Friday, 2 November 2012

Stanford's battery-life research steps into economy class
25 Oct 2012

( for better battery designs and solutions is a priority pursuit for many scientists, and the Batteries for Advanced Transportation Technologies (BATT) Program is always on the lookout for worthy contributions. Supported by the US Department of Energy and managed by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, BATT is a leader in U.S, research in battery solutions for electric vehicles. They have not missed the fact that Prof. Yi Cui, Associate Professor, Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Stanford University, has been leading a team that is coming up with new answers for energy storage.

"Several fundamental studies still need to be conducted to develop viable Si electrodes for batteries", BATT has written in the past. "Yi Cui's group at Stanford University is working on understanding the properties of various Si nanostructures and is designing new ones based on particles and wires that target improving Si cyclability".

BATT has recognized an important issue addressed by Cui, the conductivity of Si electrodes. "The electrical conductivity of Si is a major factor in determining the power and energy capabilities of an electrode that does not contain inactive materials such as conductive additives and binder. Future work in the Cui group will focus on designing new Si structures and pre-lithiation methods that are amenable to scale up so that large quantities of this anode material can be made at a low cost. Fundamental questions such as the best morphology for electrode packing, the type of surface coating for improving cyclability, and the optimal state of charge for these electrodes still need to be answered".

This month, Prof. Yi Cui and his Stanford team offer more answers in a newly published paper appearing in the journal Nature Communications. To compensate for fluctuating renewables in wind and solar systems, new approaches to storage are needed and Cui's team present a battery technology that works when the sun or wind falls short, in the form of sharp drop-offs of wind and solar systems. The battery electrodes can run for a thousand charge cycles without degrading, an advancement when typically the electrodes degrade with time.

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