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New electrolyte developed at Stanford may boost lithium metal batteries

Tue, 06/23/2020 - 18:41 -- Paul Crompton

Scientists at Stanford University have revealed a novel electrolyte design they claim will boost the performance of lithium metal batteries.

The team from the US institution added fluorine atoms onto the electrolyte molecule to make the liquid more stable and create a new molecule that allows the lithium metal anode to function well in the electrolyte.

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Lithium-ion battery with automatic flame extinguishment

Thu, 01/26/2017 - 10:27 -- Paul Crompton
Lithium-ion battery with automatic flame extinguishment

Researchers at Stanford University have developed a lithium-ion battery that releases a flame retardant if the battery temperature hits 160°C, according to the academic journal Science Advances.

The technology would have implications throughout the lithium-ion battery industry, which has been hit in the last year by product fires and airline shipment bans.

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Have scientists solved exploding lithium battery problem?

Mon, 01/18/2016 - 11:58 -- Paul Crompton
Have scientists solved exploding lithium battery problem?

After months of bad press on everything from hoverboards to potential aeroplane disasters, scientists at Stanford University could have solved the problem of flammable lithium-ion batteries.

Researchers at the US university claim to have developed a lithium battery which automatically shuts down before it gets hot enough to catch fire— and conducts again when the temperature has cooled down.

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Not a game changing battery- but a very impressive cell!

Fri, 04/10/2015 - 15:21 -- gerry@bestmag.co.uk
Stanford University's aluminum-ion battery cell

When is a novel battery not a battery?  When its only an experimental cell and developed at a University. That’s the fact under the hype of last week’s news that researchers had developed an ultrafast charging battery that could replace conventional lithium cells used in today’s consumer electronics.

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Stanford team reveals carbon-coated lithium anode

Wed, 07/30/2014 - 10:37 -- Laura Varriale
carbon for a battery anode

Researchers at Stanford University have created a carbon-coated lithium anode, which has performed 150 charge/discharge cycles without forming dendritic spines at 99% Columbic efficiency.

The team placed layers of amorphous carbon to form a protective coat around the lithium anode, thus allowing it to expand and contract without causing dendritic growth at the electrolyte-electrode interface, claimed the Stanford team in a research paper published in Nature Nanotechnology.

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Where there’s muck there’s power - Stanford University make ‘microbial battery’ from sewage

Tue, 09/17/2013 - 12:46 -- Editor

Engineers at California’s Stanford University have devised a new way to generate electricity from sewage, using naturally occurring "wired microbes" as mini power plants, producing electricity as they digest plant and animal waste.

In a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, co-authors Yi Cui, a materials scientist, Craig Criddle, an environmental engineer, and Xing Xie, an interdisciplinary researcher, call their invention a microbial battery. The prototype is about the size of a D-cell battery and looks like a chemistry experiment, with two electrodes, one positive, the other negative, plunged into a bottle of wastewater.

Inside, attached to the negative electrode like barnacles to a ship's hull, an unusual type of bacteria feast on particles of organic waste and produce electricity that is captured by the battery's positive electrode. "We call it fishing for electrons," said Criddle, a professor in the department of civil and environmental engineering.

Scientists have long known of the existence of what they call exoelectrogenic microbes – organisms that evolved in airless environments and developed the ability to react with oxide minerals rather than breathe oxygen as we do, to convert organic nutrients into biological fuel. At the battery's negative electrode, colonies of wired microbes cling to carbon filaments that serve as efficient electrical conductors. Using a scanning electron microscope, the Stanford team captured images of these microbes attaching milky tendrils to the carbon filaments.

"You can see that the microbes make nanowires to dump off their excess electrons," Criddle said. To put the images into perspective, about 100 of these microbes could fit, side by side, in the width of a human hair.

As these microbes ingest organic matter and convert it into biological fuel, their excess electrons flow into the carbon filaments, and across to the positive electrode, which is made of silver oxide, a material that attracts electrons. The electrons flowing to the positive node gradually reduce the silver oxide to silver, storing the spare electrons in the process. According to Xie, after a day or so the positive electrode has absorbed a full load of electrons and has largely been converted into silver.

At that point it is removed from the battery and re-oxidized back to silver oxide, releasing the stored electrons. The inventors say the microbial battery is worth pursuing because it could offset some of the electricity now used to treat wastewater. The team estimates the technology can harvest about 30% of the potential energy locked in wastewater.

Looking ahead, the Stanford engineers say their biggest challenge will be finding a cheap but efficient material for the positive node. "We demonstrated the principle using silver oxide, but silver is too expensive for use at large scale," said Cui, an associate professor of materials science and engineering. "Though the search is underway for a more practical material, finding a substitute will take time."

 

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