In a new development, a new anode material discovered enables safe charging of lithium-ion batteries within minutes for thousands of cycles. Developed by scientists at University of California, San Diego – the new anode material known as disordered rock salt is composed of lithium abundantly available on earth, vanadium, and oxygen atoms, wherein the atoms are arranged similar to ordinary kitchen salt, albeit randomly. The material is promising for commercial applications where both high power and high energy density are desired, such as electric cars, drills, or vacuum cleaners.
The study jointly carried out by nanoengineers is published in the journal Nature.
Meanwhile, currently, two materials are used as anodes in most of the commercially available lithium-ion batteries. These batteries power products such as laptops, cellphones, and electric vehicles.
Commonly used Graphite Anode has drawbacks too
Of them, graphite anode – which is most common – is extremely energy dense. For instance, a lithium ion battery with graphite anode can provide electrical energy to car for hundreds of miles without the need of recharge. However, recharge of a graphite anode can quickly result in fire and blow up due to a process known as lithium metal plating. On the other hand, lithium titanate anode – a safer alternative – can be recharge rapidly but results in significant reduction of energy density. This implies the battery needs to be recharged frequently.
A middle ground for this is Li3V2O5 – a anode of new disordered rock salt. The new material is safer to use than graphite, with the added advantage to power at least 71% more than lithium titanate.
Whilst capacity and energy are little less than graphite, but it is safer, faster, and has a longer life. The new material features much lower voltage, and hence better energy density than currently used commercial lithium-titanate charging anodes.