• 5 minutes Mike Shellman's musings on "Cartoon of the Week"
  • 11 minutes Permian already crested the productivity bell curve - downward now to Tier 2 geological locations
  • 17 minutes WTI @ 67.50, charts show $62.50 next
  • 6 hours The Discount Airline Model Is Coming for Europe’s Railways
  • 12 hours Pakistan: "Heart" Of Terrorism and Global Threat
  • 1 day Newspaper Editorials Across U.S. Rebuke Trump For Attacks On Press
  • 33 mins Desperate Call or... Erdogan Says Turkey Will Boycott U.S. Electronics
  • 11 hours Saudi Fund Wants to Take Tesla Private?
  • 14 mins Venezuela set to raise gasoline prices to international levels.
  • 1 day Batteries Could Be a Small Dotcom-Style Bubble
  • 21 hours Starvation, horror in Venezuela
  • 1 day France Will Close All Coal Fired Power Stations By 2021
  • 1 day Don't Expect Too Much: Despite a Soaring Economy, America's Annual Pay Increase Isn't Budging
  • 4 hours Corporations Are Buying More Renewables Than Ever
  • 12 hours Scottish Battery ‘Breakthrough’ Could Charge Electric Cars In Seconds
  • 20 hours WTI @ 69.33 headed for $70s - $80s end of August
Why China Will Continue To Buy Iranian Crude

Why China Will Continue To Buy Iranian Crude

While the United States sanctions…

WTI Set For Longest Weekly Losing Streak Since 2015

WTI Set For Longest Weekly Losing Streak Since 2015

West Texas Intermediate crude was…

Taking The Ion Out Of Lithium-ion To Increase Power Storage

Lithium-ion batteries are everywhere because today’s technology allows them to hold the most electricity of any other portable power source. But they could hold more if they ditched the ion in the battery’s anode and used only lithium.

But lithium alone makes for an unstable battery – until today. Stanford University researchers say they’ve taken a major step toward developing a lithium-only device that could hold up to four times the power of comparably sized lithium-ion batteries. Their research was published July 27 in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

“You might be able to have cell phone with double or triple the battery life or an electric car with a range of 300 miles that cost only $25,000 – competitive with an internal combustion engine getting 40 mpg,” said team member Steven Chu, the Nobel laureate and former U.S. energy secretary who recently returned to Stanford.

Under today’s technology, a battery’s key components include the anode, a negative pole from which electrons flow to a device such as car or a smart phone, and the cathode, where the electrons return to the battery, completing the electrical circuit. Between them is a solid or liquid electrolyte containing positively charged lithium ions that shuttle between the anode and the cathode.

Today’s anodes are made of graphite or silicon, but they don’t hold as much of a charge as pure lithium. But during use, the material in an anode tends to expand during charging. Silicon and graphite don’t expand very much, but the Stanford team says the growth of lithium in an anode is “virtually infinite” and uneven, causing bulges and eventually cracks on the battery’s exterior.

Related Article: Batteries May Finally Be Having Their Day

That allows lithium ions to escape, forming microscopic branchlike growths called dendrites, which short circuit the battery and limit its longevity.

Further, pure lithium reacts negatively with the electrolyte, depleting it and further shortening the battery’s life. Finally, contact between an anode and an electrolyte generates heat, and sometimes even fire or an explosion, and therefore are unsafe, as demonstrated by recent battery fires in batteries in Boeing Dreamliners and Tesla electric cars.

So the Stanford team built a layer of interconnected carbon domes – “nanospheres” resembling a honeycomb – to cover anodes made of pure lithium. This layer is only 20 nanometers, or billionths of a meter, thick, yet it keeps the lithium from reacting with the electrolyte. And it’s flexible, so it can keep insulating the lithium as it expands and contracts during charge and discharge.

If the Stanford research pans out, it would achieve the “Holy Grail” of batteries, according to Yi Cui, a professor of material science and engineering and the team leader. “[Pure lithium] is very lightweight and it has the highest energy density,” he said. “You get more power per volume and weight, leading to lighter, smaller batteries with more power.”

By Andy Tully of Oilprice.com



Join the discussion | Back to homepage

Leave a comment
  • Billy on September 16 2014 said:
    Power is the rate of doing work.
    A rate can be stored just by writing it down on a peice of paper.
    A battery that can store energy (power X time) is much more useful.
    Stanford professors should study physics.

Leave a comment

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