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Development of nanomaterials for high power lithium batteries (NANOBATT)

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Promoting "greener" vehicles through advanced lithium batteries

In an effort to significantly increase power density without compromising rechargeability of lithium batteries, the NANOBATT project resulted in optimised material grades to be used as electrode materials.

Energy

Unlike gasoline-powered cars that normally produce harmful emissions, Electric Vehicles (EV) or Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEV) are less polluting. They run on an electric motor for short trips and/or on an gasoline engine for longer ones and when using higher speeds. Additionally, noise levels are kept to a minimum and the electric motor is powered by rechargeable batteries. The ever-increasing oil prices in combination with the need for environmentally-friendlier vehicle technologies is expected to lead to a more extensive use of these vehicles in the future. Yet, a key technical problem involving ways to increase the used battery's power density without compromising its rechargeability needs to be resolved first. Addressing this need the NANOBATT project focused on developing new materials and synthetic routes for new improved Li batteries for high-power applications. Compared to conventionally used lead acid or NiCd, lithium-ion battery technology does not comprise any toxic polluting metals. The key idea was to increase the surface area of the electrodes by exploiting the active mass comprised of nano-particles for obtaining high power density battery systems. Two optimised grades of LiFePO4 and Li4Ti5O12 have been developed to be used as electrode materials for high power lithium batteries. The LiFePO4 grade was found to generate a very high percentage of its capacity (80%) at continuous rate. Additionally, it was proven to display a high cycle life, high safety/stability in the charged state and a prolonged calendar life. Similarly, the Li4Ti5O12 material grade showed increased capabilities of delivering 80% of its capacity at continuous rate with a rather good tap density. Low cost is expected for both LiFePO4 and Li4Ti5O12 materials, which are perfect for high power applications including large systems (EV and HEV). In addition, they could also find useful applications in consumer products, such as power tools and electric bicycles.

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