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The current thinking of "future lithium battery"

Sep. 08, 2020

Introduction: Lithium-ion technology has changed the way we communicate and the power supply of portable devices, and is now driving the revolution in global transportation and energy supply. A new paper published by Arumugam Manthiram of the University of Texas at Austin examines the development of this technology, from the initial discovery of the 1970s to the consideration of researchers studying "future batteries" today.

In the 1970s, M. of ExxonMobil Corporation. Stanley Whittingham demonstrated the lithium metal anode and titanium sulfide cathode rechargeable battery for the first time, which provided a proof of concept for the latest advances in the understanding of insertion chemistry. This battery is hindered by the low voltage and energy density, and the growth of dendrites on the lithium metal anode-this is a problem that scientists are still trying to solve.

The next Manthiram focuses on the work of the John Goodenough team in the 1980s, which won the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. This involves the design of an oxide cathode, which allows increasing the voltage in the battery. Goodenough's group also divided oxide cathodes into three categories (layered, spinel, and polyanion), which is still the only practical cathode type to date and serves as the basis for future development.


Finally, Goodenough's group's further work in the 1980s, led by visiting researcher Koichi Mizushima, demonstrated for the first time a lithium battery with a carbon anode and a lithium cobalt oxide cathode. It represents the first time that the technology has overcome safety and energy density issues and emerged as something ready for commercialization.

But as society's demand for batteries continues to increase, these concerns remain at the core of lithium-ion technology research.

Manthiram said: "We need to increase the energy density by increasing the charge storage capacity of the cathode and anode, increasing the working voltage of the cathode, or ideally simultaneously increasing the charge storage capacity and working voltage. To achieve these goals, new or more Good electrode materials and electrolytes. New synthesis and processing methods and computer modeling can help these tasks."

Manthiram pointed out that in the short term, he expects to focus his research on layered oxide cathodes that contain more nickel, less cobalt or no content, and add silicon to the graphite anode to increase energy density.

In the future, a large number of technologies will eventually prove their value. Manthiram said: "Lithium-ion batteries will maintain their leading position in energy storage, especially in the electrification of the transportation sector."

According to the analysis of the Micro Lithium Battery Group, lithium-sulfur batteries can further increase energy density while reducing costs in the future. Sodium ion batteries can enhance sustainability. Ultimately, all-solid-state batteries can further increase energy density and improve safety.


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