Researchers at the University of California, Riverside (UCR) (U.S.) have gone to the recycling bin and come up with a formula for a rechargeable battery that they say can store 4x more energy than traditional ones.
The team’s low-cost recipe calls for silicone-based anodes made from recycled glass bottles ground into a fine white powder, which is mixed with magnesium, heated and coated with carbon. This makes the high purity silicon nanoparticles from the glass more stable and boosts their capacity to store energy.
Silicon anodes can store up to 10 times more energy than conventional graphite (carbon) counterparts, but expansion and shrinkage during charge and discharge processes can make them unstable.
But reducing the silicon particles to nanoscale size can lessen the problem. Combining an abundant and relatively pure form of silicon dioxide and an efficient chemical reaction, the researchers created lithium-ion half-cell batteries with almost four times more energy storage capacity than conventional graphite anodes.
'”We started with a waste product that was headed for the landfill and created batteries that stored more energy, charged faster, and were more stable than commercial coin cell batteries,” said Changling Li, a graduate student in materials science and engineering at UCR and lead author on the research. 'Hence, we have very promising candidates for next-generation lithium-ion batteries.”
Li sees the nanosilicon anodes applied in high-performance lithium-ion batteries that could extend the range of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and boost the power with fewer charges to personal electronics including cell phones and laptops. Mr. Li said that one glass bottle provides enough nanosilicon for hundreds of coin cell batteries, or three-five pouch cell batteries
An article describing the research, titled “Silicon Derived from Glass Bottles as Anode Materials for Lithium Ion Full Cell Batteries,” was published in the Nature journal Scientific Reports. This project is part of a series conducted by the researchers to create lithium-ion battery anodes from environmentally friendly materials (they’ve already constructed and tested anodes made from portabella mushrooms, sand and fossil-rich soil). The UCR Office of Technology Commercialization has filed a patent application for the new invention.
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