• 13 mins WTI At 7-Month High On Supply Optimism, Kurdistan Referendum
  • 7 hours Permian Still Holds 60-70 Billion Barrels Of Recoverable Oil
  • 12 hours Petrobras Creditors Agree To $6.22 Billion Debt Swap
  • 16 hours Cracks Emerge In OPEC-Russia Oil Output Cut Pact
  • 20 hours Iran Calls On OPEC To Sway Libya, Nigeria To Join Cut
  • 21 hours Chevron To Invest $4B In Permian Production
  • 23 hours U.S.-Backed Forces Retake Syrian Conoco Gas Plant From ISIS
  • 1 day Iraq Says Shell May Not Quit Majnoon Oilfield
  • 3 days Nigerian Oil Output Below 1.8 Million BPD Quota
  • 4 days Colorado Landfills Contain Radioactive Substances From Oil Sector
  • 4 days Phillips 66 Partners To Buy Phillips 66 Assets In $2.4B Deal
  • 4 days Japan Court Slams Tepco With Fukushima Damages Bill
  • 4 days Oil Spills From Pipeline After Syria Army Retakes Oil Field From ISIS
  • 4 days Total Joins Chevron In Gulf Of Mexico Development
  • 4 days Goldman Chief Urges Riyadh To Get Vision 2030 Going
  • 4 days OPEC Talks End Without Recommendation On Output Cut Extension
  • 4 days Jamaican Refinery Expansion Stalls Due To Venezuela’s Financial Woes
  • 4 days India In Talks to Acquire 20 Percent Of UAE Oilfield
  • 5 days The Real Cause Of Peak Gasoline Demand
  • 5 days Hundreds Of Vertical Oil Wells Damaged By Horizontal Fracking
  • 5 days Oil Exempt In Fresh Sanctions On North Korea
  • 5 days Sudan, South Sudan Sign Deal To Boost Oil Output
  • 5 days Peruvian Villagers Shut Down 50 Oil Wells In Protest
  • 5 days Bay Area Sues Big Oil For Billions
  • 5 days Lukoil Looks To Sell Italian Refinery As Crimea Sanctions Intensify
  • 5 days Kurdistan’s Biggest Source Of Oil Funds
  • 6 days Oil Prices On Track For Largest Q3 Gain Since 2004
  • 6 days Reliance Plans To Boost Capacity Of World’s Biggest Oil Refinery
  • 6 days Saudi Aramco May Unveil Financials In Early 2018
  • 6 days Has The EIA Been Overestimating Oil Production?
  • 6 days Taiwan Cuts Off Fossil Fuels To North Korea
  • 6 days Clash In Oil-Rich South Sudan Region Kills At Least 25
  • 6 days Lebanon Passes Oil Taxation Law Ahead Of First Licensing Auction
  • 7 days India’s Oil Majors To Lift Borrowing To Cover Dividends, Capex
  • 7 days Gulf Keystone Plans Further Oil Output Increase In Kurdistan
  • 7 days Venezuela’s Crisis Deepens As Hurricane Approaches
  • 7 days Tension Rises In Oil-Rich Kurdistan
  • 7 days Petrobras To Issue $2B New Bonds, Exchange Shorter-Term Debt
  • 7 days Kuwait Faces New Oil Leak Near Ras al-Zour
  • 8 days Sonatrach Aims To Reform Algiers Energy Laws
Alt Text

Oil Prices Plateau After OPEC Meeting

With oil markets tightening over…

Alt Text

U.S. Oil Rig Count Continues To Collapse

The total oil and gas…

‘Sponge-like’ Silicon May Mean Major Advance In Battery Technology

‘Sponge-like’ Silicon May Mean Major Advance In Battery Technology

For years, manufacturers have used graphite for one of the electrodes in lithium-ion batteries, but have hankered for a way to replace graphite with silicon, which can hold 10 times more energy.

Yet there’s a snag: Silicon swells when it holds a charge. Give it too much juice and it explodes.

Not any more. In a paper published July 8 in Nature Communications, Ji-Guang “Jason” Zhang said he and colleagues at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) have developed a porous, sponge-like form of silicon that gives the element “the room it needs to expand without breaking.”

Here’s how that lithium-ion battery in your smart phone or laptop works: The battery has two electrodes, a positively charged lithium electrode and a negatively charged graphite electrode. The battery generates electricity when electrons move along a wire connecting the two electrodes.
The movement of the electrons is controlled when lithium atoms, or ions, also move between the two electrodes through a conducting matrix called an electrolyte solution, which contains the two electrodes.

Anyone who owns a smart phone knows that his or her batteries simply don’t hold enough electricity long enough. That wasn’t lost on Zhang and his PNNL team, who knew that if they could keep silicon electrodes from exploding from a generous charge, the batteries could last around 30 percent longer than traditional lithium-ion batteries.

Related Article: How Food Can Build Better Lithium Batteries

So far, researchers have tested smaller amounts of silicon to replace graphite electrodes in hopes that their size would leave them room to expand, but their efforts haven’t panned out. Zhang and his team approached Michael Sailor, a chemist at the University of California who has developed a way to create porous silicon, and then they coated the samples with conductive carbon to make electrodes.

Zhang’s team also turned to the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory at PNNL, where materials scientist Chongmin Wang specializes in electron microscopy. Wang observed that while being charged, the silicon electrode expanded as usual, but the expansion filled the voids in its structure.

He observed that the periphery of the electrode expanded too, but only by 30 percent, not the dangerously explosive 300 percent common with a solid silicon electrode. What’s more, the silicon electrode kept more than 80 percent of its original storage capacity after more than 1,000 charge/discharge cycles.

These observations not only confirmed Zhang’s original guess that a porous piece of silicon could hold a charge without exploding, it also gave the PNNL team a better understanding of the physical and chemical changes in batteries as they charge and discharge.

The PNNL team’s work isn’t over, though. Their next project is to use the silicon sponge in a larger battery prototype with an eye to developing a cost-effective production process that would bring such an efficient batter to market.

By Andy Tully of Oilprice.com




Back to homepage


Leave a comment

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News