German materials engineering firm Heraeus has launched Porocarb, a family of conductive porous carbon powder to improve ionic conductivity in electrodes for lithium-ion batteries.
A team of developers from the new product group led by Christian Neumann spent more than three years developing these novel carbon particles with pore-size distribution ranging from 10 and 1,000 nanometers and internal pore volumes up to 2.5 cubic centimetres per gramme.
"The pore size gap between carbon felts in the low micrometer range and mesoporous carbons with pore sizes is lower than 50 nanometers, thus opening up new areas of application," said Neumann.
“Porocarb could be used as an additive to improve the performance of lithium-ion batteries as well as a catalyst support for fuel-cells. This new product makes it possible to increase the capacity of lithium-ion batteries in smart phones without increasing the size of the battery or to make the battery even smaller without affecting capacity."
When Porocarb powder is added to electrode slurries, high-porosity areas remain after the electrode compression. This leads to more effective ion kinetics while keeping the overall electrode density high, making it possible to double the thickness of the electrode layer without lowering performance, says Neumann.
Porocarb is based on Heraeus’ experience of manufacturing synthetic fused silica. Carbonaceous precursors are deposited on all porous inner surfaces of the silica template, which is separated chemically from the self-similar carbon framework that has developed.