'Holy grail' of battery design-a stable lithium anode

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    STANFORD TEAM ACHIEVES 'HOLY GRAIL' OF BATTERY DESIGN: A STABLE LITHIUM ANODE

    Home » About » News & Updates » Stanford Team Achieves 'Holy Grail' of Battery Design: A Stable Lithium Anode

    The development could lead to smaller, cheaper and more efficient rechargeable batteries.

    Andrew Myers | Stanford Engineering

    Engineers across the globe have been racing to design smaller, cheaper and more efficient rechargeable batteries to meet the power storage needs of everything from handheld gadgets to electric cars.

    In a paper published today in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, researchers at Stanford University report that they have taken a big step toward accomplishing what battery designers have been trying to do for decades – design a pure lithium anode.

    All batteries have three basic components: an electrolyte to provide electrons, an anode to discharge those electrons and a cathode to receive them.

    Today, we say we have lithium batteries, but that is only partly true. What we have are lithium ion batteries. The lithium is in the electrolyte but not in the anode. An anode of pure lithium would be a huge boost to battery efficiency.

    “Of all the materials that one might use in an anode, lithium has the greatest potential. Some call it the Holy Grail,” said Yi Cui, a professor of Materials Science and Engineering and leader of the research team. “It is very lightweight, and it has the highest energy density. You get more power per volume and weight, leading to lighter, smaller batteries with more power.”

    But engineers have long tried and failed to reach this Holy Grail.

    “Lithium has major challenges that have made its use in anodes difficult. Many engineers had given up the search, but we found a way to protect the lithium from the problems that have plagued it for so long,” said Guangyuan Zheng, a doctoral candidate in Cui’s lab and first author of the paper.

    In addition to Cui and Zheng, the research team includes Steven Chu, the former U.S. Secretary of Energy and Nobel Laureate who recently resumed his professorship at Stanford.

    “In practical terms, if we can triple the energy density and simultaneously decrease the cost four-fold, that would be very exciting. We would have a cell phone with triple the battery life and an electric vehicle with a 300 mile range that cost $25,000 – and with better performance than an internal combustion engine car getting 40 mpg,” Chu said.

    full story.........

    http://engineering.stanford.edu/new...oly-grail-battery-design-stable-lithium-anode
 
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