From mobile phones to laptops, from electric cars to airplanes, lithium-ion batteries are currently widely used in the industry. Therefore, every performance improvement of lithium batteries will have a wide-ranging impact on the world. Some of these improvements are incremental advancements in experimenting with alternative materials, while some come from reimagining the entire device and how it works. Recently, the University of Twente in the Netherlands has developed a new type of lithium-ion battery that can charge 10 times faster than current batteries.
This is largely due to the brand new anode. Scientists at the University of Twente used a material called nickel niobate to make an anode. This material has an “open and regular”” crystal structure with identical, repeating channels, making it ideal for ion transport.
When the battery cycles, lithium ions move back and forth between the two electrodes, but not all lithium ions can complete the journey. This causes electrochemically inactive lithium “islands” to form between the two electrodes and disconnect from the electrodes. These clumps cause the storage capacity of the device to decrease and even cause it to catch fire.
These stability problems come from the needle-like protrusions called “dendrites” formed on the lithium metal anode during the charging process, which causes the battery’s performance to decline, fail or even catch fire. Li and his colleagues tried to overcome this problem by replacing the battery’s liquid electrolyte with a pair of solid electrolytes, which were layered together in a BLT-style sandwich and safely controlled and contained when dendrites were formed. they.
The new lithium battery uses nickel niobate (NiNb2O6) as the material. Nickel niobate has a unique crystal structure and has the same and repeated ion transmission channels. In terms of material manufacturing, there is no need to assemble in a clean room. In addition, nickel niobate is denser and has a higher volumetric energy density than graphite, and has a greater chance of creating lighter and simpler commercial batteries.
In the test, the team found that it retained 82% of its capacity after 10,000 cycles, and the most encouraging thing is that the current density it demonstrated could one day enable electric vehicles to be fully charged in 20 minutes.