New battery material gets better performance from charging

New battery material gets better performance from charging

Over the last decade, advances in research and development have led to more efficient lithium-ion batteries. Yet, significant shortcomings remain. One challenge is the need for faster charging, which can help speed the adoption of electric vehicles.

A research team led by Boise State University and the University of California San Diego has used resources of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory to create a high-performance material for battery electrodes. The compound, niobium pentoxide, has a novel crystalline structure that scientists say shows promise for speeding up charging while providing excellent storage capacity.

During charging, lithium ions move from the positive electrode (cathode) to the negative electrode (anode), commonly made of graphite. At higher charging speeds, lithium metal tends to accumulate on the graphite’s surface. This effect, known as plating, tends to degrade performance and can cause batteries to short circuit, overheat and catch on fire.

Niobium pentoxide is much less susceptible to plating, researchers say, potentially making it safer and more durable than graphite. In addition, its atoms can arrange in many different stable configurations that don’t require much energy to reconfigure. This presents opportunities for researchers to discover new structures that could enhance battery performance.

For this study, the researchers built a coin cell with niobium pentoxide as the electrode material. (A coin cell, also known as a button cell, is a small, circular-shaped battery device.) The niobium pentoxide had an amorphous structure — in other words, a disordered arrangement of atoms. When the cell was charged and discharged numerous times, the disordered structure transformed into an ordered, crystalline one.

Compared to the disordered arrangement, the crystalline structure enabled easier, faster transport of lithium ions into the anode during charging, researchers say. This points to the material’s promise for fast charging, and other measurements suggest that it can store a large amount of charge.

It is very difficult to make high-performance, crystalline niobium pentoxide with traditional synthesis methods, such as those that subject materials to heat and pressure. The unconventional synthesis approach used successfully in this study — charging and discharging a battery cell — could be applied to make other innovative battery materials. It could potentially even support the fabrication of novel materials in other fields, such as semiconductors and catalysts, the researchers say.

The study was published in Nature Materials in May 2022.

You May Also Like

Enpower Greentech develops semi-solid state battery pack

Enpower Greentech’s energy-dense semi-solid state “Swift” batteries contain less liquid electrolyte, making it a lighter chemistry choice.

Enpower_Greentech_Swift_EV_Battery_Pack-1400

Enpower Greentech developed an A-Sample battery pack that was designed for class-1 commercial EV customers. The module utilizes Enpower Greentech's energy-dense semi-solid state "Swift" batteries, which contain less liquid electrolyte, making it a safer and lighter chemistry choice for e-mobility when compared to other lithium-ion batteries commonly found in use today, Enpower said.

StoreDot CEO sets focus on production of XFC battery tech in 2024

StoreDot intends to showcase the world’s first EV fitted with XFC battery cell technology this year.

Doron-Myersdorf-StoreDot-CEO-1400
Autel introduces the MaxiCharger DC HiPower to US consumers at CES

The North American expansion began with facilities in Anaheim and North Carolina, with further developments across Europe, APAC and other regions.

Autel-Energy-maxicharger
Presto customers to access EVCS’ network under new partnership

Through the Presto app, fleets will be able to locate EVCS sites to access live status information of availability for charging sessions.

BorgWarner-Santroll-eMotor-Handshake
Hyundai promises hydrogen-powered, software transformation at CES

The company highlighted its future blueprint for a hydrogen energy ecosystem and a vision for software and artificial intelligence (AI).

Hyundai-EV-North-American-Charging-Standard-1400

Other Posts

Cold weather range loss and EVs: Separating fact from fiction

EVs are frequently criticized during colder months for the range loss they experience, but is this criticism valid?

EV-Cold-Weather-Range-1400
StoreDot produces XFC silicon prismatic battery cells

Prismatic cells, which are rectangular and stacked in layers, now represent the form factor of choice for EV manufacturers.

StoreDot-achieves-major-commercialization-milestone-with-first-prismatic-XFC-battery-cells
Monolith partners with About:Energy

The immediate focus for the partnership is automotive, with the potential to roll out to other transport sectors, such as micromobility.

Monolith-AI-platform
Black Book, Recurrent team up on Battery Adjusted Values

Black Book said its Battery Adjusted Values will apply an additional increase or decrease to Black Book’s VIN-specific valuations.

Canada-EV-standard-1400