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Nanoscale dendrite formation and mitigation in high-energy density metal anodes

Project description

Preventing the growth of tiny ‘trees’ could enable electric vehicles that go the distance

Enabling tomorrow’s electric vehicle applications will require batteries with much greater energy density. Conventional lithium-ion batteries have anodes made of lithium; other promising high energy density batteries based on metal anodes could use sodium or potassium. However, these batteries all face the problem of dendritic growth, the formation of tree-like crystalline microstructures on the anode during charging, which can cause significant chemical and physical damage. The mechanism of formation of these dendrites is poorly understood. With the support of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions programme, the NANODENDRITE project plans to shed light on metal dendrite formation via experimental and computational methods, leading to mitigation solutions.

Objective

High-energy density batteries based on metal anodes (Li, Na, K) are urgently required to meet the demands of modern electric vehicles. However, their commercial success has been impeded by the uncontrolled dendritic growth, which causes serious capacity losses and safety issues. Understanding the mechanisms of dendrite formation, which still remain unclear, would be a critical breakthrough to achieve high-performance metal anode batteries.

This proposal presents an innovative new approach to provide a holistic understanding of metal dendrite formation and mitigation beyond the state-of-the-art that will accelerate the rational design of ideal anode materials, through the implementation of quantitative electrochemical microscopy techniques, co-located structural microscopy and computational modelling. The scientific scope encompasses gaining definitive insights on dendrite formation and mitigation by: (i) revealing precise conditions and intricate nucleation and growth events governing dendrite formation during the electrodeposition of Li, Na, K and Mg at the nanoscale using a unique high-throughput electrochemistry platform; (ii) visualising nanoscale electrochemistry at nano-engineered electrode surfaces to unveil how nucleation sites work together to achieve dendrite mitigation; (iii) correlating nanoscale knowledge of dendrite formation and mitigation to the performance of a macroscale battery through the rational design of anode materials.

The project brings together the unique expertise of the Fellow, Dr. Daniel Martín-Yerga, in electrochemistry and nanoscience with that of the Host group, world-leading on correlative electrochemical microscopy and modelling, to create an approach that will greatly advance the battery field. The Fellow will acquire exceptional scientific and transferable skills, with world-class support from the Host group and its collaborators, providing him with an outstanding opportunity to develop personally and professionally.

Coordinator

THE UNIVERSITY OF WARWICK
Net EU contribution
€ 224 933,76
Address
Kirby Corner Road - University House
CV4 8UW Coventry
United Kingdom

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Region
West Midlands (England) West Midlands Coventry
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Links
Total cost
€ 224 933,76