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Home Technology An electrolyte has been created that can double the capacity of lithium...

An electrolyte has been created that can double the capacity of lithium batteries


Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed an electrolyte that promises to double the capacity of lithium batteries. The importance of such an invention can hardly be overestimated. For vehicles powered by electric traction, doubling the capacity of batteries without increasing the volume and weight of batteries would be a real revolution.

On the left is a lithium anode in cracks when working in a conventional electrolyte, on the right is a whole one – in a perspective one. Image source: MIT

Interestingly, the new electrolyte was originally developed for promising lithium-air batteries. But they will not appear soon, but the development has shown itself unusually well in the composition of lithium-metal batteries.

A known problem with lithium metal batteries is the destruction of the electrodes (anode and cathode). In particular, the metal lithium anode, which significantly increases the capacity and efficiency of lithium metal batteries, loses lithium during operation by irreversibly dissolving it in the electrolyte.

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Tests of a new electrolyte as part of a lithium-metal battery with a metal anode and a cathode of lithium, nickel, manganese and cobalt oxides showed that the electrode surfaces do not lose metals (do not crack) and self-clean during charge and discharge cycles.

“The electrolyte is chemically resistant to the oxidation of high-energy nickel-rich materials, preventing particle breakdown and stabilizing the positive electrode during the cycle, – said Yang Shao-Horn from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. – The electrolyte also provides stable and reversible cleaning and coating of lithium metal, an important step towards the development of rechargeable lithium metal batteries with twice the energy of modern lithium ion batteries.

In the future, with a new electrolyte, the capacity of lithium-metal batteries can reach 420 Wh / kg, while modern lithium-ion batteries show an average of 260 Wh / kg. Unfortunately, the modern industry does not produce the substance on which the promising electrolyte is based. Scientists promise to develop technical processes to fix this situation.

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