Taking charge: Researchers team up to make better batteries
Phys.org - Mon 15 Jul 20:55 GMT

A Florida State University and Cornell University research team found that batteries built from inexpensive and safe components can deliver three to four times the punch of batteries built with today's state-of-the-art lithium ion technology.

  Assistant Professor Jose Mendoza-Cortes and postdoctoral researcher A. Nijamudheen teamed with researchers from Cornell to design a more efficient battery.

  A. Nijamudheen, a postdoctoral researcher at the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering, and Snehashis Choudhury, a doctoral student at Cornell University, along with faculty members at both institutions embarked on an ambitious investigation into what hampers current battery design and how to improve it.

  With the hope of bringing those costs down, researchers tackled a few specific problems related to electrolytes, a critical part of a battery's construction that promotes the movement of ions from one electrode to the other.

  "While the degradation process itself is harmless, its byproducts block ions from accessing the battery electrodes, which over time reduces the amount of stored energy than can be recovered from a battery," said Lynden Archer, a Cornell University professor and Choudhury's adviser.

  With their polymerization calculations in hand, the researchers began investigating other types of electrolytes where the polymerization process wouldn't impede the battery's performance.

  The SEI is a protective layer formed on the negative electrode as a result of electrolyte decomposition, usually during a battery's first cycle.

  The researchers engineered a new type of SEI that forms spontaneously in a battery cell using sacrificial salt or molecular species introduced via the electrolytes.