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Electrodes with 80% silicon covered with polymer, the solution to achieve more capable, cheaper and longer lasting batteries

A team of scientists from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (United States) has developed a conductive polymer coating that could lead to more powerful and longer-lasting batteries. The coating, which has been dubbed HOS-PFM, simultaneously conducts electrons and ions, ensuring battery stability and high charge/discharge rates, further extending battery life.

“This breakthrough opens up a new approach to developing batteries that are more affordable and easier to manufacture”Explain gao liu, the senior scientist in Berkeley Lab’s Energy Technologies Area who led the development of this novel material. It is estimated that HOS-PFM could extend the life of a lithium battery by 10 to 15 years on average.

This coating allows the use of electrodes with up to 80% silicon, which translates into an increase in the energy density of the cells of at least 30%. Silicon is a material with enormous potential, however, it tends to wear out rapidly after multiple charge/discharge cycles, a problem that HOS-PFM appears to remedy.

On the other hand, it is interesting to note that silicon is cheaper than graphite, so as a side effect the price of batteries is also reduced. During the experiments carried out by the team, HOS-PFM significantly prevented the silicon and aluminum electrodes used from degrading, offering a rate of return similar to that of current state-of-the-art electrodes.

Berkeley Lab

Silicon is a material with enormous potential in the sector

HOS-PFM is made from a non-toxic polymer that transforms at the atomic level in response to heat. When heated to approximately 450ºC, ‘sticky’ void sites are created which ‘grab’ silicon and aluminum at the atomic level. The PFM polymer chains then self-assemble into threads that function as a kind of atomic highwayallowing lithium ions to bind electrons.

The current objective is to work hand in hand with companies interested in this technology to expand the production of HOS-PFM with a view to its subsequent mass production. At the moment, no dates have been given for its arrival on the market. The researchers, who have shared their progress in the prestigious journal Nature Energythey trust that their discoveries will allow the development of electric vehicles with more autonomy, more durable and more affordable.

Source | Berkeley Lab

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