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Novel porous graphite as cathodes for advanced aluminium-ion batteries

Project description

A novel graphite for better electric car batteries

By 2040, about 55 % of all new cars sold are expected to be electric vehicles (EVs). To make the lithium-ion batteries on which EVs run, 800 000 tonnes of lithium will be needed. At this level of demand, lithium supplies will run out within 17 years. A promising alternative are aluminium-based rechargeable batteries (AIBs), but they lack an efficient cathode material. A good solution is to use graphitic material for the cathodes, but current graphitic cathodes have design flaws. The EU-funded GAIBs project will develop a rapid synthesis protocol to create a novel graphite for more efficient current cathodes. This will open the way to more durable and sustainable batteries for EVs.

Objective

The demand for electric vehicles (EVs) is expected to rise significantly to ~55% of all new car sales by 2040. This would necessitate ~0.8 million metric tons of Li-metal for standard lithium ion battery (LIB) production. However, a market dominant EV-industry would only have sufficient Li-supply for at most 17 years due to inevitable shortfalls on sustainable-supply of lithium. Aluminium based rechargeable batteries (AlBs) offer tantalising prospect of high energy density batteries using components that can facilitate safe-by-design production of cheaper, durable and sustainable batteries. This battery technology, while having enormous potential as a replacement for LIBs, has not yet demonstrated viability due to critical limitations, primarily the lack of an efficient cathode material that can cycle Al3+ or Al-ion complexes for high energy density and stability. By far, the most plausible cathodes for AlBs are based on graphitic materials. However, present graphitic cathodes are inefficient due to serious design flaws. This project will develop a rapid synthesis protocol to fabricate a very unique graphitic material with unprecedented brain-like morphology and also develop mechanisms to control the intrinsic nanopore architecture. The project will conduct a detailed structural analysis and characterisation of the novel graphitic framework as a cathode for AlBs. This novel graphite holds the key to a significant breakthrough and will advance the development of AlBs by: 1) addressing the issue of poor electrolyte penetration and improve the sluggish reversible ion intercalation to boost rate performance and cycling, 2) improve the weak electronic/electrical conductivity properties of present cathodes, 3) overcome the problematic abrupt cathode disintegrating during cell operation, and 4) unveil the hidden cathode redox chemistry. The ER will emerge from this project with new/advanced skill-set and the capability to launch his own high-level scientific research.

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Coordinator

UNIVERSITY OF LIMERICK
Net EU contribution
€ 196 590,72
Address
National technological park, plassey
- Limerick
Ireland

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Region
Ireland Northern and Western Border
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Links
Other funding
€ 0,00