New material improves lithium-ion batteries

A team of researchers led by Hansan Liu, Gilbert Brown, and Parans Paranthaman discovered that titanium dioxide creates a highly desirable material that increases surface area and features a fast charge-discharge capability for lithium-ion batteries.

They found out that there is huge difference in charging time and capacity compared to conventional batteries.

"We can charge our battery to 50 percent of full capacity in six minutes while the traditional graphite-based lithium-ion battery would be just 10 percent charged at the same current," Mr. Liu said.

The O.R.N.L. compound also has a higher capacity compared with commercial lithium titanate material- 256 milli-ampere hour per gram versus 165 milli-ampere hour per gram.

The core of the compound is composed of channels and pores that allow unhindered flow of ions and acts as capacitors. Moreover, the lithium battery with bronze-filled titanium dioxide charges and discharges quickly.

According to Mr. Paranthaman, the structure of the material allows for traditional electrode fabrication and creates compact electrode layers. However, the production mechanism of this material is complex and involves many steps.

Thus, further research is needed to determine whether the technology can be improved. The O.R.N.L.’s newly found compound is safe and long-lasting compared to the graphite used in commercial batteries. Thus, it is suited for hybrid vehicles and other high-powered applications.

According to Mr. Liu, the results can also bear significance to fixed energy storage systems for solar energy and wind power as well as for smart grids. Moreover, the compound with bronze polymorph has the potential to be inexpensive.

The research was supported by theDepartment of Energy’s Office of Science, O.R.N.L.’s Laboratory Directed Research and Development program, and O.R.N.L.’s SHaRE User Facility, which is sponsored by Basic Energy Sciences