Scientists Double Performance of Lithium Metal Batteries

Lithium Metal Batteries

The biggest challenge for the electric vehicles primed to go mainstream and the cell phones we use is quick drainage of battery. This makes the range of EVs limited and generates need to charge cell phones every now and then. To overcome the issue, researchers at the University of Michigan have developed a rechargeable battery that could serve to increase the output of the current crop of lithium ion cells almost twofold. Lithium Metal Batteries would help to dramatically up the range of the electric vehicles and also slow down drainage of cell phone charge. What’s even better, the new technology would not even take up additional space.

To achieve the feat, researchers used an electrolyte in solid state to capture the power of batteries made from lithium metal. This was sans the typical problems of short circuiting and reduced durability. This has enabled them to lay the foundation of the futuristic rechargeable batteries.

New Crop of Batteries do Not Catch Fire Easily

Already, the rechargeable lithium metal batteries have come a long way from the ones using liquid electrolytes in the 1980s. At that point in time, those were considered a breakthrough invention and were used mainly for the first generation portable phones. But they sometimes burst into flames when charged because of the formation of dendrites. Then in 1991 a more evolved version – the lithium ion battery – was introduced.

The lithium ion batteries that we use today max out with a total energy density of around 600 watt-hours per liter at the cell level. However, in principal, the batteries in solid state can achieve 1,200 watt-hours per liter.

In order to overcome the challenge, the team of engineers created a ceramic layer that can stabilize the surface so as to stop formation of dendrites and thus preventing fires. It enables batteries to tap into the advantages of lithium metal such as high energy density and high conductivity without having to deal with the sudden fires. The absence of liquids prevents fires. It also helps to maintain the battery life without any degradation.

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