Science Gazette

A promising anode material for lithium-ion batteries will be available soon

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The suggested stable anode material, which is manufactured from bio-based polymers, might allow electric cars to charge their batteries more faster.

Scientists have created a novel anode material that enables for rapid charging to overcome the long charging periods of traditional lithium-ion batteries. This innovative material was created using a simple, ecologically friendly, and efficient method that included the calcination of a bio-based polymer. It also preserved the majority of its original capacity after thousands of cycles. The outcomes of this research will pave the way for electric car batteries that are both fast-charging and long-lasting.

As a result of the growing worry about climate change, an increasing number of academics are focused on developing electric vehicles (EVs) to make them a more appealing alternative to traditional gas automobiles. The upgrading of EV batteries is a critical problem in attracting more drivers. Aside from safety, autonomy, and durability, most consumers desire charging to be rapid. It now takes 40 minutes for state-of-the-art EVs to’recharge,’ but gas vehicles can be’recharged’ in less than five minutes. To be a feasible choice, the charging time must be less than 15 minutes.

Lithium-ion batteries (LIBs), which are ubiquitous in portable electronic devices, have been acknowledged as a viable choice in the area of electric vehicles, and new tactics are constantly being developed to increase their performance. Increasing the diffusion rate of lithium ions, which may be done by increasing the interlayer spacing in the carbon-based materials used in the battery’s anode, is one technique to reduce the charging time of LIBs. While injecting nitrogen impurities (officially referred to as ‘nitrogen doping’) has been successful in the past, there is no easy way to regulate interlayer distance or concentrate the doping ingredient.

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In light of this, a group of scientists from Japan’s Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (JAIST) has devised an anode production method that might lead to extraordinarily quick LIB charging. Prof. Tatsuo Kaneko, Senior Lecturer Rajashekar Badam, JAIST Technical Specialist Koichi Higashimine, JAIST Research Fellow Yueying Peng, and JAIST student Kottisa Sumala Patnaik make up the team led by Prof. Noriyoshi Matsumi, and their findings were published online on November 24, 2021 in Chemical Communications.

Their method is a low-cost, ecologically friendly, and highly efficient technique to make a carbon-based anode with a high nitrogen concentration. The anode’s precursor material is poly (benzimidazole), a bio-based polymer that may be made from biologically derived raw materials. The team was able to manufacture a carbon anode with a record-setting nitrogen concentration of 17 percent in weight by calcinating this thermally stable material at 800 °C. They used a range of methods to verify the material’s successful synthesis and investigate its composition and structural features, including scanning electron tunneling microscopy, Raman spectroscopy, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy.

The researchers produced half-cells and full-cells, as well as charge-discharge tests, to evaluate their anode’s performance and compare it to that of more typical graphite. The findings were quite encouraging, since the suggested anode material was shown to be appropriate for rapid charging due to its improved lithium-ion kinetics. Furthermore, after 3,000 charge-discharge cycles at high rates, the batteries with the suggested anode material kept roughly 90% of their original capacity, which is much larger than the capacity preserved by graphite-based cells.

Professor Matsumi expresses his delight at the findings, saying, “Because of the extraordinarily quick charging rate of the anode material we developed, it may be appropriate for use in electric vehicles. Much faster charging times would ideally encourage people to select electric cars over gasoline-powered vehicles, resulting in cleaner surroundings in all major cities across the globe.”

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Another major benefit of the suggested anode material is that it is made from a bio-based polymer. As a low-carbon technology, the material has a natural synergistic effect, lowering CO2 emissions even further. “The adoption of our technique will enhance the research of structure-property correlations in anode materials with fast charge-discharge capabilities,” Professor Matsumi adds.

Modifications to the polymer precursor’s structure might lead to even greater performance, which could be useful for batteries in EVs as well as portable gadgets. Finally, the development of long-lasting batteries would reduce worldwide demand for rare metals, which are nonrenewable resources.

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