By using our defect-engineered graphene paper in the battery architecture, I think we can help overcome this limitation," said Koratkar, the John A. Clark and Edward T. Crossan Professor of Engineering at Rensselaer. "We believe this discovery is ripe for commercialisation, and can make a significant impact on the development of new batteries and electrical systems for electric automobiles and portable electronics applications."
As everyone and their dog knows, the current generation of electric vehicles (EVs) are going over with a sceptical public like the proverbial lead balloon. Apart from “range anxiety” due to present Li-ion battery limitations, high initial costs even with subsidies, and the occasional chance that the battery might catch fire in a crash, or when recharging, at least in America where both have been reported if not elsewhere, who wants to sit around in some iffy parking lot for 6 hours or so, while the EV charges up to get you another 50 miles of travel. To all but the most avid of early adopters, the present range of EV offerings leave a lot to be desired, to the point where you have to question why the auto manufacturers jumped the gun on commercialisation.
But latest research published by Rensslaer Polytechnic Institute, brings hope that the Li-ion battery limitations of EVs might be about to become a thing of the past for the next generation of EVs, and just possibly with retro-fitting today’s existing range of EV clunkers. I’m a big believer in the coming switchover to electric transportation, especially once graphene and carbon nano-technology, really start to come into their own. The next generation of EVs are likely to be both lighter, stronger, faster, more efficient, range anxiety free, and best of all, coming with quick refuelling.
Below, the graphene paper battery.
Batteries Made From World’s Thinnest Material Could Power Tomorrow’s Electric Cars
Engineering Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Use Intentionally Blemished Graphene Paper To Create Easy-To-Make, Quick-Charging Lithium-ion Battery With High Power Density
Engineering researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute made a sheet of paper from the world’s thinnest material, graphene, and then zapped the paper with a laser or camera flash to blemish it with countless cracks, pores, and other imperfections. The result is a graphene anode material that can be charged or discharged 10 times faster than conventional graphite anodes used in today’s lithium (Li)-ion batteries.
—-While Li-ion batteries have a high energy density and can store large amounts of energy, they suffer from a low power density and are unable to quickly accept or discharge energy. This low power density is why it takes about an hour to charge your mobile phone or laptop battery, and why electric automobile engines cannot rely on batteries alone and require a supercapacitor for high-power functions such as acceleration and braking.
The Rensselaer research team, led by nanomaterials expert Nikhil Koratkar, sought to solve this problem and create a new battery that could hold large amounts of energy but also quickly accept and release this energy. Such an innovation could alleviate the need for the complex pairing of Li-ion batteries and supercapacitors in electric cars, and lead to simpler, better-performing automotive engines based solely on high-energy, high-power Li-ion batteries. Koratkar and his team are confident their new battery, created by intentionally engineering defects in graphene, is a critical stepping stone on the path to realizing this grand goal. Such batteries could also significantly shorten the time it takes to charge portable electronic devices from phones and laptops to medical devices used by paramedics and first responders.
Photothermally Reduced Graphene as High-Power Anodes for Lithium-Ion Batteries.
Conventional graphitic anodes in lithium-ion batteries cannot provide high-power densities due to slow diffusivity of lithium ions in the bulk electrode material. Here we report photoflash and laser-reduced free-standing graphene paper as high-rate capable anodes for lithium-ion batteries. Photothermal reduction of graphene oxide yields an expanded structure with micrometer-scale pores, cracks, and intersheet voids. This open-pore structure enables access to the underlying sheets of graphene for lithium ions and facilitates efficient intercalation kinetics even at ultrafast charge/discharge rates of >100 C. Importantly, photothermally reduced graphene anodes are structurally robust and display outstanding stability and cycling ability. At charge/discharge rates of ?40 C, photoreduced graphene anodes delivered a steady capacity of ?156 mAh/g(anode) continuously over 1000 charge/discharge cycles, providing a stable power density of ?10 kW/kg(anode). Such electrodes are envisioned to be mass scalable with relatively simple and low-cost fabrication procedures, thereby providing a clear pathway toward commercialization.
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