Step to­wards bet­ter ‘be­yond lithium’ bat­ter­ies

Chemical Industry Digest - - Science Pages -

Astep to­wards new ‘be­yond lithium’ recharge­able bat­ter­ies with su­pe­rior per­for­mance has been made by re­searchers at the Uni­ver­sity of Bath, UK.

An ap­proach to de­velop bat­ter­ies that store more en­ergy is to use “mul­ti­va­lent” me­tals in­stead of lithium. In mul­ti­va­lent bat­ter­ies, lithium would be re­placed by a dif­fer­ent me­tal that trans­fers more than one elec­tron per ion. For bat­ter­ies of equal size, this would give mul­ti­va­lent bat­ter­ies bet­ter en­ergy stor­age ca­pac­ity and per­for­mance.

The team showed that ti­ta­nium diox­ide can be mod­i­fied to al­low it to be used as an elec­trode in mul­ti­va­lent bat­ter­ies, pro­vid­ing a valu­able proof of con­cept in their de­vel­op­ment.

For the study pub­lished in Na­ture Ma­te­ri­als, the sci­en­tists, an in­ter­na­tional team from the Uni­ver­sity of Bath, France, Ger­many, Hol­land, and the USA, in­tro­duced de­fects in ti­ta­nium diox­ide to form high con­cen­tra­tions of mi­cro­scopic holes, and showed these can be re­versibly oc­cu­pied by mag­ne­sium and alu­minium; which carry more than one elec­tron per ion.

Dr Ben­jamin Mor­gan, from the Depart­ment of Chem­istry at the Uni­ver­sity of Bath, said, “Mul­ti­va­lent bat­ter­ies are a re­ally ex­cit­ing di­rec­tion for bat­tery tech­nol­ogy, po­ten­tially of­fer­ing higher charge den­si­ties and bet­ter per­for­mance. New bat­tery tech­nolo­gies are go­ing to be more and more im­por­tant as we wean our­selves off fos­sil fu­els and adopt greener en­ergy sources.

“We’ve shown a way to mod­ify ti­ta­nium diox­ide to turn it into a mul­ti­va­lent elec­trode.In the long term, this proof of con­cept is a pos­si­ble step to­wards “be­yond lithium” bat­ter­ies with su­pe­rior per­for­mance,” added Mor­gan.

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