial aspect of modern technology, billions of dollars have been spent to maximize the usefulness of the . Yet shortcomings, such as high cost, slow recharging rates, and limited lifetimes, restrict the utility of these batteries. Various aspects of the lithium-ion have been targeted by research seeking to remedy these deficiencies; however, little effort has been focused on discerning exactly how the lithium ions move from one electrode to the other.

Researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California-Berkeley have honed in on this very aspect by investigating the detailed solvation structure of the lithium ion. Using liquid microjets to measure x-ray absorption spectra, interpreted using first-principles theory calculations, this group has determined that the lithium ion has a solvation number of 4.5, which varies from the expected tetrahedral structure. These findings suggest that future computational models should expand beyond the current tetrahedral model to improve upon the electrolytes within the battery. The improvement of the lithium-ion battery based on these findings could be another step towards making the batteries even more useful for large-scale applications.


Explore further

Researchers open possible avenue to better electrolyte for lithium ion batteries

More information: Jacob W. Smith et al. X-Ray absorption spectroscopy of LiBFin propylene carbonate: a model lithium ion battery electrolyte, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. (2014). DOI: 10.1039/C4CP03240C
Citation: Re-energizing the lithium-ion battery (2016, November 23) retrieved 21 May 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2016-11-re-energizing-lithium-ion-battery.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
17 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Nov 23, 2016
I hope they find away to keep them practical for other applications. I am planning to use restored car batteries for the house soon.

Nov 23, 2016
I am planning to use restored car batteries for the house soon.
lead acid battery is good for you and your family as tobacco and asbestos.
https://en.wikipe...ironment
https://en.wikipe...l_impact
https://en.wikipe...y#Safety

Nov 23, 2016
With 12,000 miles on our year-old e-Golf, I see no battery fade at all, no loss in storage or accessible current. That is probably after about 300 charges. Long time to go yet.

This area is saturated with the Prius, and soon those will be available. It will be interesting to see what happens to the different battery types and their eventual uses.

It may be time to sell utility stocks.

Nov 24, 2016
On NHK last night was a story of a company in Japan already refurbishing used EV batteries for later use, probably as home storage.

It didn't take long.

Nov 25, 2016
The four or five of you who give me "ones" out of uncontrollable emotions should really look into electric transportation. And it is not just because I was on EV committees for the Electric Power Research Institute while working at PG&E. It is because the differences are significant, and will eventually kill most of the ICE applications.

You vote me down knowing you will each have one yourself, even as you disparage what we have done and you have not.

EVs will win, and the rest of you deniers will lose this one. Just like nukes for power.

Nov 25, 2016
You vote me down knowing you will each have one yourself, even as you disparage what we have done and you have not
Naw we vote you down because you post stuff like
I was on EV committees for the Electric Power Research Institute while working at PG&E
-while claiming to be a senior engr when we know that PG&E doesnt hire non-licenced and un-educated people for senior level engr positions.

Plus we know that if you did somehow manage to get the position you were quickly found out, and got shunted to your team-teaching lunch-and-learn canned-presentations-prepared-by-real-engrs stint, which you went ahead and lost as well.

Plus we know that as a compulsive liar its a safe bet that every post of yours is likely bullshit so we just 1/5 every single one of them without needing to check them and confirm the obvious.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more