A research team at the Center for Energy Storage Research of the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) led by Dr. Hun-Gi Jung has developed a new battery made of silicon anode materials that offers a great improvement on traditional batteries. These materials can increase battery capacity four-fold in comparison to graphite anode materials and also improve power charging to more than 80% capacity achieved in only five minutes.
Doubling driving range
In the case of electric vehicles, the new batteries are expected to at least double their driving range. In order to achieve this breakthrough, Jung had to enhance the stability of silicon.
Silicon carries an energy storage capacity 10-times greater than graphite. However, when used in batteries, its volume expands rapidly, making its storage capacity decrease significantly during charge and discharge cycles. This has greatly limited its commercialization.
So far, several solutions have been suggested for enhancing the stability of silicon as an anode material. However, these methods have all been found to be too costly and complex.
Water oil and starch
That is why Jung and his team focused on water, oil, and starch. These are easily accessible and cheap materials that the team used to create carbon-silicon composites.
Then, using a simple thermal process for frying food, Jung and his team managed to firmly fix the carbon and silicon, stopping the silicon anode materials from expanding during charge and discharge cycles.
"We were able to develop carbon-silicon composite materials using common, everyday materials and simple mixing and thermal processes with no reactors," said in a statement Dr. Jung, the lead researcher of the KIST team. He continued, "The simple processes we adopted and the composites with excellent properties that we developed are highly likely to be commercialized and mass-produced. The composites could be applied to lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles and energy storage systems (ESSs)."